Monday, July 14, 2014


Ok, say that three times--or even once. Trombiculidae are more commonly known as chiggers and they came to visit my unprotected flesh at a rather inopportune time. Come to think of it, I am not sure there is an opportune time for chiggers but there are more unfortunate times than others.

The larvae of this tiny creature pokes a hole in your skin and injects digestive enzymes into the hole to break down the cells. Then they snack away on the broken down skin cells. Contrary to popular belief, they do not burrow under your skin. It is the enzymes that causes the severe irritation and swelling.

This is one fiercely itchy trip and may not even show up till 24 hours after exposure. By then the creature is long gone.  Chigger murder is no longer an option once the itch has started.

This was my first episode since I lived in Florida where they are more prevalent though my worst episode happened in Georgia which I think is a chigger haven. I was beginning to think my area of Arkansas was free of the nasty buggers. Sigh.

Chiggers will crawl on your body till they hit a restriction, often your socks or panty line.  Then they go to town poking and slurping.  I was ever so grateful that I am not a thong type.

I was wearing loose  Bermuda shorts so once they finished feasting briefly on my ankles at my sock line, they then traveled fairly harmlessly up my bare legs till they reached the restriction of my panty leg. There they got really busy and I was left with a majority of the whelps on my legs where my hips meets my trunk. Scratching in polite society was out. That was miserable enough but I also had a doctors appointment--- thus the inopportune part of this tale.

It was time for my yearly bladder cancer screening which requires resting my feet in stirrups while a doctor uses a cystoscope to scan my bladder for any signs of new cancers.  Being female, I have long ago adjusted to that stirrup indignity. It is our cross to bear.  However this time as I saddled up I was well aware of the many incriminating sores near my nether region.

A few years ago I had failed to  shave my legs for this same exam. There is a difference however from just looking untidy to looking like an elderly hooker.  I was sorely tempted to say nothing and see what the doctor would say when he discovered my condition.  However, embarrassment made me start babbling excuses before he even took my hand to ask how I was doing.

I hoped I was convincing explaining I really didn't have an STD (a social disease) but was in fact a chigger victim. He examined me, chuckled quite a bit, believed me--I think-- and remarked that this exceptionally wet weather was bringing all sorts of biting creatures to abundance. I just hope if he blogs that he doesn't use real names.

After the doc quit smirking, I got a clean cancer check up and am good for another year. I have been dancing with this cancer since the year 2000 and it has come back eight times but so far now, I have been 5 years cancer free. Hallelujah!!

The fierce itching has finally stopped. As the saying goes, treat chiggers and they will go away in a week or so-- or do nothing and they will go away in a week or so.

You pretty much just have to ride them out and DON'T SCRATCH.  The only thing to help was Zyrtec. Keep that in mind if you ever fall victim to the nasty buggers. An antihistamine  really will give itch relief since this is after all, an allergic reaction to the enzymes.

Here's hoping that you never have this unpleasant experience. Stay out of the berry patches. I'm pretty sure that was my downfall.


  1. Yay for being cancer free!

    I don't know if this works for chiggers, but I use Porter's Liniment Salve for the itch/swelling of mosquito bites since I get quarter-sized welts from those. It smells nasty (like pine tar) but it relieves the itch and keeps the swelling down in one use. A Walgreen's pharmacist can special order it and have it in the next day and a can lasts forever.

  2. I'm glad the doctor put your mind at rest and the chiggers finally put your itching fingers to rest.

  3. I will take chiggers over ticks any day. Actually prefer neither.

    It is true that spraying with Avon's Skin So Soft before going outside keeps the bugs away.

    My doctor told me on my last visit that I needed a pedicure and did not even compliment my nicely shaved legs.

  4. Congrats on an A+ check-up. I did not not bitten in FL, but I did catch a major cold and have an ugly cold sore on my lip. fortunately, I have no dates or appointments in the near future so I can leave the bag off my head unless someone comes to the door.

  5. Oh gosh- those dreaded buggers. I always cover them with nail polish- which apparently isn't the answer if the chiggar is gone, but it works for me. That and bleach baths. Congratulations on a super cancer check up.

  6. Yep, my worst experience with the species was from a berry patch, too--huckleberries in a Mississippi pine forest near my family's home.

    My inopportune circumstance was a long-scheduled visit to the coast to meet my future hubby's family.

    Wish I had known about the antihistamine. The fiery itchy spots looked like red panties on me. I slathered on calamine lotion the whole weekend and wore shorts over my bathing suit.

    The stirrup indignity had to be worth getting that great report. This comes with prayer for continued good reports.

