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question about bite reactions

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  1. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Nov 15 2007 12:56:36
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    Sorry to post what seems like an entry-level and oft-repeated question. But I have read all the FAQs and a lot of threads and I have not seen this specific point addressed.

    I know that bite reaction vary. Some people react severely, some don't react at all. And some people, lilke lieutenantdan, son't react for several months until it builds up and they finall develop a recation.

    However, has anyone reported reacting at first and then developing immunity and no longer reacting?

    I know I was bitten twice and reacted, not as bad as some people but I was extremely itchy for a day or two. And two weeks later I still have a mark and dry skin. Now it appears that I have not been bitten in twelve days. It seems odd that I would have bedbugs in the house and they would not feed for nearly two weeks. Is it possible they are biting me but I no longer react? That after just two bites I am suddently immune?

    FYI I do react to other kind of bug bites too, sometimes severely.

  2. currentinsomniac

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Nov 15 2007 13:06:28
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    I have read that yes, sometimes people become "immune" to the bites and the reactions of a bite lessen or don't show up. Apparently that makes it difficult to gauge treatment and sometimes people who have no reaction don't even know they have those little suckers. Usually though you have to have gotten many bites for this to happen.

  3. (deleted)

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Nov 15 2007 13:38:50
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    One of the most helpful articles about bites that I've come across is this one in Pediatrics. It's well worth reading and be sure to click on the Mellanby stages table. (The link to the table is here but you have to read it in context or you'll freak out.)

    In addition, this is how Harlan summarized it in his technical guide:

    Bed bug bites are usually almost undetectable, but their saliva contains biologically and enzymatically active proteins that may cause a progressive, visibly detectable allergenic skin reaction to repeated bites. Depending on bite intensity and frequency, there are typically five post-bite effect stages: no reaction (no or too few antibodies developed), delayed reaction, delayed plus immediate reaction, immediate reaction only, and no visible reaction (due to excess circulating IgG antibodies). [...] “Immediate” immune reactions may appear from one to 24 hours after a given bite and may last 1-2 days (Fig. 4) (Feingold et al. 1968). [...] "Delayed” immune reactions usually first appear one to three (up to 14) days after a bite and may last 2-5 days (Feingold et al. 1968).

    I don't want to speculate about your (lack of) reactions; do you have a confirmed infestation?

  4. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Nov 15 2007 13:52:51
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    No, the PCO inspection is not until tomorrow. I am basing my freakout entirely on the two bite incidents, as I have no live or dead adult bugs, skins, fecal matter or blood. I did find some tiny spider-ish bugs on the walls, which I guess could be nymphs. I posted about them elsewhere.

    My reaction lasted 1-2 days, sound like the "immediate" category. I will definitely read that entire article. Thank you, oh wise one.

    I was in China in August (gulp!) and traveled domestically in September. I stayed in very high-end properties but we know that means nothing. That schedule leaves enough time for the delayed reaction, I guess. But I would hope to have some more evidence than 2 bites in that amount of time.

  5. poorBugger

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Nov 15 2007 14:28:00
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    have been speculating on my own reaction lately as well...back in august i was being eaten alive...numerous welts up and down both legs that were extremely itchy...i thought it was just the mosquitos...but at the end of september i found live bugs crawling on my leg...i suspect the wooden stool i used was a harborage and my recycling box definitely was...these i bagged and disposed of, along with tons of clutter...i've greatly depleted my bedbug numbers, but i know not all, because my last 'breakfast & lunch' bites were two days ago...but they don't itch, even when if i scratch it on purpose just to see...so i'm wondering if you get desensitized to their saliva over time...or, if you get a lesser amount injected than before, your body can 'take it' better and react less...not sure, just my observations...

  6. kraystone

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Nov 15 2007 15:36:42
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    itchyincharmcity: The nymphs I caught on my white carpet tape looked like spiders! Because their legs are all stuck and spread out on the surface. The nymphs I caught while feeding me/after feeding me look less like spiders but nevertheless, rather similar.

