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Child has pimple-like bumps near collar bone. Is it typical for bed bug bites to remain so long?

I am a twenty-three-year-old female college student and mother of a three-year-old girl. We are both physically fit; I am five feet and eight inches tall weighing around 135-140 pounds and my daughter is height-weight proportionate, albeit a little taller than the majority of three and four-year-olds we encounter. We recently returned from a three week vacation in Dixmont, Maine which is about 25-30 minutes from Bangor. Within a day or so into our stay, both my daughter and I started to notice we were getting a lot of bug bites, especially upon waking up (we slept in the same bed). Hailing from the desert of Phoenix, Arizona I didn t really initially give the culprits behind the bites much thought, chalking them up to either mosquitoes or black flies, as there was an abundance of each as soon as you walk out the door. I did begin to find it odd that except for one or two instances, I hadn t even caught a mosquito or black fly landing on me, yet alone biting me to my knowledge but assumed a mosquito was probably in the room we were staying in. After a week into the trip, however, my daughter started to become congested and developed what seems to have been the common cold; coughing, tiring more easily, becoming uncharacteristically cranky and all out miserable. She remained as such in two to three day spurts for the remainder of our stay, and having been home for about a week and a half, is carrying on in this fashion. Around the end of our first week in Maine, my daughter s grandmother pointed out a strange mark on her upper chest/lower neck area, lying just below her right collar bone. It was about a half to three quarters of an inch long and about a fourth of an inch tall; it was red in color and resembled a strawberry -like rash pattern. We kept a close eye on it the remainder of the time, and after about 4 or 5 days it no longer looked like a rash. Instead it appeared to be almost like three small pimples with a bit of white on top. It seemed to have almost completely subsided by the time we were to return home about two weeks after it initially occurred. We have since been back in Phoenix about 12 days and the little raised bumps again resemble pimples, and one has a smidge of yellowish tinted stuff on the head of the pimple-like blemish and the other two have white headed bumps. They do not appear to have gotten any smaller in this time period. I now suspect the bumps and bug bites we accrued while in Maine are actually bed bug bites. While there, I amassed quite the collection of bug bites, the majority of which were on my legs followed by my back. About a half of a day to a day after I would initially receive a bite, it would then swell to a large size and become extremely swollen and itchy. My daughter, however, did not experience any swelling at the sites of her bites, leading me to the initial conclusion that I must be a bit more sensitive (perhaps allergic) to the giant mosquitoes or black flies, neither of which are similar to the insects native to Phoenix. One night in particular resulted in many bug bites, although we had spent the majority of the day outside, so again the bites didn t really raise that big of alarm upon their appearance. The majority of the bites on that particular day or night were almost all concentrated around my left knee-cap; about 10-12 new bites formed a ring almost completely around my knee. My legs received the brunt of the bites throughout the three week period we were in Maine, during which none of the bites seemed to heal quickly as other ant bites and mosquitoes I have encountered in Arizona typically have done in the past. In fact, many of them are healed over (wherever the bite-hole was) yet have all scarred and in a purple-ly color which doesn t match with the other scars that I have accumulated here or there over time. What brings me to the conclusion that I believe the bites were symptomatic to bed big bites, along with the circumstantial evidence above, is the sudden appearance of bug bites on my legs, arms, back, neck, butt, and elsewhere that have begun cropping up after a night s rest in my own bed - something that has never happened before in my own bed (have I ever received a bite here and there throughout time? - yes, but multiple bites on a nightly basis at this multitude). The bites did not start appearing the first few nights my daughter and I were home. It wasn t until last night (more than a whole week since we returned and slept in my bed) that the night-bites started up again. It was at this point that I had to face this stark reality - I had brought bed bugs to my house from vacation. Panicking upon this revelation, I began to search for information about bed bug bites and confirmed my suspicion. Although I cannot be certain, as I have not seen any of the nasty vermin in or near my bed, the common symptoms attributed to bed bug bites matched the symptoms of both my daughter and I. Each area in which a bite occurs, there is redness and swelling around it, the bites seem to be distributed in near-linear patterns in groupings of three, and here-and-there on my sheets are tiny black specks. Now that I seem to have identified the source of the bites we have been subject to and receiving upward of four weeks, I have a few questions and concerns I would like to address and a few points I hope to correlate to the facts at hand . My first questions are with regards to the three pimple-like bumps on my daughter’s skin near her right collar bone: 1. If the blemishes are indeed bed bug bites, is the duration of time with which they have been present (roughly a month) alarming? Both my daughter and I have had these bites for a much longer period of time than I can recall any other previous skin lesions I have had. Is it typical for bed bug bites to remain so long? Are these symptoms fairly common? 