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Shingles and bedbug bites--bedbugs DO cause health problems

(2 posts)
  1. parakeets

    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 1,011


    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Oct 31 2008 17:53:30

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    In the past two days, **two** women have told me about women in their lives who keep getting "repeated attacks of 'shingles'." The patients think the shingles rash is gone and then it comes back, and then comes back again. They say the women they know are getting shingles in different places in their body--where they used to have it on their abdomen, now they have it on their legs. Where they used to have it on the right side, now they have it on the left. Rows of itchy bites.

    Except this is NOT the case with shingles. It is rare (fortunately) to get shingles a second time once you've had it, and even rarer to get it a third time. (Though you can get a neurological condition where the pain of shingles lingers without the rash). Also, the shingles rash follows a pattern based on dermatomes, stays on one side of the body, and doesn't jump around the body like the rashes these women were describing on their friend and sister. Shingles doesn't do that.

    I bite my lip because I want to say "Are you sure it isn't bedbug bites?" My shingles did look like bedbug bites. They were in a line, itchy, red, small, welts, etc. Except I've had bedbug bites and I know they have that little pin-prick center for the bite (shingles doesn't) and my bedbug bites don't sting deep from the inside the skin, the way my shingles do. I didn't know what my bedbug bites were when I first had them. Allergy? Back acne? I didn't know what my shingles were when I first had them.

    I would not be surprised if people who think they have repeated outbreaks of shingles rashes might actually be having bedbug bites.

    If shingles don't follow the pattern that shingles are KNOWN to follow, doctors should rule out shingles and think of bedbugs. I was sorry these 2 discussions (in the past two days!) were not with the so-called shingles patients directly. I would have brought up the possibility.

    I hope doctors can come up with a way of diagnosing bedbug bites. It will help patients.

  2. DougSummersMS

    Joined: May '07
    Posts: 1,957


    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Oct 31 2008 20:04:18

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    Sorry to hear that you are experiencing lingering problems.

    Symptoms that move around don't sound like Shingles to me either.

    At the NPMA conference there was a discussion panel that talked about whether bed bugs were a health issue. They said that some health departments have concluded that the skin wounds that bed bugs leave constitute a health hazard for fragile populations. Several participants argued that there are a number of good reasons to consider bed bugs to be a public health issue.

    Shingles symptoms or warts that are related to bed bug bites are good evidence that the concerns about bite wounds are well founded.

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