Amanda shared her story with us on Flea bites and it warranted a page of its own.

Evening all.

My situation started about six months ago with my cats. They were scratching incessantly so I took them to the vet expecting fleas and found none. Shortly after that, I started to get this feeling while driving in my car like something was biting me but when I looked, I could find nothing. Then I starting noticing these gelanous looking globs on the glass surfaces of my car that seems to somehow bite me. Shortly after that, it started happening in my apartment (I probably tracked whatever had been in my car up to my apartment) and it has been pure hell.

Picture of an adult Flea

Picture of an adult Flea

About three years ago, I moved into an apartment on the top floor of a converted mansion. Beautiful apartment but it’s become more like a torture chamber for me and my cats. When I first moved in, I noticed a strange odor in the bedroom which progressively became worse. I had become disabled with an autoimmune disease and though I know now that I shouldn’t have done it, I couldn’t stand the smell and moved onto the sofa in the living room. That was about six months ago. I had the door to the bedroom closed but the odor seeped through the bottom so I called an exterminator after reading that bad bed bug infestations can cause a sickeningly sweet odor.

He found no evidence of bed bugs but I got rid of the mattress anyway and stayed in the living room. Also, this is the top floor and there are many eaves and the attic right above my apt. I often sit in the living room and listen to various animals scurrying around in the eaves and attic but my landlord says that when he finds them, he chases them away. We have old fashion heating units (the kind you still find in some hotels with no thermostat where the air blows cold in the summer and hot in the winter). The air conditioning is promptly turned off Labor Day weekend. Since heat rises, there have been more than five or six days just this past December when the temperature in my apartment has approached 90 degrees. I can just imagine some dead animal in one of the eaves attracting all kinds of parasites and pests but my landlord says no. I also had a problem with a leaky skylight and mold that took months to have fixed. Even though I wanted the landlord to culture the mold (it was black), he wouldn’t do so and had it plastered over before I could have the Dept of Health take a culture.

Flea on a pillow up close

Flea on a pillow up close

My cats calmed down for about two weeks (had them spot treated for fleas and thought maybe that was the problem even though they’re indoor cats) and then the scratching started again. Took them to the vet again and was told, again, no fleas. I think she’s basically given up on me at this point. I’ve found some brown gelanous globs attached to chunks of hair they’ve either scratched or ripped out, but the vet has no idea what they are. It’s gotten to the point where I always think I see eyes on these things and I feel terrible that they’re bothering my cats so much.

I found several samples of the parasites I believe are torturing us. My symptoms are a little different in that there’s really no “itch” but it feels like something is stinging me. Sometimes the sting is so painful, it makes me jump. There have been times when the tips of my fingers or toes have felt like there were hundreds of tiny cuts on them. Other times, it feels like I have multiple unknown creatures scurrying around inside my socks intermittently biting me at whim. I have found many black specks embedded in my socks (these things like to cling to skin or fabric) and have managed to pull many out with a tweezers but the exterminator couldn’t see beyond the “lint”.

On my cats, I find the brown globs and on myself I find either gray or clear globs (I managed to get a pristene specimen off of my sneaker and found it somewhat triangular, transluscent with a dark middle center – probably my blood) or what looks like off-whitish round specks (under the microscrope or magnifying lens, they look very similar to the pictures Jan posted but they always seem to have two unattached black appendages which I’m sure I mutilate as I’m picking them up.) There are white specks all over everything in my apartment and though I vacuum and dust every single day, they’re back as soon as I’m done. My life has become an endless course of cleaning and washing and I go through lint rollers so often that I should take out stock in the company. Taking a shower is another form of torture because these things seem to bite me along my body as they’re running down from my hair or they bite my feet before I have a chance to use the hand controller to move the water toward the drain. My tub is a junior one with a broken stopper so there’s no change of a bath.

After doing some reading on the internet, I thought that maybe I had scabies or some type of lice (I’m a clean freak but I use the local library where a lot of transient people go). I had no rash and one or two spots which could have been bites but he said they looked like I had scratched the areas and couldn’t tell what was underneath. Also, the pores on my legs looked unusually red and large but I’m fair skinned and he said that was just my coloring (they didn’t look like they had looked the rest of my life but he wasn’t too interested). Basically, he told me that it was in my head and said it would go away. When they didn’t, I bothered him so much that he prescribed a scabicide but it did no good. These things are still in my car so I literally feel like I have no escape.

I’m sorry this is so long and all doom and gloom but it’s the first outlet I’ve had to let this all out. My landlord insists that it must be cat fleas and wants to fog the apartment but two vets have said no fleas and I don’t want to subject us to that toxicity. Also, many of you have said that fogging has made your situation worse.

