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Suffering from bug bites on back and scalp. Noticed tiny black specks. Help?

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Practicing since : 2006
Answered : 2016 Questions
My best girlfriend who retired to Florida 8 years ago with her husband comes to vit me and sleeps in a guest room /computer room for a few weeks every year. I bought the matress and bed supposedly brand new (3 years ago purchase) but this year she suffered from spme kind of bug bites that looked like flat mosquito bites on her bck and scalp. My dog is 1and a half years old and used to put his front legs on top of the quilt to get her ouf bed when I called her. Then she and I saw tiny black specks on the bottom sheet which she said she sqw hopped. I treat my dog with frontline plus faithfully and he does not scratch himself at all. Could these specks if they were alive have been brought in on his feet because we hd abpout 4 days of rain and he may have gotten mud on them. I alwaqys wipee his feet whether it rains or not. I a now dipping his feet in lukewarm water to get any mud or bugs off of him.
He took a liking to her an is so smart that he wanted to help me wqak her up in the morning When she sad w and showed me the black dots that looked like tiny black coffee granules both she nd I became terrified and she immediately went back to Florida I livein new Jersey. There is one mystery:She complained to me on the phone from Florida about being allegic to many different medications except Tylenol. She said her scalp was broken out and she had rashes over her body here and there. Now she is blaming me and my dog though no one has slept in that twin bed for a whole year, and I put boxes of folders and reams of computer paper on top of the bedspreadall year. My cpmputer is right next the bed. Doctors, do you think the bed is infested with some type of flea or worse or could she have had the rashes before she cme to visit me? This incident has almost ruined our friendship.
I forgot to tell you that I took abput 5 of these black specks to Veterinarian's office and the vet technicians looked under the microscope and said they were only pieces of lint. I wS THINKINNG THAT BECAUSE THEY HAD BEEN IN A PLASTIC ZIPLOC BAG ON QTIPS which I think had killed them that perhaps they shriveled up from dehydration due to my accidentally killing them by pressing too hard with the q-tips. Please help me. Please give me your diagnosis. by the way I am not itching but the dog sometimes bites his feet. I get him progessionally flea and tick shampood and groomed and toenals cut once every 2 months in the summer. I would appreciate and desperately need your diagnoses. Thank you in advance. I am desperate. Should I throw away the mattress??
Posted Fri, 12 Jul 2013 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Kalpana Pathak 37 minutes later
Thanks for writing to us.
From the description it seems, she reportedly suffered from bed bug bite. It can present as itchy red spots over exposed area of body.Adult Bed bugs are minute brown black insects that can be found on the seams of mattresses. The eggs are translucent white in color. These are usually nocturnal and bite usually between 10 pm to 6 am time. You may do a careful searching for the same
Your mattress might have got bed bug infested either through your dog or through a person. There is no need to throw the mattress, keep it in sunlight for few hours and contact a pest control provider to get the bugs killed by using malathion or pyrethroid based spray.
As far as your friend is concerned, a simple application of calamine lotion and steroid cream with oral antihistamine like cetirizine should help her.
A simple bed bug bite can't jeopardise true friendship.
Instead of blaming you, she should seek a doctor's advise for diagnosis and treatment.

Hope that answered your query.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suffering from bug bites on back and scalp. Noticed tiny black specks. Help? 5 hours later
Dear Dr. Kalpana Pathak,

Thank you so much fop answering my question so quickly, but now I wonder 2 things: Would setting off a second Raid Bug Fogger also kill the eggs hiding in the seams of the plastic mattress cover and why do I not also have any bites at all nor any in my hair? It will not sleep in the bigger bedroom and my dog sleeps every night on the floor next to me. I would have loved for him to sleep on the bed with me but would not the chance since I have asthma to pollen and absolutely life threatening allergies to cats. Since they seem to be only on that all mattress do you think I should hire a professional exterminator which would be very hard for me to afford? Doctor do you think spraying the mattress seams with a pyrethrin or malathion spray which I already bought 3 cans of I felt like in a nightmare aftersheleftto go back to Florida would kill the eggs or do they have very hard resistant eggshells. If I do not get a professional am I in bad danger of my whole house getting infested,God forbid!!???
I still your advice on these 2 new questions. Thank you in advance, YYYY@YYYY

Answered by Dr. Kalpana Pathak 19 hours later
Thanks for writing back.
You can remove bed bugs and eggs by using steam, vaccuming the mattress, laundering and then drying it in hot dryer. Once these procedures have been done, encase the mattress in a mattress cover. Also make it a point to launder and dry all bed sheets, blankets and linens. The room should be treated completely including all furniture a, carpets, curtains etc.. Malathion sprays can only be used if it is mentioned on spray can that it is safe to be used over mattress to kill bed bug because any residual spray that remains can be harmful to a person sleeping on the mattress. Clean the room first and do look for bed bugs in other rooms too. If other rooms seem to be infested then you may contact pest control people.
You could have contracted the infection only if you too slept on the same mattress. If you slept on the mattress without any problem then probably your mattress is it infested!
Hope that answered your query.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Suffering from bug bites on back and scalp. Noticed tiny black specks. Help? 2 hours later
Thank you for answering me again, Dr. Pathak!

How would I ever be able to launder the entire mattresss in question. It does not fit into my washing machine or clothes dryer. I only have a hair dryer which I could use on Hottest setting, but could only hand wash the mattress. I am of low income and would have to save up for an exterminator and a new mattress. I would not want to harm my girlfriend with malathion on the same mattress. By the time I saved up enough money the little "buggers" would have spread to rest of house. I always keep the door to that room closed except to use this computer.
According to the rules of my $18.00 debit card payment I am only allowed 3 questions and I believe this was the last one allowed for $18.00. I would appreciate your answering me again. My girlfriend called last night and says that she washes her hair with NIX Shampoo every night but the fumes are causing very bad burning in her eyes. Let us help her. Thank you for your kindness.
Answered by Dr. Kalpana Pathak 19 hours later
You can just vacuum clean the whole room and put your mattress in strong sunlight at least for few hours. Later on encase it in a cover. Try to clean the whole room. You may use malathion spray over carpets etc.
Nix shampoo is a permethrin shampoo which is used to kill nits and lice in hair. Regular use of the same is not required. It can be used just once to kill hair lice and may be repeated once again after a gap of a week or 10 days. If she is having any problem with the same. She should stop its use. Hair lice too can cause bites in scalp and nape of neck. If she had hair lice before she visited you, her bites could be hair lice induced too. If she is using this shampoo to treat bed bug bite, its of no use. The lesions would subside on their own.
Hope that helped.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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