Chigger bites are typically harmless, but home treatment methods, such as calamine lotion, anti-itch ointments or cold compresses, are effective at relieving uncomfortable itching, KidsHealth states. Washing the area with soap and water also reduces the risk of infection.
In their larval stage, chiggers release saliva containing digestive fluids that break down skin cells, allowing the mites to feed, according to KidsHealth. Chigger bites cause tiny red bumps that trigger intense itching, and scratching makes the skin vulnerable to infection. Doctors prescribe medicine to control the infection, and bites may take several days to weeks to completely heal. People who frequently perform outdoor activities in wooded areas should apply insect repellent and wear long sleeves whenever possible to avoid chigger bites.