Got Bed Bugs? Bedbugger Forums » Bed bug bites, skin, etc.

Help as I've got no idea what's causing these bites or reactions...

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  1. blclads31

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    Joined: Jan '19
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    Posted 8 months ago
    Sun Jan 20 2019 15:50:26
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    Hi everyone,

    New here (and sad to be here - no offense meant, of course! :P).

    In brief, I'm trying to figure out what could be causing what appears to be allergic reactions with no signs of bed bugs (or other bugs, other than a handful of silverfish).

    I woke yesterday (01/19) and felt an itchy sensation on my left wrist. I looked and saw one round welt (first photo in album link below). A few minutes later (~20-30 min?), I saw the two smaller ones under it appear. These grew and added 1-2 more to eventually become larger, as seen in the progression of photos in link below. There were no bed bug (or other bug) signs around me.

    https://flic.kr/s/aHsmzA5tNo

    This whole process took ~2 hrs (I took first photo around 9:30AM and last one around 12PM/noon). The circles were a bit itchy, so I put some anti-itch lotion. However, the welts were gone in a few hrs and there were no signs left by evening/this morning (01/20).

    I got another one of these "circles" (though smaller) randomly on the back of my leg, 1-2 hrs after I had been awake this morning (01/20). It went down and there's no sign after ~1 hrs now. Same happened yesterday (01/19) night on my right arm, one small circle that went away within the hour.

    I travel a lot (practically every week), so I've been careful about bed bugs (especially after my sister - lives in another state - had issues with bed bugs in a NYC hotel this past Sept/Oct). More details on this below.

    I have not seen any signs of bed bugs in my place (or hotels I've stayed at), and I've checked and re-checked. Even this week, I have not seen ANY bed bug signs. As I said, I've only seen a handful of silverfish (and 2-3 tiny spiders) caught in a few sticky traps around my apt.

    So my question is... WHAT COULD BE CAUSING THIS? TT_TT
    I don't have any bug signs at home (and I've been thorough, I think, based on hours and days I've spent researching and reading since the fall - see below for background), so... yeah.

    I've become super paranoid about all this (again, details on background below). I can't even call PCOs / exterminators because I am fairly confident they will say there are no bed bug (or other bug) signs... Could the thing on my wrist yesterday just have been stress hives? The psychological effect is taxing.

    SUPER LONG CONTEXT / background (not sure how relevant, but just in case you're feeling bored and want a detailed read :)):

    * Sister's incident was in a NYC hotel (Sept/Oct). She got bitten in over 50 places in one night. Hotel confirmed bed bugs afterwards, and she followed all precautions before taking anything inside at home (she lives in a different state than me). Ran everything through high heat dryer (that apt complex's dryers get EXTREMELY hot, to the point where metal buttons will burn your skin if you're not careful when taking clothes out!), bagged everything else, etc. No signs of any bugs on her stuff or apt, for what it's worth.

    * Back in ~Oct (I live in a different state), I was outdoors a lot one weekend (Fri-Sun) and saw some bug bites on my arms and legs Tue morning (I think - don't recall exactly right now). They didn't have the 3-pattern (though I know that's not a 100% sure bed bug sign) and looked random and slightly different from each other. Dermatologist said it didn't look like bed bugs. My best guess is it was ants or other from the weekend, and I didn't really react till Mon night when sleeping/Tue.

    I did a very thorough check of hotel I was at (I travel a lot for work) and no bed bug signs. I also did a very, very thorough check of my place when I got home - no bed bug signs (not to mention washing clothes, leaving carryon outside, etc.).

    Some bites were itchy, but they went away after 1-2 weeks. I also didn't get new bites/reactions for several weeks afterwards when I was home, so I assume it was from my time outdoors. (I live in a warm state, so there were plenty bugs even in Oct, especially ants. I avoided the outdoors for those weeks.)

    Given that all the countless things I've read and seen about bed bug bites just means that everyone reacts differently, hard to know as my bites seemed to kind of match bed bug bite photos... but also looked like it could be ant or spider bites, tbh.

    * I was home for the holidays (at my sister's, in Northern state) in late Dec/early Jan and got bitten on 2 separate occasions that became super itchy and inflamed. Went to urgent care each time.

