Sunday, January 29, 2017

Itchy Bug Bites - And Things That Look Like Bug Bites

itchy bug bites
There are few things more maddening than the itch resulting from the bite of certain insects and mites. So it is a good thing that there are only a small number of insects and mites that actually bite people.

However, if you are being affected by what you believe are bug bites but are not sure what is causing your discomfort check the list of "known biters" below. Click the links for ways to identify and then manage each of these common pests.

Then, if none of these seem right check out some of the other causes of skin lesions that can look a lot like bug bites.
  • bird mites (aka nest mites, rodent mites) - many people believe they or their homes are infested with these mites. They are actually much less common than people think.

What if your bug is not on this list?

If none of these bugs are found then maybe something else is causing the "bites". Many things can mimic bug bites and cause very similar skin lesions. Red, swollen, and itchy are the usual symptoms. Physical irritants such as fibreglass insulation and a variety of allergies (food, contact, respiratory) are the most common.

Another factor that can be important is any prior experience with a biting pest that you might have had. For example, recently I was contacted by someone that a year before had been bitten by bed bugs in a motel. Needless to say this encounter was both dramatic and traumatizing. Now, a year later, they have developed a rash, probably caused by an allergy to mold, but because of the earlier experience they are convinced that bed bugs are causing the "bites". No evidence of bed bugs are ever found in this case. The lesson is - ours brains are sometimes very good at fooling us into believing things that just are not true!

If you are searching for the cause of "mysterious bites" first eliminate the obvious things from the list above but then start thinking about some other possibilities like allergies and irritants.

Finally, and perhaps most important, our level of anxiety can greatly influence how we see and react to the world. In the example above, the person was extremely anxious because of their previous encounter with bed bugs. Combined with the appearance of a skin rash that looked a little like the old bed bug bites it is not hard to understand how they jumped to the conclusion that bed bugs were the culprit!

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