In the jungle, some of the biggest problems come from the smallest of creatures.
Tiny maneaters can strike without ever being noticed, until they’ve had their fill.
This researcher has been infected with a chigoe flea, a parasite more commonly known as a sand flea or a chigger.
The flea latches on to an unprotected foot, digs in and feeds. It may sound unpleasant, but the damage is minimal. Unless it’s a female ready to reproduce.
A pregnant chigger burrows in under the skin. Within a couple of weeks, her one-millimeter frame balloons into a pea-sized ball of pain. A swollen lesion develops that makes movement difficult – not a good thing in the middle of a jungle trek.
But if the lesion gets infected, then a painful nuisance becomes a serious medical problem. Severe cases can lead to tetanus, gangrene, and auto-amputation.
So if underneath your skin is a chigger that’s expecting, what should you do?
burn it ?
cut it out?
or… pull it out?
The correct answer is B – cut it out.
Burning causes as much damage to you as to the chigger. Pulling it out can rupture the egg sac and increase the chances of infection.
Cutting out the entire lesion removes every part of the flea. But don’t stop there. Clean the wound thoroughly and apply antibiotics.