    - First time: https://flic.kr/s/aHskMw4AWZ
    Right thigh, left elbow, finger on left hand (sister got similar bite on left wrist - we use same room and beds are next to each other when I stay at her place)
    Went to urgent care after 1-2 days as reaction was worsening- told it didn't look like bed bug pattern. Bull's eye one on left elbow didn't seem like tick bite (plus it's winter in the NE and I hadn't been outdoors ~2 days prior to these bites). Given antibiotics just in case.
    3 photos are after ~1 week of antibiotics - mostly gone.
    Hypothesis was that it was some kind of spider at my sister's place... but again, no signs of any bugs. Plus, on my sister's 1 bite, it looked and reacted differently from when she got bed bugs back in Oct (she also had similar bull's eye-like reaction this time).

    - Second time (~1 week after above bites - only me this time):
    Initial bites: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm8AqVsX
    Left wrist, back of right hand, 3 on left hip/back, one on upper left underarm. Itchy a lot (except back of hand).
    Looks like bed bug pattern on hip/back (!!!!! TT_TT), but the bites looked different than the bites my sister got back in Oct (confirmed bed bugs in hotel room she stayed at). Still no signs of bed bugs at her place.

    ~1-2 days later: https://flic.kr/s/aHsm8AqVs6
    Swelled and then became inflamed and very itchy (went to urgent care, where they prescribed ivermectin to put on the body + benadryl pills) and the photos with writing are after inflammation went down and no more itching (probably ~3-5 days after urgent care).
    It's now mostly healed, though bite marks and discolored skin remain.
    On the ones on the hip/back, you can see how big the one bite reaction spread (was roughly size of my hand and inflamed and red! But the actual bite marks are small and similar to the 2 on wrist and 1 on underarm).

    For this second time, it happened while still at my sister's, and the pattern on left hip apparently screams "bed bugs!". We called exterminators, and they came a Wed and again a Fri.. and found NO signs of bed bugs (or other bugs, except a bunch of spider beetles - which supposedly don't bite). They refused to treat for bed bugs as they couldn't find any signs of bed bugs.

    These 2 instances of bites at my sister's seem like reactions to the same bug(s?) biting, but not sure what they are. I am pretty sure they happened overnight while sleeping, but who knows if it's a delayed reaction...

    * I came back to my apt on 01/11 (southern state), and again did the whole thing with bagging everything I brought, wash/high heat, etc. etc. etc. Have checked my place multiple times within the past 1-2 weeks, and no signs of any bugs (except silverfish as mentioned initially above).

    Last Sun 01/13, I went golfing... and woke Tue 01/15 with 2 bits on my left leg (one on front of left calf and other higher up on the back of the left calf). These look similar to the bites I got back in Oct, so I'm assuming it was ants from the golf course.

    Photos: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmzAeyeQ
    The 2 photos with pink pajama bottoms are the first morning I noticed (Tue 01/15) and the others are after 2-3 days.
    I only added the ones from the back of left calf, as front of calf was similar but smaller. They are no longer itchy and just remain red spots/remains.

    * Which brings me to Sat 01/19... No new bites appeared since I've been home for ~1.5 weeks (except the 2 on my leg ~1.5 days after golfing), and then suddenly had the allergic (?) reaction on my left wrist - the one I posted at the very beginning of this looooong post, with the ~4-5 circles. NO signs of bugs, though now I've bough a bed bug mattress cover, DE, and bunch of more sticky traps (unfortunately, my Ikea bed frame model doesn't have "legs" per se and so I can't get the passive bed bug traps!).

    SOS / any ideas?!

  2. blclads31

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    Joined: Jan '19
    Posts: 6

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    Posted 8 months ago
    Sun Jan 20 2019 16:21:58
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    OMG Didn't realize the post became this long... @A@;;;

    Apologies for that. What I'm trying to get a sense of is mostly whether the initial reactions I posted about (https://www.flickr.com/photos/167758917@N08/sets/72157706014858414/) are possible to appear out of nowhere - though I'd of course be grateful any thoughts on the rest of the post.

    I still haven't found signs of any bugs...

    THANK YOU FOR READING!!


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