Want to know how I know about them now? Well, Lucy was attacked by them!
On Thursday, I spent all day outside with the kids. We even went back outside to play more after dinner because it was so gorgeous. We stayed out well past dusk, and when we finally came in, everyone was so exhausted that I just sent them to bed. I skipped the nightly bath routine, (bad Mommy!), and decided I’d just do baths the next morning, since I needed to wash the sheets on Friday anyway.
As Friday went on, I noticed lots of little red dots all over Lucy’s ankles. I thought they were just mosquito bites. She also had the same red bumps in her diaper area, and I thought those were just a nasty diaper rash starting because they were so concentrated in one area. But, by Friday afternoon, her little ankles were just as swollen as could be, and diaper rash cream wasn’t helping her at all.
I called the doctor’s office, but wouldn’t you know it? It was Friday and her doctor doesn’t work Fridays. And no other doctor or nurse was available to take my call. Ridiculous.
So, I got online to see what I could find. I couldn’t figure out why the mosquito bites were focused in one area, and how on earth they got into her diaper area.
It turns out, they aren’t mosquito bites. They are chigger bites. At least that’s what I get from this article:
Chiggers, which are also called harvest mites or red bugs, are very small and can not usually be seen without a magnifying glass or microscope. Their ‘bite’ also isn’t usually noticeable, which is why you usually don’t even know you were around chiggers until you start itching and notice the rash about 12 or 24 hours later.
Once on your body, they typically move around looking for a good place to feed, which is usually a thin layer of skin. They will also begin to feed if they reach a barrier, such as the waistband of your clothes or your armpit.
The article went on to describe exactly the problem I was having with Lucy – and the reason:
Although chiggers can stay attached to your skin for several days and continue eating, they are very easily brushed off and are usually knocked off once you begin to scratch the rash or take a shower or bath. That is why it can be a good idea to have your kids take a quick shower or bath after they have been playing outside in any type of ‘wild’ areas of your neighborhood.
Note to self: Never, ever skip the nightly bath again. And Lucy will definitely wear socks every time she goes outside from now on. No questions asked.
Lucy has really had a hard time with the itching and the swelling. Benadryl helps, but I don’t want to give that to her all the time. I plan to call the doctor today to find out if there’s anything else I can do.
So, this city girl turned countrified just learned something new. All those years of playing outside, climbing trees, playing in dirt, and I never knew what a chigger was. Now I know, and now I’m totally grossed out.
Have you all heard of chiggers? Have you had an experience like this? Got any tips to keep my 2 year old from scratching her legs to the bone? I’d love to hear!