Trying to identify my problem - is it bed bugs?(3 posts)
I'm just reaching out for help to identify my problem - if I'm itching because I am stressed or if I truly do have bed bugs.
I recently moved to NYC last summer. After a month of being here, I went to the movie theater and the next morning I woke up kind of itchy. It lasted for about three months. In the beginning I developed these tiny flat red dots on my skin. They looked like pin pricks and bled slightly when I squeezed them but the blood did not actually come out (if that makes any sense). The dots didn't itch but I felt itchy all over like things were crawling on me during the day (my legs felt like they were burning itching) and especially at night around 4am. It would get really itchy every 8 days or so, and the rest of the days it would be milder.
I had seen a few little brown bugs that looked like they could have been bed bugs over the course of the three months, but they weren't completely flat. I would often find black specs in the morning on my sheets that weren't there the night before. And I constantly fretted that little white specs and flakes were eggs or cast skins (even though none looked like insect bodies) and not dead skin from my own body.
During this time it's important to note that I was undergoing a lot of stress - I was on a temporary contract hoping that I would get a full time job, worried about paying my rent, and worried that I could possibly have bed bugs. Also, I have depression. All these things together can really stress someone out.
Eventually, I decided I had to do something because it wasn't going away. So I cleaned all my clothes and packed them into giant ziplock bags and sprayed my suitcases and heated the rest of my belongings. I moved out of the place I was staying at and moved into a new place. While there, I only unpacked clothes as I needed them and washed them as I went. I did see a few more bugs and black specs/white flakes on my bed.
For some peace of mind, I visited the dermatologist to see if she could confirm the red dots on my skin were bed bug bites. But she told me I had worried in vain. She had seen many people come in with bed bug bites and that I was simply stressed out.
After that I had moved into another new apartment with some peace of mind and prayed that the bed bugs, if they did exist, did not follow me to the new place. There was peace - I found out my contract got extended and I had no more black specs/white flakes on my bed. The itching was gone and I didn't see any red dots on my skin or bugs in my apartment.
It lasted this way for three months. But then one day I decided to go to the movie theater and the next day I was itching all over again. The red dots came back. The symptoms were the same. I saw a little brown bug still alive in the corner near a crack in the wall. I began to see little black and white dots on the floor near my bed.
I went to see the dermatologist again for some solace. She said I was having delusions again. She told me she had bed bugs in the past and what I had was not bed bugs, but cherry angioma. She told me to see a therapist. I did, but I still feel itchy all over. I got a second dermatologist's opinion which confirmed it was stress. No one believes me. I'm just going crazy. I did just lose my job and it could be stress. I want to believe it is, but I just can't. Last time the itching cleared up when I found a permanent place to live and job security. But the fact that I got itchy the day after visiting a movie theater twice can't be ignored. What is going on???
I am not sure what white dots would be. What did the black dots look like? What was their consistency? Could you wipe them off the bed, or not?
Anyway, no one can say for sure what's causing this. Getting itchy every 8 days is suspicious, but then the problem went away when your stress did, which is odd.
You can employ some detection methods just to give yourself peace of mind. This FAQ may help.I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
The best thing you can do at this point is make sure to collect any future evidence. Put it in tight zip-lock baggies. any of these flakes/specks - if you can get a bug, dead or alive - that is the best. Otherwise it would be near impossible to identify based off of your account or even seeing bites, because bed bug bites look like many other common bug bites. Also, not sure what it is really.. but when I am not tanned, I have little red bumps on my legs that are very visible. They generally, from what I can tell, is where new hair is growing in from under the skin, but to someone else could easily look like my shins are eaten up with tiny bug bites. So they could be not bug bites at all. Sadly, skin is a cruel mistress and very hard to treat and diagnose at times when there is a problem.
I'm sure if you collected some evidence and posted some pictures people would be happy to help you ID your suspects here.
You must log in to post.