2. Furthermore, assuming these bumps were a result of bed bug bites, could my daughter’s cold (that just won’t seem to go away and keeps resurfacing every few days) be attributed to the bites? Can bites from bed bugs, especially when their unsuspecting host is a small child, lead to symptoms mirroring those of the common cold (persistant coughing for three to four days, followed by a cessation of a few days, and the return of the coughing again; loss of appetite during the periods in which the cold symptoms dominate, not to mention the uncharacteristically sour mood she has been in as a result no doubt of her condition as of late) along a continuum that seems to have no end in sight? Or is this malady most likely unrelated? 3. Additionally, can bed bug bites affect any parts of the nervous system or joints, especially in smaller children? Last night around Two AM, my daughter woke up crying, complaining of leg pain. It appeared to be a muscle issue in her left thigh, something like a Charley-horse is my best guess, as upon walking around for a few minutes he leg pain seemed to have subsided. Is there any correlations between bed bug bites and muscle or joint pain, or is this just a coincidence of poorly-timed growing pains (a pain I can all to familiarly remember feeling when I was a growing child)? 4. Aside from the three bumps near her collar bone I suspect to be bed bug bites, my daughter had other bites as well; these other bites more closely resemble the majority of the bites I have received, although I have not spent much time describing them above. If my suspicions are correct, and these too are bed bug bites, does the sheer number of bites warrant the need for medical attention in and of itself? The last point of concern I hope to have alleviated is regarding the sudden and short-lasting onset of sporadically-occurring goosebumps I have been experiencing over the past two weeks or so. (In fact, my daughter’s random complaints about being cold for a brief time may actually be one in the same as she may not know exactly what goosebumps are nor how to describe them in the same words an older child might.) For roughly the last two weeks, I have been experiencing sudden, seemingly random bouts of goosebumps occurring locally in small patches of skin which lasts for about thirty seconds to a minute, with no identifiable cause. Living in the desert of Phoenix, AZ in July is the last place on earth one would suspect to get goosebumps in, what with a lack of cold. I, however, have been sporadically experiencing just that – goosebumps with close up my pores in patches of skin about a half inch to an inch in diameter at a time. These chills mainly occur on either the mid-sections of my arms, either above or below my elbow , or on the top portions of my thighs. They usually last about thirty seconds to a minute. However brief their duration, I cannot seem to identify a cause or catalyst to explain or understand why these short spurts of goosebumps are occurring, and they do not feel to pleasant either. Although they do not hurt per say, they are noticeably more unpleasant than they usually feel when occurring in appropriate settings. Is there any correlation or symptom of the bites of bed bugs with the nervous system or the skin’s behavior following a bite that is known or documented? Should this be reason for alarm regarding the troubling number and duration of what I am assuming to be bed bug bites? I have failed to mention above that, although there is an abundance of deer ticks in the area and higher than average reported cases of lymes disease this summer, ticks as a source for the bites and the source of the cold-like symptoms my daughter is having can be ruled out. On a previous visit, I had the pleasure of finding a tick deep in my leg, and as a result, implement twice-daily tick checks for fear of contracting lymes disease (three of our relatives have the disease, two of which had just discovered their prognosis shortly before our arrival). I am hoping that someone will be able to shed some light on the concerns I have been having since I have reached the conclusion that we have a bed bug problem following nightly bed bug attacks I did not know were occurring for three weeks. I have no medical insurance so I would appreciate any input or advice to determine if I am just over-worried and creating a mountain out of a molehill, or if there is in fact reason for concern that warrants medical attention for my daughter, first, and then myself if the situation is that serious.
Asked On : Thu, 2 Aug 2012
Answers:  1 Views:  739
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Pediatrician 's  Response

Thank you for your query.

I can understand your concern. However, it is not possible to give a guidance without having a look at the lesions, though you have given a good description. On occasions insect bites can produce late reaction which seems to be the case with you and your daughter. Depending on the insect diseases will have to be investigated and managed accordingly. I suggest that you get your daughter and yourself examined and investigated so that the lesions, repeated cold and goose bumps can be managed.

I hope I have answered your query to your satisfaction.

Wishing your daughter all the best.


Answered: Thu, 14 Feb 2013
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