One more thing – today I was doing the usual cleaning and vacuuming routine while wearing these exercise pants that had breathing holes along the surface. I noticed some of the off-whitish specks so I grabbed my tweezers and new lighted magnifying lens and started to pull these things off my pants and put them into a jar of alcohol on the off chance I can find someone to identify these things. The weird thing is that these things were popping up and down out of the breathing holes when I shined the light on the area.

I know it sounds nuts but I felt like I was playing hide and seek with these things. Then something else caught my attention. I put the magnifying lens up to those red and enlarged pores on my legs and was horrified to see that several of them had what looked like white hard things sticking out of them so now I’m thinking that there is something that is burrowing into my skin. There are times when I’m typing and I’ll feel a stinging on one of my fingers and I’ll find one of the globs. Other times I’ll feel the sting and won’t find anything there. This all has me beyond exhausted and has taken a serious toll on my anxiety level. I feel like I’m approaching the end of my rope.

I live all alone with no family nearby except for my ex-spouse who thinks I’m nuts and who now has primary custody of our kids. I have no interest in socializing and spend most of my time cleaning and washing. Oh and there’s no washing maching in my apartment so I drag bag after bag to the laundromat. My neighbors think I’m “an eccentric”. I only have my cats for support (never considered myself “the cat lady” but they’re loving and can tell when I’m in pain) and it kills me to think that these monsters are torturing them as well.

Tonight, my little cat was wheezing and my hands hurt so badly after a long and painful shower and my anxiety was so high that I felt absolutely paralyzed and didn’t know what to do. I have no one I can call for help that lives nearby and thank goodness the wheezing stopped. For the millionth time in the last six months, I sat here crying feeling like a complete mess and failure and for the first time, the thought occurred to me that this is no life for us to suffer through. For some reason, I found this site while Googling “least painful way to kill yourself and your cats”. Ridiculous, I know, and now that I have read what others are experiencing – some much worse than what I go through – it’s given me the fortitude to buck up and push those other thoughts away.

I guess my next step will be to try what my third doctor recommends. She thinks this is a nerve disfunction and wants to try B-12 injections. I think this is some type of parasite and that the B-12 won’t help at all but I have no choice but to try.

Anyway, thank you all so much for reading this very long post. I can only pray that we all find the reason and cure for this horrible situation. I’ll let everyone know if the B-12 has any affect. Thanks again for letting me share and vent, Amanda.

Popular comments on how Amada’s flea bite situation.

Barbara::

I just read this post and was so terribly saddened by it. No one really knows how truly awful this is, unless its happening to you. You mentioned that your children are with your ex, which given the circumstances in your flat, this may be for the best for know. But the isolation you are feeling is clearly not helped by being alone. I would urge you to reach out to your family and friends and let them know about this. Scabies, bed bugs — whatever it is — is something you shouldn’t have to mentally deal with alone. I really feel for you and wish you all the best.

Lara::

I am dealing with a mite infestation. We have a cat and two dogs. The dogs do not seem to be affected yet, but we are, and the cat seems to be scratching more too. I spent hours this week combing my home trying to find something moving. I finally found one today that was biting my leg and put it between 2 pieces of tape to bring to my vet. My vet thought I was crazy but I insisted that he examine my specimen under a microscope. My suspicions were correct – it is some type of mite. I just got on here to try to determine what kind. The rat mite and bird mite look very similar so I am still trying to find some answers. I thought I would respond to your post and tell you that I understand the anguish you are faced with. Perhaps you can investigate to see if this might be what you are dealing with too.

Janine::

I am going through the exact same thing, but with my puppy instead of cats. I have also despaired and thought of suicide and cannot socialize or sleep. I sleep in a bedbug tent but still get the bites and keep inspecting it and rewashing my blankets.

I worry they are coming in on my puppy when I put him in there with me. He’s mainly white, so if they’re small I can’t see them? I change out of my clothes before I get not the tent, which is on top of my mattress with covers on it and the box springs. I have a powder insecticide all over the mattress. But I also think they may just be getting through the mesh? I spray it with Bedlam, and have to air it out to sleep there.

My left leg looks so bad it’s scary. I may need antibiotics because I can’t stop scratching them and making them bleed. I’ve lived with this for 7 years since doing a cruise ship in Egypt and I saw one crawl into my purse at that big movie theater during a stopover in NYC (but I didn’t know what it was until much later). I’ve moved twice since then, and no matter how much stuff I throw out or how much I clean, they come back.

Now, it’s bad but I haven’t seen any except when I found a nest in a winter knitted hat that I actually put on my head and took off because I thought it was leaves from working outside a lot. I washed it and the dryer vent was full of all sizes of adult and nymph bedbugs.

I have spent a fortune on products and pesticides, and I only trust the Diamatrys Earth (sp?) because it doesn’t dissipate. I don’t want people coming to the house because they might bring them with and I don’t want anyone to see how I live. I’m afraid of giving them to other people and fully believe they are biting me in the car when I drive, too, and have treated the car several times.