    I react immediately to bites (within 1 hour, unless I was sleeping) so I'll know if our treatments had worked. I have a really sensitive skin or should I say serious allergic reaction to their saliva. That was how I caught one feeding on me and the other bloated bb on the bed when I woke up with that strange sensation from my finger.

    My first sign is a strange sensation, a red bump about 1/2", a bit itchy, but painful because it is still swelling. Then continues to swell over 2 days then really itchy and constant swelling pain(not a lot, but still inconvenient because they always bite my hands or feet). My most serious reaction caused my index finger to swell 20% bigger and couldn't bend nor click the mouse.

  7. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Nov 15 2007 15:45:01
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    Yes, mine look like that too, all the legs sticking straight out from the squashing. Can't tell if they have 6 or 8 legs but it definitely could be 6 legs and 2 long antennae. Yesterday I caught one very lightly with a piece of Scotch tape and all its little legs were waving frantically in the air as it tried to run. They look kind of a buff color.

    If they are hanging out on my walls I fear they must be everywhere. And yet no evidence or bite reactions. How insidious!

    **is scared**

  8. Kit

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Nov 15 2007 19:11:53
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    Itchyincharmcity, my first bites were in the classic formation of three and quite obvious - about the size of your average mosquito bites. The itching wasn't much worse than a mosquito bite either and they disappeared after a few days. However, after the first few rounds of bites, my bite reaction definitely lessened to the point where I almost lulled myself into thinking they were gone (thanks to this site, I didn't). Still, it was a blessing and a curse: a blessing to not have the more intense itching, but like I said, one can easily lull themselves into believing they are gone or that you've solved the problem (and who wouldn't want to clutch desperately at those straws?). Interestingly, my reaction now is more of an annoying intense pin prick, but since I am getting more bites now, it is worse than the original series. My husband was not reacting at all, but just these last couple weeks, he does think he has noticed a bite or two. This also took place over 5 months or so. Anyway, that may or may not help, but I think you are certainly doing a wise thing having an inspection ASAP. Good luck with it.

  9. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Nov 15 2007 19:28:34
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    That is so not what I wanted to hear. I wanted to be lulled. I like the lulling. Lulling plus wine is what lets me sleep at night.

    Seriously, thanks. Sounds like I am having almost the exact same experience.

  10. goawaybugs

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Thu Nov 15 2007 22:15:09
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    Hi itchy,

    Here's something to lull you. I saw in hopelessnomo's very helpful article that flea bites sometimes also appear as breakfast lunch and dinner. Since you only got bitten twice--which seems very fast to develop an immune response--could you possibly have been bitten by fleas?

    I have my own question for the group. So far, I've had four or five possible bites, all of which are different. No one bump looks or acts like any other. I know that people can react differently on different parts of their body, but has anyone had such inconsistency across all their bites? My gut says these aren't bites but then I think maybe I'm guilty of some lulling myself! My skin is usually hyper-sensitive to any kind of irritant (I once had a reaction just from getting some orange juice splashed on me!)--is that any kind of indicator as to whether someone would be allergic to bites? Or am I grasping at straws?

  11. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Nov 16 2007 11:32:27
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    I rather doubt it's fleas, as my cat has never been outdoors in her life, and it's a no-pets building so I don't think there are too many other (illegal) cats.

    But now that I think about it, the second (and last) set of bites erupted while I was out of town visiting a friend who has three cats herself. I just assumed I had been bitten earlier at home and it took a few hours to appear.

    Thanks, goaway, for giving me a straw to grasp at!

  12. dcbug

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Nov 16 2007 12:44:44
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    My bites are the same way- the first reaction was horrible- i had about ten bites on my lower back- itched like crazy and itched for weeks. I still have the scars although they have subsided itching and are starting to go away. They freaked me out and I searched my whole room but found nothing. For a few days I was not noticing bites often- one or two every couple days- definately not like the first reaction. After another week my whole body itching like crazy but it took all my self control not to scratch myself crazy and scar my whole body. These bites were definately different- smaller, less itchy, and even the ones I scratched subsided once I left them alone. The past few days i've been sleeping directly on top of my comforter in hopes of seeing blood spots or a squashed bug - my sheets are one solid light color and u can see a pepper flake on them, but I figured since I still cant find any evidence I should try the lilly white comforter. I'm still itchy, but cant tell if they are old or new, or which are psychosomatic, but it's subsided significantly from last week. Still no evidence, roomate and boyfriend still bite free, and i'm wondering if I'm developing immunity to the bites or it's/was something else. What else bites you for weeks and makes u itchy all over while u sleep, then stops!?! On Tuesday I'm leaving the country for 2 and a half week, so i'm expecting the itchiness to go away while i'm gone; if I come back and get eaten alive by hungry bugs i'll have definitive proof, right...

