What Is Biting me?
An unexplained rash, itch and bug bite can totally upset a persons life an consume their every thought. This problem can be extremely hard to identify and remedy. This article examines possible causes, symptoms and hopefully solutions.
Mosquitoes: Most will be a round and puffy bump that may become red and swollen. You may feel the actual bite happening and the reaction directly after. Since mosquitoes fly these bites can be anywhere on the body.Fleas: Itchy red bump with a possible small area of red surrounding the bite. Bites usually occur from the feet to the lower legs because because fleas jump from ground level to about the knee.
Ticks: A large red bump with inflamed skin surrounding the bump. There may be pain and swelling, a rash or a burning sensation. Ticks feed very slowly and may be attached to the skin for 24 hours. As the the tick fills its with blood they will increase in size by several times. Sometimes the red bump will have a red bullseye shape surrounding the bump, this could be an indication of lyme. If you see this, seek medical attention immediately.Bed Bugs: A red swollen bump with a slightly darker red center. May be accompanied with a hive like reaction. Bites may be in a line or just one. Do not focus on bites of 3 as this can occur with other pests. Bites of 3 from bed bugs may happen when a person moves in their sleeps disturbing the bed bug which will pull off for a few seconds and then resume feeding when the person settles down. Generally you will not feel the bite as it happens and the itch won't occur till hours later.
Lice: Head lice is accompanied by severe scalp itchiness. Red bumps and hive like symptoms may be present on the back of the neck or other areas at the hair line. Lice is a medical issue and must be identified and treated by a physician.Mites: Bites from bird mites or rat mites can cause red bumps and hive like symptoms. These can be extremely itchy.
Scabies: A scaly pimply rash with tiny blisters. There may be the presence of raised flesh tones lines. This can occur on any part of the skin. Scabies is a medical issue and must be identified and treated by a physician.
Fire Ants: Multiple swollen red spots accompanied with a blister. These bites can be extremely itchy and painful.
Spiders: Most common spider bites will leave a small red bump that may be slightly painful and itchy. Others can be quit serious such as the black widow bite or the brown recluse bite. These bites may show 2 puncture marks from the spiders fangs. They can cause pain, swelling and a severe rash. A big ulcer may appear with a deep ulcer underneath. This is extremely serious and a trip to the doctor should happen immediately.
Chiggers: May appear as welts, close together pimples and hives. These will be in groups in areas where clothes are tight like the waist or in foods of skin.Centipedes: A painful red mark with some swelling is typical.
Can Bug Bites be identified? Is their another cause for bug bite symptoms?
If I have learned anything in my 30 years of Pest Control experience it is that bug bites are often identified improperly and yet with certainty. This can lead to an unnecessary treatment and expense. A Pest Control Company should not treat for any Pest without a proper diagnosis of the target Pest.Most people focus on 1 or 2 possibilities and it is often very hard to get them to explore other options. It must be noted that every person will react differently to to each bite. Some people do not react at all to a bite of any kind while others can react severely. Skin pigmentation may cause a bite to look different. So may soft or dry skin. The bite appearance may also change from scratching.One of my favorite sayings is “A red bump is a red bump and they all look similar”. It is my belief that in most situations a pest cannot be identified by a bite. Unless the area is caused by a human parasites that actually lives on the skin or under the skin a Doctor or at the least a General Practitioner cannot identify a pest by a bite and neither can a Pest Control Technician.
What do insect bites look like?
There are literally hundreds of non-insect agents capable of causing itching and irritation. Household products are involved far more often than are pests and may cause skin reactions similar to insect bites. The are other factors that may cause bug like marks and symptoms. All of these factors and must be explored before repeated insect spraying occurs. Changes in medication, diet, household products or toiletries that come in contact directly or indirectly to the skin. These products may be the same brands that have always been used but with out your knowledge the ingredients, fillers or additives may have been changed by the manufacturer. As a person ages allergies that have you have never had may develop. Changes in environment or stress levels may be a cause as well. Below is a list of some possible culprits
Any of these products may not even be used by the affected person but possibly by someone not affected but by someone in close proximity like a spouse.
Cold water vaporizers
Dust and dander
Airborne fragments of dust mite shed skins and feces
Static electricity. Static charges can cause small shocks or a crawling sensations and will attach many different airborne fibers to the skin.
Chemicals in carbonless paper and photocopiers
Some types of clothing, particularly those which contain fire retardantsInsulation fibers
Dry air or changes in temperature may make the skin more sensitive.
Renovations with new paint, wall or floor coverings. solvents/resins associated formaldehyde such as particle board, wall and floor coverings)Volatiles from asphalt or tar installation
Some Health-Related Conditions that can cause bug bite symptoms:
PregnancySome communicable diseases such as chicken poxStressDiabetes, liver, or kidney disordersFood allergiesInsect phobias or delusory parasitosis which is a more serious emotional disorder characterized by an unfounded, yet unshakable, belief that live insects are present in the skin. Sometimes an initial and real insect infestation precedes and triggers the delusion.
What can be done to eliminate causes of bug bite symptoms?
Vacuum with a HEPA filtered vacuum. Include floors, rugs, furniture and behind furniture. It is important to prevent the vacuum from introducing more airborne particles into the air. Vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters are most effective in preventing recirculation of allergens. Vacuuming regularly with an unfiltered vacuum can actually exacerbate the problem by constantly introducing allergens into the air. Dust thoroughly using a damp rag. Clean office equipment, such as paper shredders, printers and exhaust fans of computers frequently. Wash all bedding including sheets, blankets, comforters, afghans, dust covers and mattress pads. Beat, vacuum and use an upholstery cleaner on mattresses. Change or clean air filters in air handling units frequently.Replace standard fiberglass filters with electrostatic filters. Experiment with discontinuing use of any new household products such as laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap, air fresheners and cleaning products.Experiment with discontinuing use of any new cosmetics, perfumes, bath soaps, deodorants and other personal care products. Reduce mold and mildew problems by installing a vapor barrier and vents in crawl spaces and basements.Install a dehumidifier in damp rooms and basements. Correct plumbing leaks or condensation problems. Have pets checked by a veterinarian for possible mite or scabies infestations. Eliminate rodent or bird infestations with the help of a pest control professional. Wipe down desktops, tables, counters, baseboards and all surfaces with a damp cloth. Clean and vacuum behind all beds and furniture.Consult with your pharmacist about possible adverse reactions to “new” medications. Talk to a dermatologist to discuss the skin irritation and any products, rather than a pest that may cause the irritation. Consult with your doctor about undiagnosed medical conditions that might cause skin reactions. Talk to an allergist to test for any possible allergies. Talk to a dietician about foods that can cause allergic reactions. Do research on the active ingredients in all household cleaning products, personal hygiene products, clothing, vacuums and filters. Consider replacing your old attic insulation. Consult with your doctor about undiagnosed medical conditions that might cause skin reactions. Consult with a pest control professional or Board Certified Entomologist concerning identification of suspected insect or mite infestations. Collect any suspected insects or mites with a peace of clear tape. Contact your local college entomology department for identification. Eliminate roach and rodent infestations. Inspect the exterior and attic for bird nests, bat guano and rodent droppings.
Most of the calls I receive for unexplained bites cannot be identified by a Pest Control Company and this includes me. At most in these situation I can only educate the affected person about other possibilities. Everything I can teach about this subject is in this article. I hope it helps.