What is biting our kid?
September 5, 2013 2:23 AM   Subscribe

Sometimes, usually after a nap, we find something that looks like insect bites on our kid's exposed skin. I tried looking at various insect bites pictures, but can't find a match. Do you happen to know what causes this

I think it's not mosquitos, the usual culprit. Doesn't look like bedbugs. We do have several small flies that are similar to fruit flies and like to hang around our plants but we haven't noticed any problems with them in the past 4+ years. There are also occasional spiders and various bug fauna coming through open windows and cracks in the walls or wherever these things like to live.
The kid doesn't seem to be bothered by the bites and they fade away within an hour or two. (I'd be going nuclear otherwise.)
We live in a 30 year old appt building in continental Europe. We have wooden floors which we vacuum or mop and we wash the kid's bedsheets at the highest temperature setting regularly.
posted by gakiko to Health & Fitness (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It looks like an average spider bite to me. Maybe you could webcam the kid during sleeptime and see for sure...
posted by cairdeas at 2:50 AM on September 5, 2013

Could be mite bites, living in the mattress/bed, which would correlate to having the bites after napping. You can get mattress cases and pillow covers which contain the mites and actually work quite well.
posted by barnone at 2:52 AM on September 5, 2013

are there slightly raised bumps? since they go away afer a bit, could they be hives?
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:42 AM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

He might be allergic to something, too. Maybe shampoo or the detergent you use for the sheets?
posted by empath at 4:18 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

I have a dog allergy, and that actually looks exactly like the hives I'd get anywhere my dog licked me. (I have since acclimated to my dog and am no longer allergic to his saliva.) I'd get little raised bumps that looked like bug bites, but they didn't itch, and then they'd go away after about 30 mins to an hour.

So my guess would be that the kiddo is having a mild allergic reaction to something. Detergent, as empath suggests, seems a likely culprit.
posted by phunniemee at 4:40 AM on September 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Are you breast feeding? Is this after a nap? Is it possible that your baby is having a reaction to what you are eating and passing it to the baby through breast milk? I had given my daughter all sorts of red bumps and when I gave her water, it helped make it go away quickly. When I stopped breast feeding and she stopped having the hives. I only breast fed less than a month because of that.
posted by Yellow at 5:15 AM on September 5, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers so far! I'm breast feeding, but he gets little pimples around his mouth when he doesn't like whatever I've been eating. This was on the back of his neck (and it looks different from the food-related pimples.) I also doubt it's the detergent, because in that case, he'd have hives under his clothes too, because we use the same detergent for everything. (Also, no shampoo or other cosmetics, just water and occasionally baby soap.) We've noticed these bites on his hands and legs before (when he was wearing summer clothes), sometimes on his forehead.
I googled images of mite bites (not for the faint of heart), and it might be that, except it doesn't look as severe as in those pictures. It's like a little red area with a white, raised spot in the center.
I'm washing his sheets and cleaning the floors again, just in case.
posted by gakiko at 5:48 AM on September 5, 2013

There could be something that the sheets or mattress are made of that trigger an allergic reaction (latex for example). Does he sweat a lot and/or does he get really hot while he naps? Sweat/overheating can sometimes cause hives. It could also be any other random immune system response (mild virus, etc), some people are just more prone to hives.
posted by melissasaurus at 6:10 AM on September 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Sweat/overheating can sometimes cause hives.

Yeah, if he's lying on his back when he naps, this could just be a little heat rash. Especially because you say it goes away after an hour or two. Bites don't do that.

Your kid looks pretty young in that photo. Baby's skin is sensitive and will redden at the slightest provocation. My 8mo son sweats like crazy when he sleeps, and sometimes wakes up a little splotchy. It's not a big deal.
posted by grog at 6:54 AM on September 5, 2013

My first thought was heat rash, too. It also could be the start of excema. It's hard to see in the photo, but those were my first thoughts, not bug bites.
posted by ravioli at 7:24 AM on September 5, 2013

It looks like heat rash to me too, my 13 month old sweats in her sleep and sometimes gets heat rash on the back of her head and the small of her back. A fan on low circulating air is how we deal with it. Not pointed directly at her, but just situated to get the air flowing.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 7:51 AM on September 5, 2013

Looks like hives to me as well, especially since they fade after an hour or so. Babies are sweaty little beasts when they're sleeping, and my son occasionally gets these after a long nap, usually on his forehead or chest.
posted by saturnine at 8:53 AM on September 5, 2013

Heat rash or eczema.
posted by Doohickie at 10:54 AM on September 5, 2013

Heat rash/allergy. Make sure his bedding and clothing all 100% cotton and try washing the bedding in Ivory Snow/Dreft with a second rinse.
posted by saradarlin at 5:55 PM on September 5, 2013

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