  7. I have to admit to laughing at your expense. Glad the episode is over and that the checkup went well. Have you ever tried StingEze? It works.

  8. congrats on the cancer free report. Whew! As a child I used to get chigger bites everytime we went to Tenn. And you are 1000 percent correct...ya just have to wait it out.

  9. Never met a Chigger, knock on wood. Met a bunch of ticks, uggh. Avon has a great heavy duty bug repellent that works.
    Congrats on the great check up. We want to keep you around for a good long time. hugs.

  10. You got me scratching now for nothing!

    Great news on the cancer free.

  11. I have had them onetime. They are hard to forget. Congrats on the checkup.

  12. I don't think we have chiggers in the Pacific Northwest. Lucky!

    Congrats on your good checkup!

  13. Congratulations on being five years cancer-free! That's one of those very grand milestones. Sorry to hear about the chiggers, though. Yikes. What a creepy critter to have to deal with. Glad it's over.

  14. Wonderful, wonderful news sweet Patti that you are still cancer free. I am so happy for you.

    But now those chiggers I do feel sorry for you in that area. I have had those little pests before and they are miserable. The hotter the weather the worse the itch too. I am glad those bites are getting better.

    Seems your doctor had no worries about your chigger bumps and itches.

    Hugs and nose kisses for you and yours from and mine!

  15. I am glad for your clean bill of health concerning cancer. But with that other 'c' word, I have finally itch-free from those awful chiggers! I was afraid it was something else. I slathered a generic hydrocortisone cream on mine. Which BTW had reached my groin area and the top of that private area. I was thankful that my every 4 month check-up was already past.

  16. I'm shivering as I read this. My body temperature is slightly higher than most people and bugs find me irresistible. I think I'll stay away from berry patches, and Florida, and Georgia!

  17. Congrats on your clean bill of health! Since I have had the dreaded BC, I know the feeling of "good to go for another year".

    But we too have chiggers here in Texas... and I hate them. Recently when visiting a friend out in the country, I told her that I didn't intend to get mosquito bites, chiggers, or poison ivy. Needless to say, we stayed *inside* a lot.

  18. Linda B,
    Thank you so much. I checked and I can get it on the Internet and reviews say it is good for chiggers.
    Will check it out.

    Marty Damon,
    Thanks, it was one great big Ahhh time when it was over.

    Grannie Annie,
    Well as nasty as chiggers are, they don't spread disease like ticks do. Think I would change doctors. He checked your toes??

    Thank you.
    So sorry for your uglies and sickies. Not having any where to be is a blessing. Just keep the bag handy:))

    Thank you.
    I used the nail polish when in Florida also. At least it made you feel like you were doing something about em.

    Thank you, I am getting more confident each trip.
    Mercy, what a bummer. At least I only had to shock a man I see once a year. You had to suffer through potential family.

    NC Mountainwoman,
    Thank you and I am glad you got a chuckle. Once we are past an unpleasant event, it usually does become funny or at least it does for me.

    Linda W.
    Thank you so much. Time is the only real healer with chiggers though Zyrtec makes it bearable.

    Aw thanks, me too. I'll check out that Avon product.

    I know what you mean. Mention itching and I will itch. Thanks, it was great news.

    Thank you and you are right. They are memorable.

    Linda M.
    Thank you and I hope PNW stays chigger free.

    Thanks, it is always a relief. They are the invisible scourge.

    Maggie M,
    Me too and the sores didn't really impress him much and he did get a laugh out of it.

    They seem to come out of nowhere as you never feel them when they are attacking. I can see how they would concern a person. Don't forget antihistamines. They really work. I use to be a 4 month'er. Hang in, those yearly visits aren't nearly as bad.

    Since you are obviously bug bait, yes you should stay away from berry patches. They love those places. Buy the pre-picked.

    Congrats to another BC survivor. It can be beaten, you just have to stay on top of it with regular checkups. So happy that you have made the year plateau also.
    Inside is the only guaranteed safe place from chiggers.

  19. Patti, I don't think we have those suckers here at altitude - thank goodness. I was trying (to no avail) not to laugh out loud at your dilemma in the stirrups. Sure glad you got a clean bill of health. I hope Chiggers don't like dogs and cats - were all three of you scratching?

  20. Congrats on reaching 5 years cancer free!

    I don't think we have chiggers here, just ticks and no-see-ums, both of which I hate with a passion.

  21. I'm so glad you got a good report on your bladder, and that your doctor apparently has a sense of humor. I've only heard of chiggers on arms, I think I'll stay in the house from now on.

