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

New kind of "bites"- anyone get less sensitive over time?

(15 posts)
  1. wearymomma

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 14 2011 12:12:06
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    We are SOOOOO close (hopefully) to getting rid of bedbugs on our own. (Steam, DE, hundreds of wash/dry cycles, Space Bags, etc.)

    We had a second K9 inspection last week, and the house was 98% clear, with the exception of one corner of one couch. We steamed the whole thing immediately, put climbups on it, and I've only sat in it twice since then.

    Normally, when I've gotten bed bug bites (I'm the only one in the house who's allergic), they swell up and itch like crazy, and are about 3-4 in an area.

    Now, on the back of my armpits on both sides I have about 30 tiny little pink bumps. Not itchy, and some of them have a dry white center.

    For the love of God, someone tell me it's heat rash and not an army of nymphs I just fed, making us have to do all of our work all over again?

    (And please don't recommend pesticide spray, I have a little one and we eat all organic so I am reluctant to use conventional spray. Heat treatment estimate was $2000- $5000 so that's off the table too).

    Anyone out there get a false negative "rash"? or bites that turned out to be something else?

  2. Saturn

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 14 2011 13:43:14
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    While it is possible for an individual's reactions to bed bug bites to change over time, your description sounds a lot like karatosis pilaris, a harmless skin condition that I have had myself from time to time. Maybe look into whether that matches your symptoms?

  3. Saturn

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 14 2011 14:44:05
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    Wearymomma,

    I wrote you a response, but I'm not sure if it vanished into a black hold or got stuck in moderation bc I included a link to wikipedia, but anyways...
    It is possible for your reaction to bed bug bites to change over time (getting worse or better), but the rash you described reminds me of keratosis pilaris (which is harmless). You might want to look that up and see if it matches your symptoms.

  4. Bedbug_Undertaker

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 14 2011 15:04:20
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    I host on a regular basis and have found that different parts of my body react in different ways to the bites.
    Here's an example how my neck and my forearm react differently to be being bitten in the same infestation all pics taken on the same day the morning after my first night in this infestations

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/organize/?start_tab=one_set72157627670956990

  5. wearymomma

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 14 2011 19:16:14
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    Thanks to both of you!! Saturn, you might be spot on- one of the pictures I saw does look the same as my arms do. I can sleep tonight at least with some other explanation than a resurgence of the enemy :-).- thank you!!!!!

    Bedbug_ undertaker, for some reason I couldn't get the photos to come up using the link?

    This is so insane how now, every slight itch, twitch or red mark gets me completely freaked out that we have to keep up the craziness every weekend (10 laundry loads each weekend, more and more and more steaming, purging our household possessions)... I think I have like one chair and one outfit left You all know exactly how we feel, and this site has been such a huge help.

  6. BugsMustDie

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Wed Sep 14 2011 21:59:17
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    Hey Undertaker -

    Since you're the bite expert and others don't often like to comment on bites, I have a couple of questions. I read somewhere that bed bug bites commonly have a white head whereas mosquito bites tend to have a red spot in the middle.. In your experience, is this true? I'm trying to figure out if I still have them and I honestly never paid that close attention to mosquito bites before. I had some bites on my legs I thought could be mosquito bites, but one had a white head...the others had no spot or white head.
    Secondly, do your bites ever hurt? Most of mine just itched like crazy, but now I have a few spots (that I actually think are old bites) but they don't itch, they just hurt.

    Any thoughts you would like to share would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks

  7. OhNoes

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Sep 15 2011 7:06:06
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    I was also wondering about this. I haven't seen any evidence (at home) for the better part of a week. Yesterday, I noticed 3 what I thought might be bites on my leg. They were spread out, and looked like little pimples (I get body acne, so, it isn't that out of the ordinary). The weird thing is that they DID NOT ITCH. The last round of bites I had drove me nuts with itching. Both the old round, and the current "bites" were on my calves.

    Does that make sense that these could be BB bites? Where I reacted with extremely itching before, and absolutely none now. And, they are mostly faded away after about 24-48 hrs.

    Any thoughts people?

  8. Koebner

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Sep 15 2011 7:34:39
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    You really can't diagnose BBs by bites because what happens at a bite site isn't determined by what bit you, but by how your own immune system reacts. There are persistent non-reacors, there are people who react slightly, people who react hugely, people who require a period of exposure to bites to become sensitised, people whose bites are complicated by other immune-related conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. Even the length of time a bite takes to heal varies according to things like age, pre-existing medical conditions, exposure to sunlight & lots of other factors.

