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Baking Soda Vanquishes Itchy Chigger Bites

Baking Soda Vanquishes Itchy Chigger Bites

Q. Years ago, after a day in a south Texas forest, I found I was covered in chigger bites from the waist down. I declined a doctor’s urging to be hospitalized but filled the prescriptions he gave me. They had no effect, and I was miserable.

Fortunately, a neighbor told my wife that where she came from, the best remedy for the bites of what they called “grass tigers” was to sit in a tub in which lukewarm water covered the affected areas and then pour baking soda over all the bites. It sounded silly, but I was absolutely desperate for relief.

The baking soda produced an immediate sensation of coolness on the affected areas, and the itching began to diminish. Within a day, the itching (and swelling around each of the hundreds of bites) was gone. Plain ol’ baking soda: another wonderful folk remedy.

A. Chigger bites can be incredibly itchy. Dermatologists frequently prescribe potent steroid creams to diminish the allergic reaction.

Not everyone may benefit from your baking soda remedy, but it is certainly worth a try.

Preventing chigger bites makes even more sense. Sulfur powder (flowers of sulfur) sprinkled on socks, shoes and pant legs is an old-fashioned approach. If you can’t find the powder, consider a liquid sulfur solution such as that found in Chigg-Away.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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