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My heart hurts...

(22 posts)
  1. lovingmommy

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Jul 13 2010 22:39:23
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    I have twin sons that are 17 months old. They are the absolute light of my life. And they are being ravaged by what I suspect to be bed bugs. I am fighting back tears as I type this. My husband and I have not been bit. That is no consolation. I would take all of their bites and more if they could just be spared.

    I've been looking through this forum for a few days now - since I decided that it was probably bed bugs. I've learned a lot about them and we have an action plan. Pest control is coming to inspect tomorrow / treat. I guess I just need some support. The first night one of my sons had so many bites on his little leg - upwards of 30 probably.

    I feel stupid. We honestly thought it was chickenpox. Both boys became covered nearly head to toe in bites. I took them to their pediatrician who basically said, "It's either a viral rash or insect bites - probably chiggers." Right. That was about two weeks ago. Now that I've figured that I think it's bed bugs (and God do I pray it's not), the poor little ones sleep in their hot winter footed pjs to expose the least amount of skin possible. They still have had a few bites on their hands / arms and heads, but their legs and feet are looking so much better. I drop the a/c to 69 and run a big fan in their room because they are so sweaty in the morning. I ordered encasements for their crib mattresses this morning. Something about ordering encasements for CRIBS just seems wrong.

    The clincher was a completely irrational thought tonight and any of you with toddlers or kids in general can relate: they were throwing a terrible fit when I put them to bed tonight. Absolutely screaming. And I couldn't help but think.. God what if they are screaming because they know what's going to happen... It was so incredibly hard to walk out of their room and let them cry. I wanted so bad to scoop them up and let them sleep with me (they've never slept with me and wouldn't stay in my bed even if I tried). I feel like I'm somehow harming them; like a neglectful parent allowing her children to be chewed on. I know this is not the case but my God does it hurt my heart.

  2. lovingmommy

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Jul 13 2010 23:26:47
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    They woke up about five minutes after I posted that. I'd love to think they sensed my need for hugs. Nope, they were hungry. Peanut butter on toast and two sippy cups full of milk later, the pre-sleep crying only lasted about 5 minutes. Life seems to be going on obliviously for them (they don't even scratch the bites). So sweet when my one year olds teach me life lessons.

  3. bushbugg

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Tue Jul 13 2010 23:31:38
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    Im such a baby about bed bugs, I can not even imagine taking care of one. My heart goes out to anyone dealing with this with children.

    Please ask your pediatrician about what creams or salves you can apply to help your young ones. I use calamine and it helps a bit, but it might not be ok for babies who might injest it.

  4. dieBB...DIE

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 14 2010 8:00:51
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    Can you put some cushioning in the bathtub and have them sleep there? I have a 1 year old and if I suspected she had BBs in her crib there is NO WAY I'd put her to bed there. There has to be something else you can do beside putting them in the very beds you fear they are being bitten in.

  5. bugnut

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 14 2010 8:38:27
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    lovingmommy -

    I feel for you - my son is 12 and it hurts me when he has a bite. If there is only one hopeful thing is that it may be limited to their bedroom. When the PCO comes make sure you adhere to all of their instructions (if they confirm) regarding bagging clothes etc. You may want to invest in a packtite (heat treating/KILLING device) as even if you get rid of them this time, if they have play dates or get stuffed animals as gifts, you will want to treat them preventatively.

    There are some very good PCOs in NY if that is where you live and you can search this site for names. If you have your own house, you can treat with thermal or Vikane with no chemical residual effects.

    Good Luck!

  6. Beth

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 14 2010 9:09:59
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    I'm so sorry lovingmommy--what a nightmare. I hope the pco is helpful. Tell him to be careful about how much pesticides they spray in the baby's room. Steam.

    Amy

  7. WGarrow

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 14 2010 11:17:14
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    Post an update about what the pest control expert tells you. I'm hoping it's not bed bugs. Have you seen any fecal spots on the mattress or sheets? Maybe it is an allergic reaction to something. Again, post an update about what the PCO tells you.

  8. lovingmommy

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 14 2010 11:39:13
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    The PCO just left. He did a very thorough inspection of the boys' room, cribs, mattresses, closet, etc. He also checked our room and he didn't find anything. I feel pretty confident that he knew what he was doing and what to look for - as I asked him questions, all of the answers corresponded to what I have learned through my own research. An insect that I caught thinking it was a bed bug was actually some type of beetle.

    After discussing the situation with him (a very nice, understanding older gentleman who has been doing this a loooooong time - if you are in TX it was ABC Pest and Lawn Service), we think it may be happening at the babysitter's. When this first happened, my husband and I really thought it was at her house, but after bites kept appearing in the morning and not when we picked them up from her house, we figured it must be here.