    The kind of reaction - pimple, lump, blister, or other lesion, is the individual's immune system's response. This difference in what individuals' bites look like can be further complicated by scratching the bite/s - something people do quite unconsciously, even in their sleep. This has the potential to introduce secondary infection, which leads to yet another set of variations.

    Two people can be bitten by the same bug on the same night yet have entirely different skin responses. This FAQ http://bedbugger.com/bed-bug-bites-photos/ & its links demonstrate a wide variety of BB bite reactions. It's worth noting that none of them resemble my own reaction - I have psoriasis & my strong response to BB bites doesn't look anything like bites. Instead it looks like what's called "raindrop psoriasis" & failing to understand why my psoriasis had changed presentation slowed down my realistion that I had BBs by a couple of weeks.

    If you're having a skin reaction, the important thing to do is to look methodically for the thing you're reacting to, rather than to fix first on a probable cause & look only for that. Differential diagnosis is the way to go. As they always say in House "could be lupus".

  9. OhNoes

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Sep 15 2011 9:44:43
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    Koebner,

    I guess my thought was that I had reacted in X way within the past month on a specific location. I did not react in a similar way within such a short time frame. As a result, I think that it is less likely that it is BB bite. Maybe I'm wrong.

  10. buggyinsocal

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Sep 15 2011 10:50:30
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    The best evidence we have is that nymph bites are the same size as bites from adults. Granted, we don't have as much evidence as I would like so that I can say that without any qualifications, but here's what evidence we do have.

    Some bio departments with bed bug experts among the entomologists have offered "bite tests," in which people who think they may have bed bugs and want to know if they react to bed bug bites come in and under controlled lab conditions, both an adult and a nymph bed bug are placed on the person's arm. The person is then watched to see how the skin reacts. (And yes, the bed bugs are retrieved to make sure that the bugs don't hitch hike home.)

    The video we've seen of these tests show nymph bites and adult bites appearing shortly after the test as the same size.

    I know that is kind of counterintuitive. You would think that a smaller bug would mean less of the thing that we react to with an allergic response, right? But the best evidence we have right now looks like that's not the case.

    We also have a lot of anecdotal evidence that the skin of people who've been through a bed bug scare is likely to be extra reactive for a while.

    We also have a lot of anecdotal evidence that DE makes skin more reactive too.

    Your story sounds like you've been exposed to both, so I'd expect to be extra itchy and extra reactive for a while if I were you.

    I've written other posts on this exact topic before. If you search the forum you can likely find one of my more detailed answers. Short version: if you're seeing skin irritations that are radically different than the bed bug bites you'd had, chances are far better that they aren't bed bug bites than that your reaction to bed bug bites has changed that radically in that short a period of time.

    Post bed bugs, people tend to be hyperaware and their skin tends to be more reactive to any irritant.

    Keep watching for other signs, and keep a log of when you find what skin irritations where. My "nymph bites" turned out to be irritation from stubble growing back in after I'd shaved my legs; I figured this out by logging when the "bites" happened and realized it was a predictable interval post-shaving.

  11. Bedbug_Undertaker

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Sep 15 2011 14:54:34
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    BugsMustDie I wasn't claiming to be a bite expert, I was simply sharing some hands on experience of how I personally react to bed bug bites.
    Other people respond in different ways. Some people don't respond for days so, you can't say for definite if they where bitten in their own beds or in a seat at a cinema they had sat in 3 nights previous.

    I agree with koebner when it comes to bites don't diagnose bbs, as you can see I respond in different ways in the same night. Bites alone are not conclusive. But I am happy to discuss how I personally respond and share pictures as I take them.

    As for mosquito bites mine are usually red then quickly turn yellow in the middle but I do tend to scratch those they really annoy me.

    Sparks

  12. BugsMustDie

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Sep 15 2011 15:19:04
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    Undertaker,

    I hope I did not offend you. I just meant that since you've had a lot of bites, you may have some insight that others don't.

    I know bites are a terrible topic because everyone reacts differently. But it's a very frustrating topic because as one person also mentioned, my bites have seemed to changed, even on the same part of my body.

    I am glad to hear though that some individuals have mentioned their skin in general was more reactive during and after bites. I think what has happened with me is I developed a skin condition while I was getting bit, which made it difficult to know for certain what was a bite and what wasn't. I haven't had anything that I absolutely sure is a bite in about a month, which leads me to believe I may just have the skin condition and a few mosquito bites. I guess only time and monitoring will tell.