I’ve gained weight even though I don’t eat much and am constantly cleaning, and drink more wine(but I don’t get drunk, I pace myself with water). I’m out of work and afraid if I don’t get a job soon, I’ll loose everything, but the anxiety I already have is so bad I don’t know what I’ll do with more? I can’t sleep and so a job seems impossible, anyway?

Your story helped me write this, I feel very beaten. So please hang in there, you’re not alone! Hopefully, things will get better soon for both of us and all of us.

Kristin::

OK, I am sure you’ve heard this story time and time again but I am very concerned!
My husband and I are temporarily staying at my parents house while we transition to move back to the city, therefore we’re sleeping on an air mattress.

About two weeks ago I woke up with a couple random bites and thought it was flea bites (there are two dogs in and out of the house all the time) I bombed and sprayed everywhere and didn’t get another bite.

Until today, I woke up with 4 “sets” of bites. There’s a row on my upper thigh, a cluster on my stomach, and a couple on each arm. Now mind you I sleep with sweat pants and a t-shirt so really only my arms are exposed skin.

Just at the beginning of this week I washed all of my bedding (in hot water as usual) and I am a vacuum everyday, a couple times a day, type of person. So I am at a loss for what to do now.

I have checked my bedding and my air mattress and nothing….
It’s getting to my head really bad just like everyone else but I am just wondering if this sounds like bed bugs or something else to you.

Thanks

kristen::

Help!!!!

I have four dogs, all who have been scratching like crazy, so we thought they had fleas, flea bathed them and treated them and for awhile we were fine. our two roommates had bites that didn’t resemble flea bites but looked like nothing we’ve ever seen before. they too went away, for two months things were fine, then recently my dogs been scratching like crazy and ripping out fur, we’ve bug bombed our house and both my husband and myself have gotten bit as well as house-guests.

I’ve been itching everywhere especially my head,face, neck, and arms legs and his back has bites everywhere that resemble pimples. we checked for bedbugs and have not seen any and have no idea what it could be, none of our dogs have had issues before and its only been an issue the past 3 weeks. help!!!

please mssg me with any tips

Karla::

OMG, I totally get this. 8 years ago I started getting bit at work by things I couldn’t see and only I got bit. Resembles flea bites; however, I started seeing these fruit fly/ gnat things. By the time I see them, I am no longer getting bit. Happened every July – August for yrs.

I moved to Ky. and wasn’t bothered until I moved in the country to a trailer where when I started getting bit, I found miniscule white things i spider webs. Then the bites started clearing and we had gnats which don’t bite. They only attack me. Now, moved home to Houston, on mattresses new to us, but my kids and I all got lice, bites that look like fleas, no fleas in house, fruit fly/gnats every where but the bites happen at night all over, and daytime around ankles.

I have cleaned, cant spray cause Mom on chemo, she has mold. WE ITCH. NO ONE THINKS I AM CRAZY NOW CAUSE WE ALL ARE COVERED WITH THESE ITCHY RED RAISED DOTS WITH ONE HOLE IN THE MIDDLE. MOSTLY ON REAR ENDS AND ANKLES AND STOMACH.
We all seem to have the same thing, this is not stress, this is causing stress. Who said gnats don’t bite in baby stages?

What are these invisible things? Causing dogs to lose fur at their tales. NO FLEAS. NOT ONE. HELP???????

JEANNIE::

Omg, so sad to read all these stories a friend of mine has gottin bites last night thats how i wound up on this page,

@ Amanda, when i was young i took in a cat and my whole family got some kind of body lice that lives under your skin, we didn’t know about it till we went to a doc, they gave us some kind of lotion that you have to keep on for hrs cant remember for how long, maybe youn should look into that, not saying it came from ur cats but you did say that there are animals in ur attic, and u have air heat they could be commin threw there and the smell could be a dead animal or animal waste. I hope everyone fixes there problems cause i kow it could drive you nuts, o, look into the body lice that live under the skin!!! good luck!!!

@ karla, gnats and friutflies do bite,i’m a bartender and they love the sweetness of the booze, it seems like i’m the only one that gets bit by them,let no one tell you different they do bite!!!!!

marie skon::

hi i think we have bedbugs as well and maybe our dogs but not sure. i have lots of bites all over me and they itch so bad all the time and u have to scratch them or it drives you crazy..my husband has bites as well. not sure what to use for the itch or the critters…

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1 reply
  1. Chris says:

    Amanda, you have mites. I had the same thing. Thought it was dust until I saw it all moving slowly. I burnt sulfur in my house and got rid of them. Ask any elderly person about burning sulfur for tips on how to do it.

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