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300 Bedbug Bites

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Linainuk

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past Caminos: Frances, Portuguese (coastal + central), English and Finisterre/Muxia-loop.
Next-Norte
Hello fellow pilgrims.

I'm in Vigo and going to take a bus to Coimbra in Portugal at 05:00 to start walking from there, but after 2 nights in hostel Lapplandia, I'm covered in about 300 bedbug bites. Some bites are so close together that they look like whole decimeter size bites on their own.
Now, the owner says he wasn't aware of any bugs and questioned why the other girl in the same room didn't have any bites. (Although I've had these once before and I think I'm allergic somehow, because they did cause an extreme reaction in me then as well.)

Ok, listed INFO:

Before arriving in Vigo, I had stayed in Santiago, in Seminario Menor for 3 days. No bites or bugs whatsoever from what I could see. Also the mattresses there are plastic, so it's hard for bugs to hide.

When arrived in Vigo, I first noticed I was bitten when I got to the beach yesterday afternoon, about 24 h after arrival.

The other girls in the same room has stayed there 2 days already, but haven't noticed any bites.

When I got back last night they had seen bugs in the beds. We filmed them and killed several.

Then me and another girl moved into a different, empty room. She then had to leave about 8am so don't know if she's got any bites today. (But she'll be back later.)

Before she left we had a talk with the owner and showed him the video clips and bites and I got the feeling he was insinuating that I brought them here (from Seminario Menor) since the others didn't have any bites.

Then I woke up with even more bites, this time covering half of my face!

I'm so confused and dishearted. I look absolutely horrible. Will other albergues even let me in?

Any thoughts? Where do they come from?

Thank you 🙏♥
 

MinaKamina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
You should see a doctor ASAP, Linainuk. The sheer number of bites can be dangerous. Never mind for now where the bugs came from, it is what they did to you that matters most.

Please put your own health first and leave the fights with owners of albergues for later.
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
The fact that others were not affected does not prove anything. The reaction to bed bugs is an allergic type of response (not like a "venom") and many people are not allergic to them. Your large welts may simply be large welts reacting to a single bite. I have seen no reliable estimates of how many people are allergic and how many are not, but it could easily be 50-50%. (In other words, neither case is rare.)

Please see a doctor, get help to decontaminate your things, and take some time to relax. Good luck!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Some people are more sensitive than others.
Some people can have been bitten and not know it, others are like you.
I echo @MinaKamina 's advic - get thee to a doctor for the relief of discomfort at the very least.
Then deal with recalcitrant owners, and all your stuff.
 

MinaKamina

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Jacobspad 2017
The fact that others were not affected does not prove anything. The reaction to bed bugs is an allergic type of response (not like a "venom") and many people are not allergic to them. Your large welts may simply be large welts reacting to a single bite. I have seen no reliable estimates of how many people are allergic and how many are not, but it could easily be 50-50%. (In other words, neither case is rare.)

Please see a doctor, get help to decontaminate your things, and take some time to relax. Good luck!
The single bite happened to me a few years ago, and it wasn't even a bedbug. The culprit bit me in my toe when I got into the car. It was a sharp bite and I smashed him.
Within a few hours the lower part of that same leg was covered in red and white spots although I had not felt any bites there, nor had there been other insects. Leg became very warm, and spots grew bigger.
Doctor prescribed antibiotics against inflammation and anti-allergy tablets. Still, it took a few days and I remember being very tired.

 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
Hope you were able to see a doctor I had “only” about 45 bugs in one night and it took almost 3 weeks for the pain and itching to disappear. Fortunately, I was able to function. In Burgos got treated with antihistamine tablets,steroids,and a general antiobiotic! Studies suggest histimine release by bed bugs can be problematic. With 300 bites... do get a checkup!!
 

nidarosa

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés 2009+2017, Francés 2012+2018, Astorga-Santiago repeatedly
It can also take days for bites to show, as I discovered when I was bitten. I saw some bites in the morning, sorted my things and checked thoroughly in, on and around the bed before I went to sleep the next couple of days - in fact I still do it every night when I am away. Still the bites kept swelling up over the next week while the first ones calmed down. Once I was bitten while my husband in the same bed was not! I agree you should get to a doctor and also make sure you always carry the relevant antihistamines or other medication in case you do get bitten again. And remember to check the bed, please use the flashlight you have probably got in your pack rather than spray the mattress with toxic stuff. Hope you get better soon!
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Ah Bed Bugs, the scourge of the Camino! Having been warned I thoroughly doused my sleeping bag, the liner and the backpack in a proprietary product before leaving home (Oz) . It worked for me, but my walking companion was mildly attached which necessitated the full treatment for both of us. Tracking down the source of these critters is often a subject that would have taxed Sherlock Holmes.
For our OP I thoroughly agree seek medical treatment and soon. Then "hot wash/hot dry" all your clothes and give the back pack a "going over". I am not surprised at the reaction to the hosptialero, it seems to be the norm - attack being the best form of defence??
 