  13. lieutenantdan

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Nov 16 2007 12:57:02
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    itchyincharmcity,
    It was approx. 3 months after my wife reacted to bites that I started to react and keep in mind I can only speculate how long it took her to react, it could have been a day or months. I wish that it was me that reacted first because even though I did not know about the at that time sort of secret bed bug epidemic I would have torn the bed room apart.
    This bite reaction thing can drive you crazy. I have come to an understanding that I will not be able to tell anything from skin reactions. Since we now know that we can react in different ways or not react at all or react later to bed bug bites for me the only way of telling if one still has bed bugs is to actually catch one and send it to a place like Harvard for a professional to identify it.
    I recently caught a very small bug and I could not tell with 10x magnification what it was. It had banding like a bed bug.
    After staring at this thing for over an hour I noticed that the antennae was slightly different from a bb. I guessed it was a brown banded roach nymph. I did send the specimen to an entomologist friend and found out that is in fact what it was. My point is that after dealing with a bb infestation we become so sensitive that I believe that just by thinking bed bug my skin starts to crawl. That said I am left wondering if I do not bring on skin reaction by stressing myself out, kind of in a way wishing on myself.

  14. itchyincharmcity

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Nov 16 2007 12:59:16
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    So would you say your reaction began to subside over a period of several weeks or maybe even a couple of months? Seems there are quite a few of us.

    And still no evidence, grrrr! I feel your pain.

  15. lieutenantdan

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Fri Nov 16 2007 13:20:25
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    itchyincharmcity

    We of course had plenty of evidence when we discovered the infestation a year ago but no evidence since a dead one was found in mis January 2007. I have found dead other thing like a couple of carpet beetles, two green stinkbugs and a couple of House Centipedes. Reactions pretty much were gone throughout the summer but with winter chill, dry skin and lack of sun I am seeing some. You ever noticed that even before bbs if you would talk bugs to some people they would start to itch?

  16. DanDaMan

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    Posted 10 years ago
    Mon Mar 10 2008 0:15:53
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    I sat down in an infested chair for a while and got a long line of bites along my waistband. Probably over 20 or 30. It has been two weeks now and they still itch.

  17. bugsonme

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    Posted 5 years ago
    Thu May 16 2013 12:36:44
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    dcbug - 5 years ago  » 
    My bites are the same way- the first reaction was horrible- i had about ten bites on my lower back- itched like crazy and itched for weeks. I still have the scars although they have subsided itching and are starting to go away. They freaked me out and I searched my whole room but found nothing. For a few days I was not noticing bites often- one or two every couple days- definately not like the first reaction. After another week my whole body itching like crazy but it took all my self control not to scratch myself crazy and scar my whole body. These bites were definately different- smaller, less itchy, and even the ones I scratched subsided once I left them alone. The past few days i've been sleeping directly on top of my comforter in hopes of seeing blood spots or a squashed bug - my sheets are one solid light color and u can see a pepper flake on them, but I figured since I still cant find any evidence I should try the lilly white comforter. I'm still itchy, but cant tell if they are old or new, or which are psychosomatic, but it's subsided significantly from last week. Still no evidence, roomate and boyfriend still bite free, and i'm wondering if I'm developing immunity to the bites or it's/was something else. What else bites you for weeks and makes u itchy all over while u sleep, then stops!?! On Tuesday I'm leaving the country for 2 and a half week, so i'm expecting the itchiness to go away while i'm gone; if I come back and get eaten alive by hungry bugs i'll have definitive proof, right...

    I'd be interested to know what your case turned out to be - sounds just like my reaction and current bites.


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