Dealing with mosquitoes all summer is terrible. There are few things worse than going inside after a nice cookout and realizing that you’re covered in bug bites. But even though mosquitoes are irritating, the itchiness associated with their bites is nothing compared to the havoc wreaked by the jigger, which is a flea-like insect that has a seriously nasty habit.
When they come in contact with humans, female jiggers latch on, burrow inside of their hosts, and lay their eggs. Once those eggs hatch, they burrow in alongside mom, which can lead to a slew of horrible side effects — including death.
The jigger is the world’s smallest flea.
Before attaching to their hosts, these bugs live in sand and soil, waiting for something to step on them so that they can make their move.
That’s when jiggers attach themselves to human feet.
They bury their heads into the flesh and leave their abdomens exposed, almost like a tick. After about two weeks, the abdomen becomes engorged with eggs.
The eggs multiply, destroying soft tissue, nerves, and blood vessels.
The result is quite painful if left untreated. Once the eggs hatch, the mother dies, which often leads to infection.
Although the parasite can be removed by doctors, there is a certain social stigma associated with the infection that keeps people from reporting infestations.
Because of this, subsequent infections can lead to the amputation of limbs, and in the worst cases, even death.
I wear shoes pretty much all the time, but after seeing this, I might just start wearing them to bed. It’s not worth the risk, so I’ll just go ahead and leave my shoes on forever.