    I am carefully optimistic that our house is free of bed bugs. Next steps: I called the pediatrician's office back to let them know that the "viral rash"/bites are not getting any better and could it be something that they need treatment to get over (scabies?). Waiting on a return phone call. I am going over to the sitter's house to have a discussion with her about the possibility of fleas, etc (she has dogs - we have no pets) and ask her to please have someone from a PC service do a free inspection. I've had an open dialogue going with her about the whole thing and she is a little defensive when it is suggested that it is at her house.

    I've had experience with fleas before when we did have dogs, and I know that if you have them, you pretty much know you do because you can see them and they multiply like crazy, so I would imagine she would know. Anyone have experience with not knowing you have fleas?

    Worst case scenario: she has bed bugs at her house, in which case I'm pretty much finding a different sitter and doing the whole preventative thing (laundry, etc) at my house.

    I hate to say this, but hopefully it is scabies or something that can be treated with a cream, etc. The PCO also suggested that because it has been so unseasonably humid the last couple weeks, it could be mosquitos, but I think they have way too many bites for mosquitos.

    WGarrow: I have found no blood stains or fecal spots on the sheets and I have been carefully checking them for a week.

    Die: That is a good suggestion regarding the bathtub, but they are walking/climbing, etc and would pretty much climb out. Besides, I have an insane fear of them drowning by falling in the toilet (their heads are about 25% of their body weight and once in, they can't get out) even with the toilet locks, etc. Also, they can turn on the faucet and the tub is not big enough for both of them. Overall, it would be safer to have them in their cribs, despite the possible bites. HOPEFULLY, that won't be too much of a concern now.

    I don't really want to know the answer, but have any of your had a negative from a PCO and later found that you did, in fact, have bed bugs?

    Thank you all for your concern. We will all make it through.

  9. lovingmommy

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 14 2010 12:23:19
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    I'm thinking about letting the kids sleep in t-shirts and shorts so they are more comfy. Thoughts?

    The bites drastically decreased when I put them to bed in footed pjs, but if no bbs..?

  10. DeedleBeetle

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 14 2010 12:24:28
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    be careful when you go speak with the babysitter that you guard your bag and don't bring anything back home.

  11. mcsmcs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 14 2010 12:26:14
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    Loving mommy: when did you put the kids in footed pjs, and how soon after that did the number of bites decrease?

  12. scaredanditchy

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 14 2010 12:44:06
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    Just in case:

    Scrub their cribs with rubbing alcohol, pull them away from the wall and put the legs in climb-ups, or bowls of soapy water.

    Thus far none of my kids have any bites and their beds and rooms appear bb-free, but I still put the baby to bed in footie pjs - I have cotton ones for him and they're not as hot.

    Fingers crossed you don't have bedbugs.

    Not Sleeping Tight

  13. lovingmommy

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 14 2010 12:54:55
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    I started putting them in footed pjs on Friday or Saturday night. The next day, nothing anywhere except hands/necks. I am trying to think if they've got any new ones on their legs, which were the worst when this started. Possibly, but the numbers are greatly decreased. With the footed pjs, the number of overall bites has become less, too, but maybe because they had so many to start with?

    I need to keep a log because when we first noticed them, there were just a few. Then one day it seemed they were just inundated, as if maybe some (a lot) eggs hatched. Then they were minimal for about 3 days, then another deluge of bites. That's when I put them in the footed pjs. Do bbs have a cycle like that?

    I have a steam cleaner for the carpet, and I also have one of those shark mop steam cleaners. Do you think if I steamed their beds with either of those it would kill any present? Their cribs are wooden.

    Would it be sufficient to thoroughly spray/wet their cribs and all nooks and crankies on them with 91% alcohol? We bought some bed bug spray from Lowes - it's made by Hot Shot or one of the bigger insecticide companies. Anyone have luck with those? It has a purple label, but I can't think of the manufacturer.

    I hope, I hope not bbs. Thank you all so very much for the info.

  14. Beth

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 14 2010 13:02:36
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    lovingmommy,

