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Are these Bed Bug Symptoms?

by Jean-Pierre
(New York)

I recently have this trouble. Since I sleep on an air mattress, I think at first my skin reaction could be allergy that was caused by the mattress, with my skin getting red and itchy.

Later on it got worse at night and I suspect that it could be a bed bug attack. I never had bed bugs before, so I upload two pictures of the "bite". Could this be a bed bug attack? I changed the sheet and comforter for a test. Hope I'm fine with that insect.

Editor Comments Bed Bugs Signs and Symptoms

Hi Jean-Pierre,

It's impossible to tell from the picture if the symptoms you are experiencing are from a bed bug, another insect or allergy, as the symptoms are very similar. Further complicating the evaluation is the fact that skin reactions are an allergic reaction, so bed bug symptoms vary between people.

That said, there are some general guidelines that can help. Bed bug bites center around a puncture. The area where you were bitten or where the skin was punctured is always lighter in color than the surrounding areas. It's hard to determine if this is the case in your picture. Bed bugs also bite skin areas exposed when sleeping, most often on the neck, lower arms and shoulders. Bites on the legs are also common.

I'd suggest that as a test, wear tight fitting clothes to bed over these areas and see if the problem goes away. If it does, and areas that were exposed, such as your lower arms are clear, then I would rule out bed bugs.

It's also helpful to find evidence of bed bugs other than the bites themselves. You can see these insects with the naked eye, and they do leave behind remains such as feces (brown/black spots). blood spots and their outer layer that is shed. Bed bugs also leave behind eggs that are stuck to the surface.

Do a thorough inspection of the room using a flashlight and magnifying class. They prefer tight fitting spaces about the width of a credit card. Dig deep into cracks with a wire brush or credit card and see if you can jar any loose.

You can also invest in an inexpensive bed bug trap which can at least provide piece of mind when it remains empty.

Best of luck in identifying the cause. If you are still at Columbia, ask one of the buildings maintenance staff to do an inspection.

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