  22. Whoohooo! Congratulations for being cancer free for 5 years, Patti! : D

  23. Yay!! for the good report! I haven't been bothered (knock on wood) with chiggers in a long while, but the darn flies are sure a bother this summer. They are biting my legs! The basil plants aren't doing their thing this year in keep them away.

  24. Hi Patti, Couldn't find your e-mail so but wanted to tell you I didn't see the child's face until you pointed it out. You're very observant! Perhaps it was the river nymph spending time with me?

  25. Oh My Gosh... What an experience... I'm sorry about the chiggers --but THRILLED that you got a good report from your doctor.

    George took a hike one year when I was out-of-town --and hiked through some high grass. The Chiggers ate him alive.. He struggled for weeks I think with the itching. Not sure what he used --but he always seems to have good luck with bites by using vinegar...

    Get well soon...

  26. I have been bombarded with ticks from the time I was young but have never once had a chigger find me to be appetizing. I guess I'm just lucky in that regard. Now if only the mosquitoes would find me equally as unappealing...

  27. Eileen,
    Thank you. I agree on the nastiness of ticks and no-see-ems. Hope you never meet a chigger.

    Thanks, it is always a relief. He is a card and enjoyed my dilemma.

    Thanks friend. You know it is always a sigh of relief moment.

    Didn't know basil was supposed to ward off flies. They must be livestock flies to feast on you. Luckily, I have none here.

    "river nymph", That is what I was trying to think of. It was rather weird looking.

    Oh mercy and you weren't there to make him feel better. That had to have been awful. Remember antihistamines if there is ever a next time.

    Yikes. At least chiggers don't spread disease like ticks. Guess I'll take the little guys.

  28. Praise God you are still getting good news about your Cancer. Nothing better than hearing the words cancer free. I am so happy to read this but my oh my chiggers are so bad.
    I am sorry I laughed reading this but you have such a hilarious way with words that I could not help myself.
    They are no fun and will tend to drive a person to the point of loosing it. I use some kind of chigger cream that works pretty good but hopefully I don't need it for a long time.
    I would tell you to stay out of the berry bushes but that would be wasting my time and yours. haha
    Love ya

  29. Good to read that your check up showed you were clear of cancer. I certainly hope that doctors don't blog.... there are probably images of me in some ghastly archive that medics giggle at for some sort of light relief! Biting, sucking, burrowing, and fracking with nasty chemicals that break down the cells, insects seem to have thought of it all! Hope you are itch free soon!

  30. Oh my. I had a horrible episode of this last year, I think. Actually one doctor said it was poison ivy, the next doctor said chiggers, and the third prescribed antibiotics. After a month of it that finally did the trick....

  31. Maggie,
    Thank you so much for your kudos for passing my test. Yep, it always feels great.
    Actually I may stay out of the berry bushes. I can deal with store bought berries better than I can those chiggers:))

    Oh that is the perfect description of what they do---"fracking". Wish I had thought of that. You always get to the heart of the story with the right words.

    Oh mercy. How awful to suffer them or what ever it was for a whole month. If it were poison ivy, the antihistamines wouldn't work. Hope you never get that again.

  32. I always hate these itching causing insects. This summer we have less mosquitoes than ever , due to the soft winter.
    I am glad to read that your cancer has not returned.
    Thanks for your visit and comment. The plane crash keeps the whole nation busy.

  33. Oh my gosh...I hate those things. I don't seem to remember so many flesh eating bugs when I was growing up but maybe I wasn't as sweet then ! Ha, Ha.
    So happy with your cancer results.

  34. First of all, I'm happy to hear the good report from your doctor. That truly is good news.

    As for chiggers, I've never met up with one, thank heavens! They don't seem to live in Colorado.

    You do make a story that causes one feel sympathy for you also cause one to chuckle. I think as long as you keep that sense of humor, you can deal with about anything. My question - ok, it is a naughty one - what if you just stopped wearing undies to the berry patch, would those chiggers leave you alone?

  35. What you describe about chiggers is very similar to the sand flies that bite in the Caribbean and baking soda also gives some itch relief. Baking soda seems to be helpful for many things.
    Happy that you remain cancer free ! Me too.

  36. I'm really delighted to hear you got the all clear from the doc about the cancer! Sorry your posts aren't showing up in my reader, it's so frustrating.

    I don't know if we get chiggers in the UK. Now I've written this I'll probably get bitten by dozens tonight.

  37. I'm so relieved and glad you're cancer free. How awful about the chiggers. I've heard of them, but never experienced them. You are such an amazing writer, Patti. No matter what you write, you make us want to read every word.