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Monday, July 26, 2010

When do Bed Bug Bites Stop Itching? By Ralph H. Maestre BCE

I recently read an article by Stuart E. Mitchell, DO, PhD, MPH, CMI, BCE on the medical view of bed bug bites. I thought it would be important for all of us to understand what he was trying to say. “As a blood-feeding parasite, the bed bug has re-emerged as a medically significant issue”.

The bed bug is known in the entomological word as Cimex lectularis and the bites as Cimicosis. “These are lesions produced by the repetitive feeding of bed bugs. Reactions to insect bites and stings are common and a frequent cause for a visit to a physician. Bite reactions grouped or in a linear fashion experience after waking up in the morning are more recently suspected to be bed bug bites. Reactions itch intensively and persist over several days”.

We know this already, what we haven’t seen as often is the “bullous or blister or fluid-containing, elevated lesion of the skin”. This has an appearance similar to poison ivy reactions.

It appear the more study in this area is needed. The bed bug bite may indicate a “hypersensitivity reaction”. This indicates a reaction by repetitive bite and the body is over-reacting to the bite.

“It has been identified that a bullous allergic hypersensitivity results from bed bugs bite mediated by Immunoglobulin E (IgE) against bed bug salivary nitrophrin”. OK so we now know that the reaction is from the saliva. What we need to learn is that the “reactions or skin inflammation occurs as an immediate as;

> An immediate reaction (minutes) or
> A late-phase reaction (6-12 hour)
Immediate reactions are from the activity of histamine, prostaglandins, and others that cause an increase in vascular permeability leading to inflammation”.

After the initial reaction a delayed reaction occurs by the release of “leukotrienes and chemokines. Such mediators recruit other leukocytes to the site of the inflammation, causing a late-phase reaction. In bed bugs bites, late-phase reactions are causal for illness due to the development of sustained edema (swelling), vesicles, blisters, and intense pruritus (itching)”
Besides this there is another delayed reaction, type-IV hypersensitivity reactions which take one to three days to manifest. This explains why in several cases, individuals think they are still getting bites days after the pest management treatment has been performed. I suffer from this type of hypersensitivity when I get bitten by mosquitoes. I will rip into my skin days and weeks after the bite. I am not getting new bites, just reacting to the original bite again. Poison ivy acts in a similar fashion by not appearing for days after the exposure making the infected individual think they are spreading the oils all over.
To review and clarify;
> When bed bugs bite the saliva causes an immediate reaction (minutes)
> A late-phase reactions (6-12 hours) and
> A type –IV reactions (one-three days)
This occurs because of our allergic hypersensitivity. A doctor may prescribe medication to alleviate the itching.

Reference: Stuart E. Mitchell. “Cimicosis? I thought these were Bed Bug Bites!” July/August 2010. Pest Word Magazine.

Magic Exterminating specializes in getting rid of bed bugs in New York City. Our pest control professionals can eliminate bed bugs from your NYC apartment or business.


The Informed Makeup Maven said...

Very insightful article and interesting pathology.

The Informed Makeup Maven said...

Very insightful article and interesting pathology.

mark said...

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