It's that time of year. Finally the tourists are gone, the weather is perfect and the traffic is manageable, but we are not in the clear. We have another crop of visitors who may even more irritating than the group house next door. Relatively recent immigrants to the area, they have been showing up more and more frequently on resident ankles and feet. Those with history in the South call them chiggers, as the multitude of incredibly itchy bites strongly resembles an exposure to chiggers. The folks at Cornell University Extension have done research, however, that shows these unwelcome visitors to be Lone Star Tick larvae.
One last piece of bad news - these larva can be enough to produce the Alpha-Gal allergy, the one that makes people into instant, unwilling vegetarians. ( A quick visit to the ER for anaphylaxis after eating meat will convince anyone to give it up.) Again, we find that the Hamptons are a special place - one of only two areas in the country with a large number of residents with Alpha-Gal allergy (more on this in a future post).
Now for the good news. You CAN stop the itch.
How to Stop the Itch
Apply a thin layer of oil (any kind, although I prefer castor oil because it contains its own healing properties) followed by a sprinkle of CAYENNE PEPPER. Yes, cayenne. No, it doesn't burn. What it does is deplete Substance P, a molecule that carries pain signals to the brain. And makes you STOP ITCHING. Almost instantly. Covering the area with an old sock will keep the cayenne from brushing off on your clothing or furniture. Reapply as necessary.