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Don't let the bedbugs bite.

2007-09-24 - 11:39 a.m.

Iíve written before about how surprised I am every spring that I seem to have seasonal allergies. With the major attack I had of those two springs ago, it seems to have finally gotten through to me, and I am no longer surprised when I feel like a checklist for a Claritin commercial in the spring.

Now is the time to start accepting my fall problemÖ

I seem to get mysterious insect bites every fall that itch like a mofo, yet I havenít actually been able to find any insects that would be biting me. I havenít seen mosquitoes around and, frankly, mosquito bites usually only itch for a day or two and these itch for days and days. Iíve also looked for other, obvious culprits such as fleas Ė because flea bites tend to be in clusters and itch for a long time, which perfectly describes these Ė but again, I havenít been able to find a single one and if they were there surely someone else would get bitten? I think I get bitten at night (though Iíd swear that several have popped up during the day, and at least once on an area covered by clothing to boot) and J is right there: could I really be that much more tasty than him?

To be clear, I am the only one to get them; no one else seems to be getting bitten. No one around me gets these itchy bumps, including my husband who shares a bed with me.

To me, there are several factors that Iíd say seem to point to a mysterious allergic reaction: in addition to the fact that I canít actually find any bugs snacking on me, most notable is the fact that this phenomenon is cyclical and only seems to come on in the fall, not at any other time of the year.

However, the itchy bumps arenít spread out like a rash Ė which is what Iíd expect from an allergic reaction Ė and instead are clustered and usually only on my lower half. I have one set of two just over my right hip, but the rest are all on my legs and ankles.

WTF?

To be honest, what Iím most reminded of are sand fleas: you know, those no-see-ums that get you at the beach but you canít even see theyíre so tiny? Maybe thereís something like that that lives in Canada and are only active in the fall? Maybe weíre all getting bitten in my household but Iím the only one that has a reaction?

The first year this happened to me I saw a doctor about it but she couldnít tell if it was a rash, bug bites, a fungus, or what. To cover the bases she had me use an anti-fungal cream and to use lindane shampoo for lice. (Donít you just want to be my friend now?) But she wasnít convinced it was either of these things, given the mixed-message symptoms and, indeed, nothing worked to stop it until it just petered out a week or two after it began. Since then Iíve had this happen to me on most falls. And just like my spring hayfever, some episodes have been more severe than others. This year is probably the worst itís been since that first time about 6 or 7 years ago, though itís not as bad as that.

Still, itíd be nice to find out whatís causing it. Iíve never even heard of anyone else experiencing this (though a google search turns up hits on bedbugs, chiggers, and something called an ďitch miteĒ Ė gory but fortunately not quite fitting my symptoms in terms of bite placement and the cyclical nature of the problem).

At least itíll be over in a week or so.

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