I've been treated and told no bugs. Should I hire a dog?(4 posts)
So about two and a half years ago I began noticing itchy bites up and down my legs (always ONLY lower legs, where I shave), a few new ones different times each week. I had two companies come inspect my apartment and ended up hiring one that had far more experiance dealing with bedbugs. I should note that both companies really found no signs of bugs and the only physical evidence I've ever dealt with on my bedding is unexplainable bloodstains/smears. In the very beginning I did notice a weird reddish brown blotch on the side of my box spring that I surmised was a smooshed bug.
The company I hired brought me encasements, I did the whole dry and bag thing, and they began treating with chemicals. They had a guaruntee which basically stated that if I was still getting bites BETWEEN treatments they'd retreat for free. I should note they were a little wary of charging me so much money when they were unsure if I even had bedbugs. I should also note this company did seem to know what they were doing and did have extensive bedbug experience. I ended up getting twice as many treatments as they normally do for the same cost they charge anyone else. I never, ever stopped having symptoms. Eventually they told me I did not have bedbugs because A) They had never had an experiance where they treated with so much chemical and didnt ever find any evidence of bugs (ie dead bugs or their casings) because obviously the bugs come out to feed on me and then die when they come in contact with the spray and B) They have never had an unsuccesful round of treatment before. So the PCO surmised something else was going on, told me they were done treating, and send me to a derm. I talked to two other companies over the phone and after hearing my history they told me the exact same thing. I was given antibiotics and three different skin creams. Everything went away...until now.
I had been symptom free for about a year. In that time I had stored my entire bed (mattress boxspring and frame) in my dads garage for about 2 months, moved into a brand new home where my boyfriend and I slept on my box spring and frame but stored the mattress in the guest room about a room and a half away (no shared walls but still very close). I slept in the guest room a handful of times but never had the same symptoms until about a month ago when I woke up with two itchy bites on my legs. About a week ago I noticed a cluster of itchy red spots on my foot. I had since moved AGAIN to a new apartment and had been sleeping on my original bed frame, box spring, and mattress. Again, blood smears and stains on my bed I can't explain (like one INSIDE my pillowcase?) but no fecal smearing (always blood, no black spots). The blood is never bright red by the time I notice it. It just looks like old dried blood. Usually a smear, the smallest is sometimes a drop or two about half the size of a pencil eraser. I do now (didnt before) have a dog that is constantly scratching and gnawing himself but I find blood in places I really wouldnt think he'd be on, again...the inside of my pillowcase. The movers who moved my furniture into the new home basically destroyed my encasements so theroretically if there were still bedbugs in there alive (I highly doubt it...the encasements had been on for over a year and a half) they could be coming out now to bite me again.
One final thing, I am seriously crazily worried and obsessed with this issue. This is not the first thing I have worried about something basically to the point of obsession and not believing professionals (like doctors) who tell me I don't have what I think I have. Also this issue has arose only in times of serious stress (each time after a really bad breakup)...however, I am fairly certain that hives dont simply appear on only one portion of your body nor do the have a 'healing process'...they just disapear, right? What I have itch like crazy for days and then slowly heal, usually leaving a scar behind. They also happen on my legs or tops of my feet, and never have I had just one single one. Now that my newest batch has healed I can also see that they had a pinprick in the center of where the irritated welty swelling was. The first two new bites I had a few weeks ago where when it was still pretty cold. I kind of doubt they were mosquitos. This newest batch though was around the time I found two mosquitos in my apartment and did have one bugging me outside and repeatedly landing on my foot. But I have never experienced such itchyness with mosquitos before
I don't know what else to do...I am considering paying a handler $100 to check my apartment with a dog, although in all honesty I really can't afford to treat everything again, it cost upwards of $700 last time. Does anyone think this sounds like a case of bedbugs?
Can you rule out fleas, which symptoms on your legs might suggest.
In dealing with a possible bed bug infestation the critical first step is *make sure it's really bed bugs* not mosquitoes, fleas, mites, scabies, lice, prickly hairs on carpet beetle larvae, poison ivy, folliculitis, allergies, psychosomatic, or etc..
It's especially helpful if you can find actual bed bug samples such as at least cast skins, or live bugs themselves. Preserve the samples so someone can confirm the ID for you such as via photos you take and post online.
I know it isn't fleas because they can't survive in our climate. They simply aren't a problem here. I have had two doctors tell me its folliculits and it usually goes away with treatment but then resurfaces.
I feel like the only way I am going to know for sure is by hiring a company to come inspect with a dog. I have never found anything other than fairly unexplainable blood smears and stains. No real fecal matter...just general debris in my bed that both my dog and I track into it from living with bare floors. (for instance, I never had dirt or dust in my bed when I lived in the new home with carpeting). I have never seen anything resembling pen leakage. No PCOs have ever found bug evidence, neither have I. Just the bites/rashyness and blood on the sheets. Mind you, we've looked. And looked. For months. I also don't understand how the problem could completely vanish for close to two years and then resurface again. Unless I DID have bedbugs, my treatments were succesful and now I somehow have a new and different infestation of them.
At the same time, I rent...so what is the realistic chance of clearing this up if it is indeed what I have? I dont exactly have a friendly landlord. I doubt he is going to be willing to help and in fact if anything will most likely want me out if he finds out there is a problem.
Basically...I am at a loss on what to do.
If you had the folliculitis in the past and the creams and medication solved the problem, why not try the creams and medicine again to see what happens? If you are really stressed and the only way you will feel better is by having a dog clear you, go ahead and have the dog come out for peace of mind. I think most people would suggest getting passive monitors and seeing what they show, but if you are really obsessing about it and you feel the dog is the only thing that will set your mind at ease, go ahead and do it.
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