May 16, 2011
Every week we keep an eye on illnesses and medical trends passing through the community. In this week's What's Going Around we're checking in with Dr. Stephen Schmitz, of Afton Family Medicine.
Dr. Schmitz says chigger bites are going around this week.
Symptoms include itchy red bumps (often clustered at the ankles and waist). Itching typically lasts about three days and bumps can stick around up to two weeks.
When it comes to treatment, Schmitz suggests washing vigorously to remove the chigger. To get rid of the itching he recommends trying an over the counter steroid cream or calamine lotion.
Preventing chigger bites is fairly easy. Just avoid tall grass in the summer, tuck your pants into your socks and wear bug spray.
It's also important to point out that chiggers don't burrow into the skin, they stay on the surface. Usually one scratch or washing removes the bug.
We have a quick health reminder to pass along. Dr. Schmitz says being overweight puts you at risk for many diseases. He says cutting 500 calories from your diet can help you lose one pound per week.