About a month ago I started to get bitten during the night, or so I thought. I was getting what looked liked bites mostly around my stomach, and a few on my upper arms, lower legs and breasts. I started doing some research and wondered if it might be bed bugs. However, a bed bug pest control company has advised me that they think it may be an allergy to dust mites or something else, based on the following information
- a passive monitor has not found evidence of bed bugs after a week
- an active monitor has not found evidence of bed bugs after 2 nights (homemade CO2 monitor)
- the bites are mostly around my stomach area and I was told this is unusual for bed bugs
- the number of bites I have got 100-150 over a few weeks (8-10 a night at first, then 1-3 a night after laundretting the duvet, spraying bed bug spray and removing a pile of clean clothes and rucksacks from by the bed) indicated to him that the amount of bed bug fecal material would be large enough to see by now - and I've searched the room (cream sheets, pale pine bed, pale-ish carpet, cream walls and skirting boards) and not found any
- I've not seen any bugs, bug skin sheddings, eggs or feaces, and have only seen two very minor blood spots on the bed where I had scratched a bite
His view was that it's a reaction to dust mite bites - but dust mites don't bite! Can a reaction to dust mites still look like bites? and last as long as that to die down (bites still visible after a couple of weeks)?
I've been advised to cling film wrap my mattress for a couple of nights, soak my bedding in white wine vinegar and water for a couple of hours to remove traces of detergent (in case that's the allergy problem), and then wash it without detergent, and see if I then get no new "bites" over those nights.
Added to this, I've also had what appears to be prickly heat rash across the top of my chest and arms. I strongly beleive this is prickly heat as I've had it before and it coincided with a few days of heat wave we had over the weekend.
So I'd like to know
- can a dust mite reaction look and act like an insect bite?
- do the suggestions above seem reasonable to test if it's dust mites?
- what other possibilities are there? (I'm fairly sure I can rule out scabies as I had this at uni so I think I could tell if it was that again, and my partner who shares the same bed is not having any skin reactions)
I forgot to mention I'm also getting small slightly painful lumps in my lymphnodes under my arms, suggesting a reaction to something, which could be consistant with an allergy, or a virus, or a bite. I started getting these before the bites (coinciding with weeks and weeks of headaches) and they've continued. Also as part of the investigation into the headaches (which went away on their own), I had a slightly elevated c-reactive protein level, but normal white blood cell count. Not sure if this is relevant but possibly.
I live in the UK - we dont have specialists that we can see directly, we have to be referred from a doctor, who would assume they knew the cause (without being an expert) and diagnosis it, probably incorrectly.
Besides, I dont want "something for the bites" I want to find out what's causing them and stop it!
From the symptoms it does not sound like allergic reaction to dust mites as it causes red skin mimicking dermatitis. It can be prickly heat or pityriasis rosea. Pityriasis rosea is a common human skin disease which presents as numerous patches of pink or red oval rash. The rash may be accompanied by low-grade headache, fever, nausea and fatigue and itching. Topical and oral steroids are needed. Water, sweat, and soap may cause irritation and should be avoided in the disease. Topical zinc oxide and calamine lotion are useful for pruritus.
Please discuss this possibility with your dermatologist.
I hope it helps. Take care and regards.
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