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

How likely are these bed bugs

(5 posts)
  1. bitten maybe bugged

    newbite
    Joined: Jul '12
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    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Jul 19 2012 0:47:33
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    Hi, I found your community via Google and have been really impressed with the support and atmosphere here. Kudos to the founder and the wonderfully helpful people who take the time to read and respond to the posts, I've learned much over the past couple days reading up on a lot of posts.

    So here's my story... (if you don't want to read the entire thing, skip to the bottom where I summarize the main points - and here are the images of the marks: http://www.flickr.com/photos/83018190@N05/


    Dates and Symptoms

    July 3 - I experienced a very strange, all-over body itch. The itching was intense, but there were no bites. But the places I scratched cause small, flesh-colored bumps to appear, and I tried to stop scratching. The itchiness was worse on my shoulders, elbows, and knees. At night it was unbearable on my lower legs (shims and calves), and I had to use an anti-itch spray from Rite-Aid just to sleep. This lasted about 2 days.

    July 4 - A noticeable body rash began to appear all over my body. My shoulders broke out in what appeared to be very bad acne, which I haven't had since I was a teenager (about 7 or 8 years ago). Still have the horrible itching on my lower legs at night, and now small, red bumps appeared there. I thought they were just from the scratching.

    July 9 - Body itching is mostly gone now, and just replaced with these unsightly red bumps. These bumps did NOT form where the itching was happening - they did not form on my elbows or knees, and are mostly on my lower legs, with 3-5 on each arm. As far as I can remember, these bumps appeared all at the same time . One day, no bumps and just itching, next day, BOOM all these little red dots. There are too many to count, but I would guess about 30 per leg. The red bumps don't get any better or worse over the next couple days, and do not itch.

    July 13 - Mild return of body itching. I thought his was due to eating some semi exotic food the day before.

    July 14 - Legs are worse - the same leg marks are redder, itchier, larger, and I think there are more, though it's difficult to tell in retrospect if there are more or if some of them became more red and I just noticed them now.
    At this point, I should mention that my shoulders have turned and become eczema, and look nothing like my legs.

    July 16 - The legs are the same as the 14th more or less, but some of the marks feel swollen. I thought this was just a skin rash still and didn't suspect bugs, so I was afraid they had become infected.

    July 17 - Upon waking, the right leg with the worse swelling (a group or 2-3 marks, I think) hurt a great deal, and I couldn't put pressure on that leg without a lot of pain. The pain subsided if I stood up for a while, but if I sat or layed down for a bit and then got up, the same pain returned.
    - It's about 2 weeks since these body marks appeared.
    - These symptoms convinced me to finally seek a doctor. My GP had no idea what it was, but he said it didn't look at all infected, which was a huge relief. I was lucky and was able to make an appointment with a dermatologist the same day. He prescribed me corticosteroids and antihistamines, I guess because it does look like an allergic reaction. When I asked him what it was, he suggested bed bugs, but said that he couldn't tell for sure just by judging from the bites.

    And now, today. My bite/body marks are better, presumably due to the prescriptions. But I was a bit freaked to hear I could have bed bugs. I went to Europe a few years ago, and I was so incredibly paranoid I was going to catch bed bugs and didn't catch them. I haven't done any traveling recently, so it will be a real joke if it ends up I get them by staying inside my house for a month.

    Where could I have gotten them??

    I wasn't kidding when I said I've been inside my house for a month. I literally had not gone outside until I went to see the doctors yesterday, due to skin problems (the eczema on the shoulders, and some psoriasis, and I am currently studying from home). I spent a night in the ER in early July, and it was nearly a month before these body marks appeared, so I can't imagine I could have caught it from there (I called the hospital today to inquire, and they said they had no bed bugs. It's supposed to be a very good hospital, and I doubt they would cover something like that up from a patient).

    So since I haven't gone out, the ONLY other thing I can think of is that I bought some used books that arrived toward the end of June. One of them looked pretty beat up, the spine was broken open and there were some gross black dots on the pages at the top (when you look down on the book and the book is closed), they looked like pepper. I suspected maybe this book was the culprit, I actually cut the spine open two days ago, but it was perfectly clean inside - no dots, no sign of any shedding at all. I would think if the book had any bugs, there would have been SOMETHING inside the spine. I threw the book out just in case anyway, since it was inexpensive. I also emailed the seller, who assured me that he did not have any bed bugs where the book was stored and had never had a complaint like this from a customer (it's possible he could be lying, but his email seemed genuine).


    Summary

    - One day, seemingly randomly, my entire body became intensely itchy, mostly on my shoulders, elbows, and knees. This lasted approximately two days.
    - The third day, numerous small red bumps appeared on my body. BUT, it's important to note that these bumps did NOT form where the previous days' itching took place - they are mostly on my lower legs, and I have 3-5 on each arm.
    - The bumps, which are very numerous (maybe around 30 on each leg) appeared overnight as far as I can remember, with no change in my environment.
    - The only thing which might have brought the bugs in was a used book that arrived in the mail a week or two earlier. I examined the book yesterday and found no bugs on it, and the seller claims he does not have bed bugs and has never had a customer complain about something like this before (he seems sincere)
    - I'm trying to decide what next course of action I should take. I checked the mattress seams and found nothing except something that could possibly be shed skin, but there are no legs at all.
    - I put a mattress cover today in the afternoon. I had to open it very briefly a little while ago (12:30 am) to check to see if I left something in there - it was unzipped all the way for no more than a minute long - was this unwise?
    - I ordered a bug trap and bed bug trap (both are sticky traps) so I will try those and see when they arrive
    - I moved some furniture around two days ago, and found 3 small spiders, one of which I am pretty certain was the jumping spider.

