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very few bumps, probably not bed bugs but need help??

(2 posts)
  1. slblack

    Joined: Oct '13
    Posts: 1


    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Oct 15 2013 21:33:57

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    hi all,

    thanks for reading this topic even though it's probably not bed bugs. well, it might be. i have no idea.

    FULL DISCLOSURE: i have hypochondria. i'm not saying it in that blithe "oh lol i'm such a hypochondriac" way, i mean this is clinically recognized. so i know i'm very good at the "imagining symptoms that aren't actually happening" game, haha. i've been prone to believing i have bug infestations, especially ever since i had lice a few years ago. the point is, i know this is a problem i have, and i've been losing a lot of hours obsessing over what may be happening to me. i'm really over it and that's why i'm posting because i want other people's thoughts. but i can say that the bumps i am getting ARE REAL. i do have enough of my wits about me that i can ask people to look at symptoms i believe i'm having to make sure if they're real or not. people have seen the bites. i could post photos.

    so i have these bumps?? here's why the bumps are so hard for me to figure out.

    this all started in august. i had two bumps on my chest, very close together. i'd used an adhesive on my chest that day so i figured it was either a reaction to that or two mosquito bites. my friend who's pre-med made an offhand remark about two bumps very close together can indicate bed bugs or mites. omg, worst thing to say to me ever, haha. however, i'm 90% sure that the subsequent bumps i've been getting aren't from stress. they're too itchy.

    so, okay. august. then i got another bump on my arm. no big deal, it's august, i figure they're mosquitos. i have a total of three bumps now. they're really itchy. i scratch them a lot, then after a few days they turn dark red/purplish and flat and stop itching. the spots stay for awhile but they fade eventually.

    then september and october roll around and i'm still getting these bites and in upstate NY, mosquitos are long gone as far as i've seen, so now i'm really getting worried. then my dad started getting them, almost always on his upper legs. they were really itchy and would turn dark red and flat after scratching them for a few days. but then he stopped getting them; he hasn't had them in over a month.

    but the thing is... i never get more than three bumps at a time. i'll go a week or two without them, then one or two will appear, a third will join. in two/three months, i've never had more than three bumps at any time. a few times (the time on my chest, once on my arm, once at the underwear line, once on my hip), two bumps were really close together. then i'll get another one rather far away from it. it's always in different places, but usually around my torso and upper legs.

    my mom and i did an intensive search of my bed and bedroom last week and only found carpet beetle larvae.

    so here's my quandary: you'd think, sure, at first, having a couple of bites from bug bites makes sense. but after two or three months, you'd think i'd be getting more of them? and not so often in areas covered by clothing? (i've only had the bumps on my arm or neck one time each) BUT, in considering the possibility of carpet beetle contact dermatitis, you would think i'd have... a more extensive rash?? not three bumps that pop up every so often?

    seriously, if it wasn't october in upstate NY right now, i'd think they're mosquitos. but that's ridiculous.

    i've had a homemade co2 trap thing out for two nights and i've found nothing, but maybe it's not working because i'm still sleeping in my room? i don't know. but since i don't know what my bumps are, i just obsessively think they're bed bugs. i don't even know how i would've gotten them. i haven't traveled in ages, i don't go around a lot (if i leave my house it's to go to the very exciting barnes & noble or the mall or the grocery store, haha). i've even considered that maybe i have some kind of mild MRSA but it seems even mild cases look worse than my bumps.

    i'm just so upset and stressed out and it's triggering my mental illnesses so badly and i just want to figure out what it is. even though they may not be/are probably not bed bugs, it seems like you all are nice and willing to answer questions about mystery bites/bumps, so i thought i'd try here. thanks for listening.

    -- S.L.

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Joined: Mar '07
    Posts: 22,255


    Posted 5 years ago
    Tue Oct 15 2013 23:44:02

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    I am in NYC and right now I have mosquitos in my home, as we do periodically. I must have 4-5 bites at least, and yes, I know it's mosquitos because I have actually seen them, heard them, and killed a few. It's possible to have them indoors even if it's cool -- in fact, we also had some last January, which perhaps is kind of like Upstate in mid-October? Just putting that out there.

    Anyway, mosquitos and carpet beetles are a possibility. Contact dermatitis too.

    It wouldn't matter what your skin reactions look like, no one here could tell you if they were from bed bugs. Tell your pre-med friend that even dermatologists can't diagnose bed bug bites. No one can. There are just too many other possible causes. The idea that bed bugs bite in a line is not exactly true-- they can, or not. And other things can cause two bumps side by side too.

    Assuming your CO2 trap is of a design that actually works, 2 days is not enough time to catch bed bugs, especially in what would be a very light bed bug problem.

    Now, I think you probably don't have bed bugs, but if you're going to monitor for them and try and rule it out, you want to make sure the monitor is one which works, and you have to run it long enough to catch bed bugs. Remember an active monitor (such as a C02 based one) is competing with live humans, and live humans will always be more attractive to the bugs, so it would take a little time.

    I seem to recall David James recommends running his Bed Bug Beacon C02 monitors (link to FAQ) for at least two cycles -- of 5-6 days each -- before stopping. Consider that in a very low-level infestation (one or maybe two bed bugs), if each bed bug is biting once a week, you could run a CO2 monitor without catching them even if you ran it a few weeks, if they bit you instead.

    Another option is to get an inexpensive passive monitor in place (FAQ on bed bug monitors), install it properly, and check it weekly. This should give you peace of mind. Resist checking more often, even if you get the urge.

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

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