    Thanks

  13. Bedbug_Undertaker

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Thu Sep 15 2011 23:24:27
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    BugsMustDie no you didn't offend me I just felt I needed to make it clear I am not an expert just a layman talking from personal experience. Yes you may have developed a skin condition from being bitten. I once hosted a room where I must have had over 1000 bites on my body in one night. It wasn't pleasant and as a result, whenever I am dealing with post treatment and bed bug undertaking I tend to react if there's still life in the room or cast skins. All the old bites come up usually on my forearms, and although I know for certain I haven't been bitten during the clean, I can guarantee the room I am reacting to will need a second treatment. This reaction is purely down to the over exposure from that one night.

    Hopefully you're just reacting to old skins in the atmosphere, perhaps a deep clean of the previously infested area using a vacuum cleaner with a hepa filter would help.

  14. jsmith85249

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Fri Sep 16 2011 0:20:50
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    I read this thread with great interest because I'm currently trying to determine if I have brought bed bugs home with me or not. Two weeks ago I attended a church camp where I brought my own sheets to use on the bed in a dorm-style room. Did not notice anything out of the ordinary in a cursory check of the vinyl mattress. Shortly after arriving home one of my roommates at the camp developed mysterious bumps/bites on her arms and ankles. Internet research led us to wonder if it could be BB bites due to the look and pattern of the bites. As far as I could tell I did not have any bites. Then one and a half weeks after leaving the camp I had surgery (with anesthesia and an IV in my right arm.) The next day I had 10 bumps/bites on the arm that had the IV. Odd little groupings of pimple like bumps (some in lines of 3). These too looked like photos of BB bites that I found online. They did not itch at all but they were very noticeable. While recovering from surgery I didn't pay much attention to the bites other than to notice they were still there. Then one week after the bites appeared I had my monthly allergy shot, one shot in each arm. I had an itchy reaction to the shot (this happens occasionally) however within a couple of hours each bite/bump on my arm had flared up into an angry red welt! These suddenly became extremely itchy. Reading this thread has made me wonder if it is possible that I was bitten at the camp (but did not react noticeably) then when my body endured the stress of the surgery/anesthesia the bites that I had received flared into noticeable bumps, remained that way for a week then, with the added immunological strain of the allergy injection the bites flared into full fledged itchy welts. I took benadryl and went to bed. This morning they were back to just being red bumps. Here are photos in case you are interested: http://s1143.photobucket.com/albums/n624/jsmith85249/Bites/
    (I forgot to mention I have since contacted the camp and they confirmed they have discovered a "light infestation" of BB in the room that I stayed in).
    Anyone have thoughts on this? Is it possible to be bitten, not have a reaction, have a delayed reaction that is mild, then a week later have those bumps turn into a very itchy reaction?
    Maybe I am just grasping at straws hoping that I was bitten at camp and not here at home. I have searched every inch of my bed and can not find any sign of BBs. Today I placed an order for the BB Alert Passive Monitors. I've been obsessively washing and drying all the bedding in the house and waking up at all hours of the night to check for BB with a flashlight. The panic I feel is almost overwhelming. Wondering if it could be possible to have been bitten during the three nights at camp and managed to not bring any critters home with me. I feel silly calling a PCO without finding any signs at all here at home. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  15. bugonbrain

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    Posted 8 years ago
    Sun Sep 18 2011 14:58:02
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    i have read about this concept of people becoming less sensitive to bed bug bites and did as much research as i could and i did find were Jeff White had written that he knew of no cases of someone becoming less sensitive or having a weaker reaction though he did point out that this was in no way based on any scientific finding but just from his experience, maybe he can weigh in here, i have read that if people are exposed to a lot of bites over time they can have a stronger reaction, though this is something maybe some experts can comment on since i myself have noticed little pinprick or pimple type reactions on my skin and read many people on here noticing the same, also my bites are now almost 50 days old and have still not healed i will be seeing a dermatologist though i don't know if she will be able to help, i'm quite frightened that it's been so long and they still flare up, is this normal and is there any info i can provide the dermatologist when i go, anybody go through anything similar or prescriptions that worked?, will these things ever clear up? any advice would be greatly appreciated, good news is no new bites resembling the original ones for almost 50 days, the bites i got when i was away for 2 days so i'm keeping my fingers crossed,


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