Mysterious Bites on 2 Year Old

My 2 year old started getting these red bites, 9 on one leg, 4 on the other, and 4 on one arm in a weeks time. We thought we noticed more on her legs after she woke up with more one day, from her crib. They look like flea or bedbug bites but no signs of bedbugs, I know you can see those with the naked eye. The dog hasn't been scratching, but she did recently start falling asleep on the dog's bed for a short nap. Mostly her upper body lays on the dog bed including her whole head which appears to be untouched, They are only on both legs & 1 arm at this point. We thought it was cute at first, even a picture, but could it be fleas causing these aweful looking bites even if the dog or cat are never scratching? And how serious could this be, since tomorrow is Sunday, doctors are closed so the ER would be my only choice until Monday. Basically, Can it wait utill Monday or not? Any help would be awesome! I don't know if I should buy a new mattress, get the dog to the vet or spray for spiders. PLEASE HELP!! THAT POOR THING

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RE: Mysterious Bites on 2 Year Old ()

I only have experience with bed bugs, not fleas, but I'll share what I know. While bed bugs are visible with the naked eye, they are very good at hiding, and they are nocturnal, so not having seen them definitely doesn't rule them out. As to where to look, they like living in walls and floorboards, and typically only move to the mattress when the infestation is so large as to force them to. You might look for small smudges of brown on your child's sheets, and also look at the pattern of the bites - bed bugs like to bite in lines. Bed bugs tend to only bite exposed skin, not under clothing, and they don't like crawling through hair or fur, so they tend to avoid dogs altogether. There are some traps you can put out to determine if you have bed bugs. The point isn't to catch all the bugs (because it won't), but to prove whether they are bedbugs: http://www.instructables.com/id/Easiest-Bed-Bug-Trap/

I don't believe bed bugs carry disease like other bugs, but they are certainly awful. Some people are allergic and some aren't, by the way, so you and your husband may be getting bit as well but not showing signs. My husband and I moved into an apartment with bed bugs and I was covered in bites that blistered, though my husband showed nothing. 

In the meantime, if it's looking like they are bedbugs, wash your daughter's bedding and pajamas, and, along with any stuffed animals or anything else that's been in her bed, dry on as high a heat as the fabric can withstand for at least 30 minutes. Bed bugs can't fly, only crawl, so move her bed away from the wall, make sure no bedding touches the floor, and get bed bug interceptors for the legs of the bed: https://www.amazon.com/ClimbUp%C2%AE-Interceptors-pack-passive-traps/dp/...

In-store bed bug sprays do not work, unfortunately. We had to go through an 8 week treatment regime with a pest control company, but after that, no more bed bugs.

Good luck.

RE: Mysterious Bites on 2 Year Old ()

Ugh. I feel your pain. The same exact thing happened to ME (not my kid!) a couple of months ago. I too was convinced we got bedbugs (hubby does tons of travel for biz, so I figured it's a matter of time...). I even called our pest control company (termites and ants), and had them come and look with me, including tearing apart my bedroom, and they found nothing. I have 2 cats/2 dogs. No one was itching. but I kept waking up with bites on my arms, legs and torso. Little red itchy ones.  First of all - no need for the ER, this can wait for your pediatrician unless a fever develops suddenly. If it's fleas, they generally don't carry diseases (unlike ticks) that humans can catch.  So here was my plan of attack, which so far has worked:

1. Change or introduce flea control products for your pets. Skip the natural ones, they don't work, sorry to say. Ask your vet what fleas in your area seem most susceptible to. Where I am, they said Bravecto, but I can't give that to any of my pets because most of them have stomach issues, allergies, etc., didn't want an oral med.  We were using Activyl, which was useless. So I went back to Frontline, and that seems to have helped a lot. It's just a couple of drops on their shoulder once a month.