    I once knew I had bedbugs as I brought them from another place, but being they had only been at my new place two weeks, there were no signs but one tiny cast skin inside my pillow case I didn't even think anything of and brushed off before the pco came. In other words, yes, it is entirely possible to not have signs for a month or two. Even when the infestation was severe and I was seeing bugs on my sheets in the day, the fecal stains never looked like those mattresses you see on the web. Yes, there was some staining, but in the beginning that can be hard to see. The stains individually are very small, and if you have been doing laundry all this time... my point is yes it could be a false negative. PCO's will usually not treat just based on bites alone unless you had a confirmed infestation recently because it is so much money and work they don't want to put people through. They wait until they have evidence, which is good, but also leaves some of us getting eaten alive very frustrated. I have all the evidence I need that they have followed me again: those three little bites in a row. Fleas tend to cluster bite more. If bites are showing up in the morning that were not there, espeically some of them in rows (like a parade I swear) bedbugs is a more than rational suspicion. If your babysitter has bedbugs, it would be near impossible for them not to have traveled on your children by now. However, it also could be fleas. I had both at once and fleas are relentless in their biting, and are not always easy to see. Flea dirt can be confused with fecal matter, or even just crumbs, etc. by untrained eyes if you don't have a pet to inspect (they are easy to see on animals). I didn't realize I had fleas definitely until I saw a larvae. However a flea infestation if you don't have animals is not common just frm visiting a place with fleas, they don't hitchhike as well as bedbugs as they are so jumpy and really prefer animals, but it's possible with repeated exposure. They also are much easier to prevent with cleaning if you don't have a pet and easier to kill with otc insecticides. After my dog passed on, my flea problem went away with two strategic thorough vacuuming and steaming and laundering. Bedbugs haunt you like some mutated superbug. Fleas also mainly bite the ankles. Where are the bites mostly?

    I know that's not what you want to hear. Let's hope your pco is right! If your children are getting that many bites, you will see signs soon if it is bedbugs. If not, it may be something like scabies which, yes, is a blessing compared with bedbugs. Good luck to you.

    Amy

  15. Beth

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 14 2010 13:21:23
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    lovingmommy,

    if you spray alcohol, ventilate and keep the kids out all day, then wash it up with soap and water. May seem overkill, but alcohol poisoning is real and may have killed my dog. Hot Shots, I sprayed that in my truck, it is very powerful, and worked but not at all the eggs, they came back a couple of months later (Hot Shots residual is 3-4 weeks). It also was impossible to get in the truck for 3 days it was so toxic, severe headaches. I wouldn't suggest using it around babies sleeping quarters AT ALL. In a vehicle or place you don't spend much time it is ok and effective. I imagine if you spray it in a place like this once and then 21 days later it may work if you do all the other measures as well. I wish I had sprayed my truck twice. So keep it on hand, but I really don't think around babies ever.

    This does sound like a bug life cycle. Nymphs feed every day, thus there can be spurts for 3-5 days then it dies off as the adults only need to feed once a week. I am in a spurt now from a first hatching and it's awful though I've minimized it greatly with vacuuming and laundry.

    This is what i would suggest since the pco won't treat: bag every fabric item you own, find a dryer that gets above 120 degrees, put everything in there for an hour after dry. Keep these items in ziploc big bags. Buy a packtite, if you can't afford one, forget your decorative pillows and dry clean items or fancy shoes and leather purses you can't put in the dryer--toss them. I know it may seem overkill, but there is no good way to deinfest these without a packtite or vikane or thermal treatment. Maybe bag them until you figure out what to do with them. Vacuum and get crevices with an attachment. Empty the vacuum bag outside in a plastic bag you seal and toss. Steam if you can find a steamer, all floors and carpets-this will help the most. Get in the crevices with an attachment. Steam the cribs and cushions of the cribs as well. Do this to every bed in the house and every piece of furniture around the bed (nightstand, etc.) and upholstered items Take off outlet covers in the bedrooms and inspect for bugs, kill any you see, wipe down the inside. Use alcohol spray after if you want on plastic and wood furniture, but remember this doesn't kill eggs. Steam does. And you will have to wash it off. My dog kept licking the floor after an alcohol spray and, like I said, became very ill and had to be put to sleep. Kids do the darndest thing, so please be careful what you spray where.

    It's either this or another option which is wait until it gets bad enough there are signs and bring in a pco. With babies however my advice would be to try to tackle this naturally, it does sound like some kind of bug. Again, I would NOT use Hot Shots in their room.

    Serious investment: packtite. Alone, a person can get rid of a lot. With kids there are toys. You might seriously need this thing.

    best-
    Amy

  16. lovingmommy

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 14 2010 15:53:19
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    Pediatrician called in an antiviral medicine to be taken 3x a day for 10 days. That would be a wonderful solution of it works.. I'm afraid it might not, but I'm covering all the bases.

  17. mcsmcs

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Wed Jul 14 2010 16:41:47
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    Loving mommy: What days are you children at the sitters house? Is there any difference between the types of bites?

    I could see a change in bites on days the kids are only at home (or a couple of days following, depending on their reaction time). I could see a difference in bites - ones on legs being from sitters' and different. but if the bbs are only at the sitters, then I don't think footed pjs are the factor, or rather, if the footed pjs ARE making a difference it seems like the bbs would be at the house.

