Can you guess what's biting me?
I've been getting a few extremely itchy red bumps, very much like mosquito bites, but they are not mosquito bites because they follow the pattern that chigger bites do: they're not on exposed parts of my skin, but instead under my clothing. It seems that something small is leaping onto me and then crawling until it finds itself confined by clothing, then settling down to bite. The bites aren't like chigger bites, though.
posted by artistic verisimilitude to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The bites are soft red bumps without any center or pustule. They itch fiercely for a couple of days, then become less itchy. They appear to turn into bruises before eventually fading away. The spots turn dark like a bruise and then yellow as they fade. If I immediately put Afterbite (an ammonia product sold for treatment of insect bites) on the bites, they itch and swell less, and go away more quickly. Neither oral antihistamines nor cortisone ointments help.
It's not delusional parasitosis, because I don't believe that there are bugs on me. I know the bugs probably do stick around for a while, because I sometimes get more bites, but I'm always surprised when I do. There are no fibers or dirt on the bites. I don't have itching except where there's a red spot. I almost never feel anything that seems like bugs crawling on me.
It's not fleas, because the bites are mostly not around my ankles, and the bites are not small hard spots like flea bites, and my two cats are not scratching and do not have any flea droppings on them. I apply Revolution to them monthly; it seems to do a good job for them on both fleas and ear mites.
I think it's not bedbugs, because there have been no spots on the sheets, and because of the pattern of bites under clothing. The bites mostly appear under my bra straps or my underwear. Bedbugs don't do that, do they? We have bedbug-proof covers on the mattresses and pillows, but only because I am allergic to dust mites.
Unlike chigger bites, these bites appear even if I have not gone outside off of the pavement for several days. Chigger bites appear only if I have been walking across a field during the day.
It's not a personal allergy to something like our unscented laundry detergent, because my husband has been getting a few of the same sort of bites, too, though not as many, and he doesn't seem to itch as much. The kids are not getting bitten at all, though.
We do sometimes hear something like rats in our attic, so I was wondering if it might be mites from them. However, the rats never come into our living quarters. There are no openings in the wall. We never find signs of rats or mice in our food. When we opened up the crawl space, we found a few pecans that had been brought inside by the rats to feed on from the tree outside. When my husband spent time up in the attic looking for a nest, he found nothing, and he did not get any bites on him then, so it's not an infestation of some sort of parasite coming down from the attic. There are no birds' nests adjacent to the house, though we know that doves and great-tailed grackles do nest in the trees in our yard.
Our cats do go outside and then come back in. One likes to roll in the same dust as the chicken that lives outside in the backyard. I've been covering both cats and chicken thoroughly with diatomaceous earth, with no apparent effect on whatever it is. There's no sign of mites or other pests on either cats or chicken, as far as I can tell. There are squirrels and doves in the back yard, and we occasionally see opossums. We live in a warm climate and have not had a single hard freeze this winter to kill the bugs outdoors.
I have seen and captured only four or five bugs in the several months that this has been bothering me. I don't know whether or not these are what's biting me. They are extremely tiny, less than half a millimeter in diameter, and move very fast, much faster than, say, an ant crawls. When I see them it is only because the motion has caught my eye, but I can't see anything that tiny unless the light is very bright. They seem to be round and to have a lot of legs. I've seen red ones and bluish-gray ones.
Judging from the appearance of those few sightings, I was thinking maybe they are bird mites, but a bird expert told me that bird mites do not like to get on people because their body temperature is lower than that of birds. Whatever this is must like getting on people.
Do you have any idea what might be biting me, and what I should do to get rid of them?