2. I washed ALL bedding, pet and human, scrubbed down my whole house. I use a homemade fabric freshener, so I bumped up the more flea-repellent ingredients. Here's my recipe:  fill a spray bottle 1/2 vodka 1/2 filtered water. Add 15 drops peppermint oil + 10 drops pennyroyal oil + 5 drops lavender + 5 drops cinnamon oil.  I sprayed down all mattresses and rugs after cleaning, also all upholstered furniture.

3. Sounds crazy, but trust me, this next one helped too: I went to the pet store and bought a few old-school flea collars. I would never put these on my pets either, so I cut each one in half, and put each half somewhere fleas might like - under the mattress, under sofa cushions, under dog bed, etc.

You're not losing your mind, I thought I was going nuts because you're right - bedbugs leave telltale signs or you can see them at night. Flea larvae you can't see, and they can jump, too!  A couple of months later, I'm getting ready to switch out my cut-up flea collars, and I'm diligent about flea control on the pets. And if anyone says "Oh I would never put those chemicals on my pets!' Say what I say  - "Really? Because I love my pets, but I love the humans in the house more, WE get priority for disease prevention."  GOOD LUCK!

RE: Mysterious Bites on 2 Year Old ()

We had a suspected infestation of rat mites last year around this time. It might be worth it to check around your basement and attic, or set some traps. They often search out humans when their rat host has died, luckily they can't live without rats, so they go away when the rodents are eradicated. Also, interestingly they seem to like specific people (I was affected and my husband wasn't bitten at all). Just a thought!

RE: Mysterious Bites on 2 Year Old ()

Hi - I hate to say this sounds like it could be rat bite mites. You'll see some tales in the archives.  There have been a bunch of reports of problems in the past two months, according to the City of Berkeley Public Health guy Ernesto who came and inspected my place.  They itch like hell, and each bite takes over a week to go away.  I never could see the mites themselves to get them identified, but others with similar cases nearby at the same time did.  I had dozens and dozens of bites (they didn't bite my kids at all) and I only survived with antihistamine and hydrocortisone. I tried every folk remedy to get rid of them, but the official way is to get rid of the rats, and eventually my landlord did have work done to close up places they could get under the house.  After a few weeks of torture it went away, possibly just a natural life cycle of the mite.

If you know someone in science or medicine who wants to make a real contribution to society, suggest they study and publish on these pests, because it seems there's precious little useful research on how to repel them, interrupt their lifecycle, etc.  It was one of the most frustrating and miserable experiences I've ever had.

RE: Mysterious Bites on 2 Year Old ()

If there is anything under the crib, remove it and vacuum thoroughly.  Leave the space under the crib empty and make sure the room is fairly tidy, especially at floor level.  Give the room a good dusting before you vacuum.  Wash the sheets in hot water with some vinegar in it and put the bare mattress out to air in a sunny spot for several hours.  If you have a window in her room, check to see that it is functioning well -- tight seals when closed and intact screen for when open.  If you leave her window open sometimes, check to see what is outside near that window.  Clear away any vines, ivy, weeds, or other tangles and drain any standing water or muddy spots.  Hope that helps!

RE: Mysterious Bites on 2 Year Old ()

Dust mites! Dust and vacuum the room, wash all bedding including pillows, blankets, and mattress covers.

RE: Mysterious Bites on 2 Year Old ()

If there is no sign of bed bugs, this sounds like rat mites to me. My family also suffered from a similar problem several years ago, although only my husband and younger son got red, pimple-sized, itchy bites (perhaps they were allergic and other members of the family were not?) It is important to check your roof and basement for rats. Premier Pest Control was the company that finally took care of our problem after several tries with other small and large companies. They did not use any chemicals, only physical barriers to entrance. In the meantime, to minimize bites, wash bedding often in hot water, wipe around the bed and baseboard, have your daughter wear footed pajamas or tuck pajama bottoms into socks and if she has two-piece pajamas, tuck the shirt into the pants. We wore turtlenecks as well with a shirt over it and used herbal insect repellent on our wrists. My son's bites were so bad, the doctor gave us a prescription cream, which stopped the itching. The problem did go away, but it is very annoying while it lasts.