The ‘Other’ Flesh-Eating Zombies

If your bug-out plans include stealthing through the back woods of some shaded forest, trampling undetected through a large grassy field, or even walking the weedy banks of a river or lake to get to your bug-out location (or safe retreat) you may want to be aware of yet another danger. woods

As if we won’t have to be focused on staying clear of the golden horde, looters and the self-serving individuals, we now have another concern. (sigh)

streamI'm referring to the flesh eating grass zombies called chiggers waiting to attack.  They are so tiny they are barely visible with the naked eye (or dressed eye for that matter.)  But anyone who has experienced their wrath can attest; the misery they bestow is beyond description.

Chiggers will unsuspectingly attach themselves to your clothing; then like someone wandering the food court at the Mall, will begin their selection of the most delicate (and I'm not using this word lightly) and thin skin they can find on your body - like the crotch and groin areas (that's where the delicate word come in), behind the knees, and in the armpits.  

'It can't be any worse than a mosquito bite,' you say.

Au contraire!

Chiggers don't just bite and leave, like their cousins the mosquitoes (not really cousins - just sayin'), they inject a substance into your body (thus their need for delicate, thin skin) which destroys the tissue. The skin around the injection area hardens and creates a straw - turning your body into a human sippy-cup so the zombie can slurp up the damaged tissue (your body).

Ewwwwwww! I know! Right? chigger

And the worst part?

Well one of the worst parts?  If somehow they go undetected, they can feed on you for several days! 

The good news (with the 'other worst part') is chiggers are usually detected, and once they've finished their meal they drop off.  But, the other worst part? You are left with unbearable itching caused by the sippy-cup straw left behind. Let me stress … u-n-b-e-a-r-a-b-l-e.

One bite isn’t so bad - but a colony of chiggers that have set-up camp around your 'privates' ... words can't describe it.  And worst yet - the itching can last up to 2 weeks!  (And, no there is no lady-like or gentlemen way to 'scratch' in those areas for relief)

I say all this, to forewarn you, so you can start thinking of some sort of measures to 'help' with the relief of an attack i.e., the intense itching.

itchingThis is where it gets tricky. Some have the notion the chigger burrows itself under your skin and if you smoother it with some topical the itching will stop; like say for instance clear nail polish.

In all actuality what happens, by coving the bite the air can't get to it and the itching stops ...for a while.  (For me, I don't foresee me stopping to touch-up my nails when bugging-out so it is highly unlikely that I will be stopping to polish my private parts either. Just sayin')

Some remedies that people have tried; with and without success are: calamine lotion, corticosteroid creams, oral Benadryl, diaper rash ointment, chiggerex, mouthwash, toothpaste, rubbing alcohol, peroxide, oil, gasoline, bleach, and, baking soda.  All the way to someone taking a lighter and burning the bite - which to me is like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer because you have a headache! So I’d advise against it that one) 

Me?

I've had good success personally with good ol' alcohol. (No not the drinking kind, although I'm sure the itching could drive some to it – the rubbing on the skin kind)

Again, most of these remedies relieve the itch.  But everything seems to necessitate reapplication periodically.

And speaking of itching, the only real harm that comes from these little flesh eating zombies is itching. But due to the increased scratching to relieve the itching the bite can become infected - so try to avoid doing so at all costs (I know, yeah right).

So now that we know chiggers will suck your will to live, how to avoid them in the first place?

The truth of the matter is - you can't.

I actually put my pant legs into my boots and then stuffed drier sheets into the tops of my boots when going out in the garden - for some reason it works? hiker

If on the move, wearing long pants and a long-sleeved shirt with thick socks and high shoes or boots and spraying yourself with a repellent (such as DEET) may help.  Also consider having those 'wipie sheets' (like baby-wipes) and wiping your body down to help knock any latchers off and avoid being a human buffet.

Oh and scientifically, chiggers are the larval form of a common mite. Thought you ’might’ wanna know that.

Just sayin’

- Survivor Jane
 

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