A Hot Shower
The best way to stop chiggers is to get rid of them before they attach and start spitting on the skin. This avoids the itching completely. I think this is also the reason that the baby and I were least affected by chiggers. It can take chiggers a few hours to find a place to latch on to skin and start drilling. If you can remove them during this window, you can often avoid the problem completely.
Our family was exposed to chiggers on a recent camping trip. We were camping close to town, so when our two youngest kids got grumpy, I brought them home, gave them a bath and we slept in our own beds. I also showered that night, and in the morning, all three of us all had only 1-2 bites each. The rest of the kids and my husband stayed overnight and had dozens of itchy bumps.
If you think you may have been exposed to chiggers, a hot shower within the first hour or so can help remove them from the skin. Obvious other steps like using soap and scrubbing the skin can help too.
Baking Soda Scrub
These work best shortly after exposure but can help even once the severe itching sets in. It is also super simple. Just make a paste of equal parts baking soda and water and rub on skin in the shower. Leave on for a few seconds before showering off.
Fair warning- this will sting like crazy, but it really helps stop the itch and beats staying up all night itching.
3. Rub Salt In the Wound
Just like the baking soda solution, this will sting, but it helps. The traditional advice is to mix some salt into some vapor-rub. I’d recommend using a natural or homemade vapo-rub salve instead (like this one) to avoid the petroleum byproducts though.
The theory is that the menthol in the vapo-rub helps calm the itching and the salt helps neutralize the spit causing the itch.
Whatever the science, this seemed to work the best. I mixed some Real Salt into my pre-made vapor rub and it offered some relief for the kids.
4. Or Spray It On
A salt water and herbal tea spray also seemed to help. I made a strong chamomile tea and added a few tablespoons of natural salt. I kept this in a glass spray bottle in the fridge and it offered some cooling and calming relief for itching.
5. Castor Oil
This is an old remedy that the entomologist suggested. It seemed to work, though it wasn’t the most effective remedy we tried. If you have castor oil around it could be worth a try though. We dabbed small amounts on the bumps and it did offer some itching relief.
6. Diatomaceous Earth
A remedy I tried before I realized that chigger bites are not actually a chigger larvae embedded under the skin as is often claimed. Still, this worked remarkably well. My theory is that it does kill any remaining chiggers and dries out the bumps to reduce the itching.
I’m also now using this as a preventative measure. Diatomaceous earth has many uses and can kill many small pests naturally. I’ll be sprinkling it in our socks and on our boots next time we camp!
7. Natural Itch Cream
Many sources also recommend using Calamine lotion to calm the itch. I didn’t have this on hand but did have my homemade natural itch cream, which worked like a charm. Either of those should help calm the itch.
8. Cooling Aloe Vera
Mix 1/4 cup aloe vera (fresh or gel) and a drop of peppermint essential oil. Rub over skin to soothe the itching.
9. Magnesium Baths
We found that all of my detox baths seemed to calm the itching, but a plain magnesium or epsom salt bath worked best. Add 1 cup of epsom salt or magnesium flakes to a warm bath. Don’t have those? Try just adding some baking soda instead of making the paste above.