  18. lovingmommy

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Jul 16 2010 20:11:20
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    Update: Kids have been without bites/marks/rash for 3 days. Just the old ones healing. But then, one of my sons seems to have acquired two or three on his foot at some point during the day today. They did not got to the sitter's today - meaning they slept in their beds for nap time. That could potentially be where the bites came from. Or, it could be a rash. Or something else.

    Still no evidence of BBs except for the bites. Tonight is the first night in about a week that they are sleeping in shorts and t-shirts. HOPEFULLY I will have nothing new to report tomorrow. I'm still inspecting their beds and our bed daily for blood stains/fecal matter/castings/actual BBs. My husband and I still have not been bit.

    Could it be a fluke thing NOT caused by BBs? I have some hope now. Although, the encasements I ordered from amazon showed up today... exciting if they help, but a depressing reminder of the horrible possibility.

    I have figured out when I saw the first bites: July 1st. After 16 days should I be finding SOME kind of evidence besides bites? How are my children allergic but neither my husband or myself are (at all)?

    I am slightly less stressed and neurotic about the whole thing today and yesterday.. and I actually didn't obsess and think about it much today.

  19. paulaw0919

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Fri Jul 16 2010 23:23:16
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    Could it be bed bugs? Yes it could. Could it be MANY other things besides bed bugs? Yes absolutely yes.

    As a "loving mommy" you are doing all the right things imo. You are investigating that it may be bed bugs, fleas and skin conditions. You are looking to see if the reactions are coming from an outside source. That's another smart move. I understand how the babysitter may take offence, but if it's fleas, bed bugs or whatever...it can happen to anyone and it's smart for her to watch out for you guys and for you to also watch out for her. Smart move on your part.

    We had bed bugs 3 yrs ago when my twins were under a year old and my oldest was a toddler. I lived through how disstressing the situation can be. You're doing right by your children, doing a good job looking at all angles of the situation and are being a great mommy.

    You got some cream for the children. It will take time to work if it's some sort of rash..maybe up to a week or so. I would make the babies as comfortable as possible while sleeping and not put them in footies at this time. I would purchase some cheap plug in flea traps for the baby's room, your bedroom, the living room and even to the same for the babysitters house as a courtesy to rule out fleas. If the baby's room is a room that is not also a play room, I would put climb up monitors under all bed legs of all sleeping areas to monitor for bed bugs.

    I want to ask if the children have been in a kiddie pool in the last 7-10 days? If so, it could be something called "hot tub rash." My daughter is VERY suseptable to it. First time she got it as a toddler, it broke out on her about 5 days after being in a kiddie pool. It comes from natural bacteria found in any kind of water, not just hot tubs. (bacteria from watering hose...kids bathing in that water for periods of time etc...) This summer I found my son (one of the twins) also gets this as well. It can look exactly like the bites we experienced in the past and is scary. Even though what i have read on hot tub rash being itchy, my children never found it to be so. With the proper cream being applied once a day, and especially after a bath the rash cleared up in about a weeks time. My daughter even broke out in the rash from old water inside one of those water toys for the tub! I'm a bit OCD on cleaning our tub and that old water in that toy I know was the problem. I mention this because if they have been in a kiddie pool or hot tub recently that can also be the culprit.

    If you truly suspect bed bugs, there are more tools out there now such as the Beacon for early detection for your home and even the babysitters. Sorry you have to worry about this with your little ones. Hopefully it's not bed bugs and one of the other many things it can be...either way you'll see it through and all will be well again.

  20. Beth

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Jul 17 2010 9:36:13
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    Buy Dog Treats, I love your name. Are you suggesting we buy dog treats to get rid of bed bugs? Oh that would be so cool.

  21. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Sat Jul 17 2010 11:51:07
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    Sorry.

    If people need dog treats, I would not recommend ones made with spam. (Too salty!)

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  22. lovingmommy

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    Posted 9 years ago
    Mon Jul 19 2010 18:30:29
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    paulaw0919: Thanks for the alternate suggestion of hot tub rash. It is a possibility as I think the sitter let them play in the sprinkler a few weeks ago.

    As an update, they were home (did not go to sitter's) Friday - Sunday this last weekend and had no new markings at ALL. Either the antiviral (oral suspension) is working, or they are getting over whatever it is, or I killed whatever it was at home (PCO did a regular quarterly treatment, plus I fogged their room - which I know, is a big no no for BBs, but I didn't know it at the time), OR whatever it is, is at the sitter's.

    I am about to go pick up the boys now and am going to look them over really well, but I really hope this whole ordeal is over.

    Thank you all for your thoughts and input, it really helped my family and me a lot. Also, while I'm now feeling more sure it is not BBs, I am very glad I researched it because now I know what to look for... and somehow going on vacation and staying in a hotel is really, really, REALLY not as appealing anymore.


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