From: email@example.com (Steven B. Harris )
Subject: RE: Help!
Date: 25 Aug 1995
>> I'm afraid we're going to need a lot more information. How old are you?
>> Where do you live? How do you know they are bites? What do they look
>> like? What do they feel like? Have you seen the bugs? Where are they on
>> your body? What exactly did your doctor tell you, and treat you with.
>> None of us can "see" you, remember? And we're not telepathic, except for
>> Paul, who has healing powers from the mysterious East.
>> Steve Harris, M.D.
>(oh, sorry, I forgot.) I'm twenty one years old and I live in northern
>Georgia. The bites are mostly fleas and mosqitos, and yes I have seen
>them bite me. My family doctor told me not to scratch the bites, gives
>me antibotics and hydrocortisone cream for the itching. The bites are
>worse on my feet and ankles where my socks turn the bites into
>blister-like things that turn into scabs. They hurt, so I very rarely
>(if ever) scratch them. I get bit when I go outside, or around any type
>of animal esp. cats. The cream breifly stops the itch, but the bugs
>continue to bite, even if I use anti-bite cream or spray on my shoes
>I get bitten all over my body, but the majority of bites are from the
>waist down, getting worse further down on my body. This has happened for
>all of my life and seems to be getting worse as I get older. I am also
>allergic to bees. I hope that this gives you more info. :)
Okay. Some of the bites from outside may be due to harvest mites,
called chiggers in the South, although they aren't the true Chiggoe flea
of South America. Still they are bad enough since they burrow in and feed
for 4 days, and don't just crawl up your sock, bite you on the ankle, and
leave, the way an animal flea will. If you see one just starting in a
clear chicken-pox like blister on your ankle you can pop it out with a
needle like a zit, but it takes a deft hand, and you have to get them just
at the right time. Otherwise you just have to suffer. Yes, as you've
surmised, most of the reaction to mite, flea and mosquito bites is
allergic. This histamine is what makes them itch like made in hot water
when you shower.
I suggest the following approach:
1) Get a couple of 60 gram tubes of Crotamiton or "Eurax" from your doc,
and use them to coat you from toe to neck each day for a couple of days
before going to bed. Wash all clothes, sheets, and shoes in HOT water
(if you can't do this with shoes, you'll have to set them aside without
wearing them for 4 or 5 days, while you wear others). Treat any sex
partners also. This routine will take out scabies (a chronic skin mite)
if you've picked it up, which can feel and look just like a lot of flea
bites. Yes, you can have scabies all over your feet and ankles. Eurax
smells funny, but it's a lot less toxic than Kwell/Lindane, so you can
keep it around and use it whenever the bites seem to cluster, or you seem
to feel something crawling on you, but cannot see it. Fleas don't like
it either, and it's a pretty good flea repellant.
2) The best flea repellents, however, are DEET containing lotions, like
OFF, etc. If these are NOT working for you, I do indeed wonder if you've
got scabies (they are often worse where clothes fit tightest). If you
have pets, you'll have to take them to the vet for treatment, vacuum your
carpets every day, use flea powder, change your bedding every day, etc,
3) Get a prescription for hydroxyzine capsules from your doc. This is a
good anti-itch antihistamine, and will make nearly any bite from any
insect feel a lot better. Call it symptomatic relief. Vitamin C is also
an antihistamine and helps healing-- a couple of grams a day won't hurt.
And of course the cortisone creams work, but they just make scabies
ultimately worse. Hold off and use the Eurax.
4) Finally-- are you sure you're not allergic to your socks themselves?
Or a laundry detergent? If all your skin problems are discrete itchy
red bumps, this is less likely. But if you have whole patches of red
skin, it's worth changing sock brand and detergent brand.
Steve Harris, M.D.
Subject: Re: have chiggers, no doctor (long)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jay Mann)
Date: Dec 31 1995
If your itching is actually caused by chiggers, which are tiny insects
that either dig into the skin or hold on very tightly (not sure which),
the remedy that worked for me was to cover the affected area with nail
polish, in order to cut off oxygen to the creatures. Colourless nail
polish is more socially acceptable, but any colour will do the job.
Jay D Mann <email@example.com>
Christchurch, New Zealand