I need a cure for the heebie jeebies
May 30, 2016 9:26 AM   Subscribe

I was bitten a bunch on one leg by some bird mites about 10 days ago. The bird mites are gone but my brain still thinks I have bugs all over me. I'm scratching myself raw, help!

I stayed at my sister's for a week and got bitten by some bird mites. Her apartment building has a pigeon problem and my bed was right near the balcony door, where the pigeons love to hang out. For some reason the mites only attacked one leg. I could feel them crawling on me, but couldn't see them. It was an unpleasant experience!

When I got home I immediately washed all my clothes in hot water and dried them thoroughly in the dryer. For a couple of days I could still feel mites (or I was imagining feeling them) crawling on the bitten leg. The crawling feeling is gone, but I am still itchy as all hell and when I'm half asleep I scratch myself bloody. I'm itchy during the day but force myself not to scratch. It's maddening! Benedryl doesn't help, insect repellent with DEET doesn't help, hydrocortisone cream doesn't help. I'm pretty sure the itching is psychological, because I'm not getting new bites. How do I convince my brain that I am mite free?
posted by Stonkle to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
Old-fashioned calamine lotion, 100% cotton sheets, cool baths with 1/2 cup baking soda.
posted by Carol Anne at 9:46 AM on May 30, 2016

How long ago was the exposure? Bird mites inject saliva, so the itching might be more like a mosquito bite in terms for how long it takes to stop itching. My seasonal allergies come with lots of itchiness and falling-asleep time is when there's no distraction. If Benadryl doesn't work, can you try a different antihistamine? Benadryl and Claritin did nothing for me, but Pepcid AC, usually taken for reducing stomach acid, is a different class of histamine blocker and relieves my allergy itching.
posted by Fantods at 9:51 AM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hydrocortisone anti-itch cream 1% is the only thing that helped my mite bites. The itching lasted weeks.
posted by donaken at 10:42 AM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

I had a problem with rat mites (similar to bird mites) and it felt like my skin was crawling for months after the problems was resolved (we had a REALLY big problem - much different than yours). What I learned from the dermatologist is that mites are actually too small to really feel them crawling on your skin - that crawling sensation is all you - but that doesn't make it any less real or frustrating. But knowing that should help you know that the mites are gone, even if you are still itching.

In the end, I needed to go to the dermatologist to get a higher level cortisone cream than what is offered at the store. I also used Cerave Cream (not lotion) and it helped greatly. See a dermatologist asap to get the higher % cortisone cream and buy the Cerave Cream today. If you want more specifics, message me. Good luck!
posted by Toddles at 11:27 AM on May 30, 2016 [5 favorites]

Scratching in your sleep (or half asleep at night) will just make it worse. When I had some seriously bad "scratch myself bloody" itching I wore socks over my hands to bed for a while. Feels silly, but it helped.
posted by Gotanda at 3:38 PM on May 30, 2016 [1 favorite]

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