    PICTURES OF THE MARKS/BITES - http://www.flickr.com/photos/83018190@N05/

    Appreciate any and all opinions and advice!

    Many thanks.

    (sorry if this post is a little disorganized, it's nearly 2 am and I should've been asleep an hour ago)

  2. AshamedandScratching

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    Joined: Aug '11
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    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Jul 19 2012 11:34:18
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    a few things:

    1. Those are nasty looking, but there's no way to know what gave them to you. My first bb-bites turned into bruises and leaked body fluid and all kinds of weirdness. Bites are not consistent person to person because they are allergic responses and each person responds differently to allergy-causing materials.
    2. It's possible to not respond to bb-bites and then suddenly react horrendously. I did. Did you seem to be getting more mosquito bites on your legs this summer than usual? I had bbs a couple of months before I found them Any strange bugs in or near your bedding?
    3. If you've geniunely had a sudden response like this to something, I would look into other enviromental factors that may have changed. (Laundry soap or softner brand change?) You would need something bigger than a book to introduce enough bugs to feed this extensively. Each bug feeds every few days. (I think 5-7, but I might be misremembering.)

    http://bedbugger.com/faqs/

    Please go here and start reading about the bugs and their traces. You'll also want to read about inspecting and monitoring too, as well.

    If you did have an infestation large enough to do that--and it's possible because they're sneaky and you weren't looking--you would be likely to find some trace of the bugs in the area around your bed (as long as your thorough). While you're working on the bb angle, I would also seek to eliminate any possible enviroment thing that could play a factor. I had a terrible reaction to gnat bites this year and they happened suddenly in one night after a rain. I had a friend who reacted to changing her laundry soap like your legs did.

    Dude--your derm is awesome. He knows his stuff.

  3. bitten maybe bugged

    newbite
    Joined: Jul '12
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    Posted 7 years ago
    Thu Jul 19 2012 23:37:23
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    Thanks A&S!

    1. Yes, it's so frustrating not being able to tell from the marks! Bed bugs would be so much less stressful if it was easier to tell if you have them. It's the not being sure that is eating at me.

    2. To my knowledge, I haven't had any mosquito bites on my legs. The only strange bugs I've found were two small spiders when I moved my bed a few days ago (only to reorganize, no thorough cleaning, just light vacuuming underneath where the bed used to be). I found a third spider the next day on the window sill that I'm pretty sure it was a jumping spider. Today, I found a fourth spider had made the beginnings of a web on a lamp that was just fixed and put back in the room - this one was white and extremely tiny.

    3. I really hope this is what the cause ends up being. No change in soaps or detergents prior to seeing the marks. I did however start taking some supplements, so I thought at first the marks were a detox rash. It was only when the suggestion of bed bugs came up that I thought it could be something else.

    Thank you for the link, I've checked the information and it's all very useful. I checked the mattress, the seams on the edges, the underside, the bed frame (wood) - I didn't see anything, though I'm sure I wasn't as thorough as someone who knew what they were doing would be.

    The passive bb monitor just shipped, so I'll set that up as soon as it arrives. I also ordered a set of regular traps, since finding those couple spiders was kind of creepy.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences. The book, unfortunately, was this large textbook-sized book, and the size of it worried me. But I think it makes sense what you said, about how if it was this many bites, it's unlikely they would have appeared all at once from the book (or there would have at least been some signs in the spine).

    Yeah, he's great! He was so reassuring and understanding, he helped settle nerves a lot (and one of the antihistimine pills conveniently doubles as a sleeping pill/mood relaxer).

    I think the thing I was most wrestling with was what I should do now, whether I should have a PCO come in and inspect, or if I should wait a few weeks and see if new bites show up. I'm leaning toward waiting a few weeks, but if anyone has any opinions I'd love to hear.

    Thanks so much again!

  4. AshamedandScratching

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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jul 20 2012 0:22:16
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    I'm glad it helped.

    Did you look inside the box springs?

    What do you mean by regular traps? (Spiders eat bedbugs so you may want to leave them be.)

  5. bitten maybe bugged

    newbite
    Joined: Jul '12
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    Posted 7 years ago
    Fri Jul 20 2012 0:35:15
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    Yes, you really did!

    My bed doesn't have box springs, it's just the mattress with a foam cover on top. The bed frame is a wooden one from ikea. I don't see any marks on it, haven't checked the underside yet thought.

    This is the regular trap I got: http://www.amazon.com/Trapper-Insect-spider-cockroach-Trap-90/dp/B002Y6JHES

    Though it's a sticky trap like the bb one, it's possible the will both catch the same things?

    My mom is convinced at least one of the bites is a spider bite, since it's strange that I would have such a bad reaction to just one bite and the rest are much more mild. Even if they're good spiders, it's kind of hard for me to just leave them there under my bed if I find them :'(


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