This past Friday I planned a nice little playdate for our little Hipster at the Dallas Arboretum with his best buddy and one of his cousins. As we strolled through the lush gardens the boys played with sticks and ran carefree beside us. We studied koi ponds, streams and waterfalls, and smelled a multitude of flowers. After our 2 mile stroll toward the children’s garden we decided to eat lunch on the cafe patio and as usual the boys wolfed down their lunches and decided to romp around in the grass next to the patio. It had rained the 2 days before we came so we sat at the wooden tables on the patio instead of using our blankets for a picnic. Once we were all done eating we parted with Hipster’s best buddy and continued with his cousin to the Children’s Garden, specifically the preschool area. Hipster played right alongside the sand box shoveling and dumping buckets of sand and since it was a 90 degree day we quickly decided the boys needed time in the mini splash stream nearby.
The 2+ hours in the heat made me exhausted so I let little guy play a bit more and then told him it was time to go. I had reapplied sunscreen and bug spray to the both of us, grabbed some milk for little man and we were off get back home for nap time. Hipster fell asleep in the car as predicted and once we got home I transferred him to his bed for more napping while I showered off my stank. And the rest is history. Saturday morning came and when little guy was awake my husband and I noticed he had red bumps starting to appear on his stomach, waist band area, feet, legs, arms, and back. We both panicked and put little guy in the a colloidal oatmeal bath and called his pediatrician for a Saturday morning appointment. I had my suspicions and fears of the worst, chicken pox, but knew our guy had been vaccinated. Our next best guess was chiggers and we sure were right. The pediatrician confirmed he had chiggers and told us chewable benadryl tablets for nap and bed time as needed and over the counter creams + Chigarid. The next 48 hours were miserable! Hipster’s body only got worse toward Saturday afternoon, common for those exposed to Chiggers which are actually little red mites that are easily washed off in the shower with soap and warm water (which is why I think I was safe and never got them!) but if not washed off will bite and inject an enzyme into your skin that causes an extremely itchy bite until the skin can expel the fluid.
Our 3 year old has been defiant enough lately that forcing him to bathe in oatmeal and then coat him down in Chigarid (which by the way initially burns but I swear helped him heal quickly) and Hydrocortisone Cream or Gold Bond Cream (his favorite/preferred) was far from easy! The night time Benadryl sure helped him drift off to sleep but his bath time ritual before bed was full of kicking, screaming, and crying. We also pinned him down for a nail trimming per the doctor’s recommendation to help prevent infection and had him soak in epsom salts on the 3rd night which we should have done ASAP as that was also a very healing treatment for him.
If you or anyone you know has ever had Chigger bites you can understand it is the most severe itch you can ever imagine! So the Dallas Arborteum definitely got a call from me as I was still shocked he was exposed there but the weather and summer time conditions all make the most sense. His best buddy also had on pants and his cousin never stepped foot in the grass the entire time. Our Hipster had on a tank and pair of shorts (remember it was 90 degrees that day!!).
So next time you are out in any time of grassy area in a state known to have Chiggers be prepared! It’s not just fields in a run down area or somebody’s ranch, it can be anywhere and covering yourself in head to tow DEET bug spray can be effective along with showering after being in certain areas as described. I hope you can avoid those nasty little mites but if your little one ever has to endure it I hope I have helped with what we did to combat the itch!