Fleas, Mites, and Chiggers

Fleas, mites, and chiggers often bite humans, but are not poisonous. It is sometimes difficult to assess which type of insect caused the bite, or if the rash is caused by poison ivy or other skin conditions.

What are the symptoms of a flea, mite, or chigger bite?

The following are the most common symptoms of a flea, mite, or chigger bite. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Small, raised skin lesions
  • Pain or itching
  • Dermatitis (inflammation of the skin)
  • Allergic-type reactions in hypersensitive children
  • Swelling or blistering

The symptoms of a flea, mite, or chigger bite may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult a physician for the correct diagnosis.

What is the treatment for such bites?

The specific treatment for these insect bites will be determined by a physician. Some general guidelines for treatment may include the following:

  • Clean the area well with soap and water
  • Use an antihistamine, if needed, for itching
  • Give the child acetaminophen, if needed, for discomfort

Consult a physician or medical expert if the child experiences any of the following:

  • Persistent pain or itching
  • Signs of infection at the site such as increased redness, warmth, swelling, or drainage
  • Fever

Call 911 or the local emergency medical service (EMS) if the child has signs of a severe allergic reaction, such as:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Tightness in the throat or chest
  • Feeling faint
  • Dizziness
  • Hives
  • Nausea and vomiting
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Dermatology

The Division of Dermatology at Children's National Health System continues to expand services as more families seek our expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the skin, hair, and nails.

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