Nezabudka

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP-Burgos (Oct 2018)
@Linainuk, so sorry you have been "attacked" so badly. Please care about yourself, see the doctor and treat your stuff. It's very hard to determine where bedbugs came from... Unfortunately, either can be true - the albergue already had them or you brought them with you... :'(
I'm lucky, as seems I do not have an allergic reaction, I was bitten In Logrono, saw really vague pinkish dots on my skin, didn't pay much attention that time, they inflamed and started itching only in a week's time - in Burgos!
I don't think it's a war worth starting with hospitaleros, if those are not ready to assist (though from the posts on this forum, seems a lots of them are happy to help with de-contamination). Camino provides, of course, but pilgrims need to care about themselves, first. You can use a laundromat to treat your stuff, if required. And I do not think you can be denied from albergues just because of the current skin condition.
Hope you feel better soon :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francé 2005; 2016
Inglés June 2017
del Salvador Sep 2018
Primitivo Oct 2018
I react badly to most insect bites. With such an infestation should this be reported to a health-environement authority? (Ask the doctor). If you do report it them inform them of other hostals you've stayed in. I find a chamomile based antiseptic cream soothing and affective. You have a bad reaction, so I rather think the bite sores are fairly immediate - allergic reactions are normally quick and obvious.
I pack Lavender in small cloth sacks in my rucksac. It seems affective, but check everything thoroughly, the seams and stitching, they get tucked right in there on clothes and everthing they can.
Good luck and get a health check.
Keith
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Then "hot wash/hot dry" all your clothes
Washing on hot isn't necessary. It's the hot dryer for at least 30 minutes that kills the bugs and eggs. Some fabrics are better off going into the dryer when they are dry, not wet to avoid shrinking. You can then wash and dry them normally.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
Washing on hot isn't necessary. It's the hot dryer for at least 30 minutes that kills the bugs and eggs. Some fabrics are better off going into the dryer when they are dry, not wet to avoid shrinking. You can then wash and dry them normally.
Hola @trecile - yepfully aware of that. It was just that in our case it was easier to give everything the full treatment - Hot Wash and Hot Dry. It worked plus we had the enjoyment of clean, fresh smelling clothes not those washed in cold water.;)
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
Often it makes sense to wash before the hot dry. However, it is worth continuing to remind people when they say they will hot-wash to treat bedbugs. Many people, especially novices to the bed bug community, will assume washing "must" come before drying, simply because it is the normal scheme of things. They likely don't know the temperatures of either hot water or hot driers, nor do they know the temperatures needed to kill bedbugs.

More important, they haven't thought about the fact that one should add another 20 minutes of heat after the clothes reach dryness.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2 - 2016 & 2017, El Norte - Irun to Vilalba 2018
Often it makes sense to wash before the hot dry. However, it is worth continuing to remind people when they say they will hot-wash to treat bedbugs. Many people, especially novices to the bed bug community, will assume washing "must" come before drying, simply because it is the normal scheme of things. They likely don't know the temperatures of either hot water or hot driers, nor do they know the temperatures needed to kill bedbugs.

More important, they haven't thought about the fact that one should add another 20 minutes of heat after the clothes reach dryness.
And some fabrics can shrink if they are put in a hot dryer while they are damp or wet.
 

Davey Boyd

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Again, soon as possible!
Often it makes sense to wash before the hot dry. However, it is worth continuing to remind people when they say they will hot-wash to treat bedbugs. Many people, especially novices to the bed bug community, will assume washing "must" come before drying, simply because it is the normal scheme of things. They likely don't know the temperatures of either hot water or hot driers, nor do they know the temperatures needed to kill bedbugs.

More important, they haven't thought about the fact that one should add another 20 minutes of heat after the clothes reach dryness.
It may just be me but your comment "the bed bug community" made me giggle.

Bed bug community on camino discussing dinner:
Bed bug 1: "Great, French menu de peregrino tonight for me"
Bed bug 2: "No, I fancy that English guy there, he looks tasty"
Bed bug 3: "Well, Im gonna bite this Korean, then get a lift in her rucksack to Pamplona"
Bed bug 1: "You not a real pilgrim, hitchiking is cheating"

Sorry
Davey
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
I realize that is important and fair to not target specific Albergues for having bed bugs...especially when one’s not 100 percent sure where they were bitten.
However, if someone receives many multiple bites, and clearly sees the bugs on the walls, beds, etc., do we not have a responsibility to one another...to let others know that there’s currently a problem at this Albergue?

I find it hard to believe that someone had 300 bites and there was a question as to where the pilgrim was bitten? I really appreciate the difficulty owners must have trying to ward off bed bugs, but when they have them, verbally attacking the reporting pilgrim is not appropriate. We should all be aware of such places so we can opt outofthose accommodations. My system can handle a few bites along the way...but many,multiple bites...no!! Such an establishment should immediately be shut down temporarily and the bugs irradicated
 
Last edited:
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