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Chigger Bites vs Flea Bites: Which One Is It?

If you feel irritation on your skin and can’t sleep peacefully, you probably have a rash problem. You might want to check the area of your skin that is causing this itch. Did you find any swelling or tiny red bumps on your skin?

The guilty party here could either be chiggers or fleas. Both fleas and chiggers are bloodthirsty parasites. And they can cause skin irritation that can last for days if not treated properly.

Flea and chigger bites are common. And despite their difference in living surroundings, the rashes look similar. You won’t be able to differentiate which one it is at first glance.

But after reading this article, you will. Flea and chigger bites look alike but occur in different areas. They also differ in severity, symptoms, etc.

Today we will compare Chigger bites vs. Flea bites and determine the difference. We will also provide you with tips on how to take care of them. Keep reading below.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between a Flea Bite and A Chigger Bite

Flea bites and Chigger bites look similar. Thus, you can mistake one for the other. But we can tell the difference by looking at the areas where the bites occur.

Firstly, Flea bites usually occur on the lower half of the body from the waist down. They can affect the areas like the waist, knees, calf, etc. You will notice little red bumps with mild swelling that causes severe itching.

However, if there is a flea infestation, flea bites can occur all over your body. It can also increase if you allow your pets to share the bed with you. Sweet as it may sound, there are harsh consequences to letting your cats and dogs into your bed.

On the other hand, Chigger bites usually occur in warm and wet areas of the body. They like to target the leg areas when taking a casual walk around grassy areas.

Flea bites occur in scattered areas, but Chigger bites appear in groups or clusters. They look like pimples or blisters on your skin. Chigger bites also appear more reddish than flea bites. 

Chigger bites are also challenging to avoid because you seldom notice them. Unlike fleas, they are so tiny you need a magnifying glass to spot them. The larvae live in large groups and stick to the skin together. 

This explains why the infection occurs in groups and is not dispersed. Moreover, they live outdoors in grassy and weedy areas where it is difficult to avoid or see them.

And if you have super sensitive skin, the severity of the bites can increase more. Whether flea or chigger bites, you will endure twice the skin inflammation and irritation.

Flea Bites vs Chigger Bites

Flea BitesChigger Bites
How They OccurThrough pets at home, cracks and crevices in your floor or furniture.Through exposure to grassy areas like fields, weeds, woods, etc.
Areas AffectedFeet, knees, armpits, lower leg areas, waist, elbows, etc.Warm skin folds, thin skin areas, feet, ankles, waist, crotch, etc.
Symptoms/appearanceReddish bumps, severe itching, may cause secondary infection from constant scratching.Clustered blister-like reddish bumps, itching, dermatitis, allergic reactions can occur in hypersensitive people.
Severity/duration of Infection4-5 days, 1 week1-2 weeks

chigger bites vs flea bites

What Are the Risk Factors for Chigger and Flea Bites?

Generally speaking, flea and chigger bites are not as severe as you think. You don’t need to be alarmed because you can treat them quickly. However, there are risk factors for both, and you can feel uneasy for days when you get bitten. 

You will get rashes in the bitten area when you get flea bites. It appears as a reddish dot at first and swells up later. The bites get worse if you scratch them constantly.

Moreover, if you have hypersensitive skin, the itch gets worse. You feel the urge to scratch and rub them even more, which leads to severe damage to the affected area. The repeated scratching severs the skin, and bacteria enter, which can cause secondary infections.

Chigger bites look harsher compared to flea bites. Chigger larvae tend to stay in groups hidden away in the wilderness. And when you take a walk or run around, they latch onto you without noticing.

Because they stay in clumps, the infection appears in the same manner. The mites grab and leave the skin later, leaving behind a field of reddish spots. These spots usually have a bright red point.

You don’t usually feel any sting when you get chigger bites. This is why you only notice it after the rashes occur. Chigger bites on intimate areas are painful and can cause severe irritation.

Chiggers can also grab onto your pets when they play outside. And when you bring them in, you’re indirectly letting the tiny critters inside. Consequently, you can get chigger bites that way.

What Can You Do to Prevent Them

The good news is that you can easily prevent or treat bites or infections. The easiest way to avoid further damage is to resist scratching the infected area. You can also treat them early to prevent the spread.

Let us look at how you can prevent and treat them both accordingly.

How to Prevent Chigger Bites

The easiest way to prevent chigger bites is to minimize your skin exposure outdoors. Here are a few preventive measures:

  • Tall grass and weeds are breeding grounds for chiggers. Thus, you should prevent your lawn from overgrowing.
  • Do not spend long durations sitting or lying in grassy areas.
  • Remember to cover your arms and legs while hiking or camping. Hiking trails and camping sites are notorious for having chiggers everywhere.
  • Wash your hands and feet after strolling outside. You can also sanitize your clothes, shoes, and accessories as an extra measure.

How to Prevent Flea Bites

Flea bites are less drastic than chigger bites. However, you have to take a step further to prevent them. Here are a few tips to avoid flea bites:

  • 90% of all flea bites occur through your pets. Thus, you should check your dogs and cats frequently for fleas. Moreover, fleas are easy to kill.
  • You can make your pets wear flea collars. Anti-flea spray or powder is another option. But keep in mind that some animals don’t take well to such medications.
  • Wash and clean your pets every once in a while. This will keep fleas at bay and also prevent infection and diseases. There are various anti-flea shampoos you can use for this purpose.
  • Keeping your furniture and floor areas clean is another effective way. Vacuum your home occasionally to prevent their spread.
  • In case of severe flea infestation, you can contact pest control services.

Treating Chigger and Flea Bites

Chigger and Flea bites are easily treatable. Here are a few tips.

  • Apply anti-itch creams to the affected area to reduce inflammation and itch. You can also use vinegar, rubbing alcohol, or aloe gel to relieve irritation.
  • Wash the affected areas with antiseptic solutions and lukewarm water. A hot shower is a no-go during such situations as it can increase the itching.
  • If you have any allergies, use an antihistamine to prevent severe allergic reactions.
  • Do not cover the infected area. Covering it up will only worsen it.
  • Consult a doctor if the infections get worst. They will prescribe proper medication.

Other Things You Should Know About Chigger and Flea Bites

What Does Chigger Bite Look Like?

Chigger bites occur mainly around your ankles and waist. They appear as swollen red bumps that look like pimples or blisters. Chigger bites will usually occur in groups or clusters.

What Does Flea Bite Look Like?

Flea bites appear as tiny reddish and swollen domes in your leg and waist areas. They are smaller than chiggers or mosquito bites. Unlike chigger bites, they appear in small groups of three or four.

Wrapping Up – Chigger Bites vs Flea Bites

Flea and chigger bites can make your perfect day uncomfortable. And most of the time, we cannot resist the urge to scratch. That is when most infections happen.

However, the good news is that they do not pose a severe risk to your health. Treat them during the early stages, and you’ll be fine. You can even use readily available home remedies to your advantage.

And now you know how to differentiate between the two bites. Next time you get bitten, remember to follow all the necessary steps in this article.