I'm itchy at night. I'm worried that my apartment is infested with some sort of parasite. I'm moving in the next few days. How should I proceed?
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure if I have bed bugs, rat mites, bird mites, scabies, contact dermatitis, or delusional parasitosis, but I get itchy at night, occasionally with a few small, pea sized bumps. I don't know if the bumps are an actual bite, or just hives from me scratching. I seem to get this whenever I lay down in my bed. It's been happening over the past two years. Often enough that I've been paranoid about it. It doesn't seem to happen in other parts of my apartment.
My apartment complex has definitely had bed bugs in the past. There is an entry on bedbugregistry for my apartment complex from 1-2 years ago stating that there were was an infestation in the B building -- I live in the D building. Naturally, this has made me incredibly paranoid, and I've been constantly searching for signs of bed bugs.
I've done a ton of reading at bedbugger.com over the past year, so I know what signs to look for. I haven't seen any cast skins, or live or dead bed bugs. I've only had small, brown-red stains on my sheets, indicative of a crushed bed bug. I've seen a stain maybe two times in two years, so it's possible that it's just my boogers or earwax or something. I've seen no fecal matter (smears or pellets). All I've noticed is a large amount of black fuzz/lint, probably because I've been looking over my sheets so thoroughly.
I know bed bugs can be notoriously difficult to pinpoint. But I feel like I should have seen something in the past two years. I work very odd hours, coming home to sleep at all hours of the day or night, and haven't seen a thing. This is with me doing a paranoid look-over of my mattress and sheets, waking up in the middle of the night and looking for any bugs, etc. Not a thing.
Also, my bites aren't the red welts I see in most bed bug bite photos. (I know that people react differently, some not at all. This just makes it more confusing.) And I often get itchy before I fall asleep, with no bugs to be seen. This makes me think that perhaps its something else?
I don't think its scabies, because the itching isn't crazy intense and insatiable. It's more of a dull itch, and it does go away after some time. I haven't seen any "burrows" on my skin, either. Could it be rat mites or bird mites?
My apartment is actually half below ground level, and the windows are very old, so I'm sure lots of dirt, dust, and bugs gets in. There's probably been some mold problems in this complex, too. Or it might just be my paranoia making me hypersensitive to normal itches.
In any case, my lease is up, and I'm moving in the next few days. I know that these parasites suck ass and can move with you, so I don't want to be the jerk and infest my new apartment building. What should I do to ensure that I don't take whatever this is with me?
I'm already tossing out a large portion of my furniture (sofa, loveseat, dresser, etc.). They're all old, and I was planning on replacing them when I moved, anyway. But my mattress is fairly new, so it'd suck to toss it out for nothing. The uncertainty is the worst part -- if I actually saw conclusive evidence of bed bugs, I'd burn it in a heartbeat.
As of right now, the mattress will be the last thing I move. I'll do a thorough inspection of it and my bedroom, maybe buy a steam cleaner and go over it. If I see any bugs, it's getting tossed out. I'll be laundering all of my clothes. Am I just overly paranoid? Should I not take any chances and toss out the mattress by default? Should I see if I can quickly get a PCO to verify if anything is even there? What if its some kind of mites?