Many myths about chiggers exist. Chiggers don't drink blood, for instance, or burrow under the skin. Rather, they bite while sitting on top of the skin; their saliva dissolves skin cells and they feed on that. I think most of us would agree that we don't care, as long as they stop biting us. However, the misconceptions about these tiny creatures have led some people to try home remedies such as turpentine, ammonia, gasoline or even dry cleaning fluid---all dangerous to humans and should never be applied to the skin, especially itching skin. Scratching breaks the barrier of the skin and then toxins can leach inside. A better way is to use sulphur; chiggers hate and avoid sulphur.
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Things you need
- Sulphur (powdered or flowers)
- Pestle and mortar or coffee been grinder
- Talcum powder
- Jar or plastic container
- Dried lavender
Buy sulphur powder, sometimes called "sublimed sulfur." You can find it at most pharmacies, but if your pharmacy only carries flowers of sulphur, buy that and then powder it yourself, either in a pestle and mortar or a small coffee bean grinder.
Buy talcum powder and fill a jar or plastic container with a cup of talcum powder, and then a cup of the sulphur powder.
Add two or three tbsp of dried lavender, or an aromatic dried herb of your choosing. It won't get rid of the sulphur smell entirely, but it will help to dull it.
Before you head into an area that may have chiggers, rub the mixture over the skin on your legs, arms and waist, especially around the ankles, wrists and waistband, as these are common sites for chiggers to bite.
Bathe as soon as you get home, not only to remove the smelly sulphur mixture, but to remove any chiggers that bit in spite of the sulphur. Use a gentle, moisturising soap to prevent irritation. Wash your clothes immediately as well, since chiggers may have attached themselves to them.
Tips and warnings
- Keeping a well-groomed lawn will reduce its attractiveness to chiggers.
- American chiggers do not carry any diseases, but scratching the bites can cause secondary infections. Use an antiseptic on bites you've scratched.
- Some people are sensitive to sulphur, so apply it to a small area of skin as a test before using this repellent. If irritation occurs, do not use sulphur powder.
- Keep sulphur products away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Do not use topical preparations that include alcohol, mercury, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, tetinoin, or cosmetics and soaps that dry the skin until after you have washed off the sulphur powder.
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