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Do I have bed bug bites?

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
#1
Today I found this on my leg....

Is there a way to say if these are bed bug bites or not?

What to do, if in doubt:
* Look for a albergue with washing and drying machine
* speak with the hospidalera for equipment treatment and informing the last albergues

* it does not feel bad at the moment. Do I need medicine anyway?
20180804_070045-864x864.jpg 20180804_070102-864x864.jpg
* what else or what should I do different?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#2
Hi - sorry to see this. There is really no way to prove it, but bedbugs seems like the likely explanation! Do I understand correctly that you have gotten help to decontaminate your things? You don't "need" any medicine if you are not experiencing unusual symptoms other than some itching. However, antihistamine ointment or pills might help reduce the reaction and the itching. Do watch for signs of infection on any of the spots. I hope they go away soon!
 

Anamya

Keeping it simple
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015)
Camino Portugues (2017)
Lebaniego (Planning)
#4
Hi Martin. Although it's hard to say from a photo, they do look like bug bites.
As mentioned above, you don´t need medicine, but antihistamine creams and tablets help with the itchiness.

Remember to wash EVERYTHING in high temperature and yes, inform the last albergues you stopped at. Also mention with any walking companion.
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
#5
Thank you for your fast answers.

I informed the last albergue by whatsapp (gronze phone nr).
Will probably get help with decontamination in the next albergue.... at the moment it is still a little bit early....
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
#6
....inform the last albergues you stopped at....
Do I need to inform more than one albergue?

As clearly as I felt the irritation today in the morning and as obvious there is something now I cannot imagine that I felt and saw 24h nothing from the bites.... if they had been of the second last albergue.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#7
Remember to wash EVERYTHING in high temperature
Actually hot washing isn't really necessary, it's drying on hot - 60c for at least half an hour that's essential. Things that can't go into the dryer, like backpacks, can be placed in a black plastic trash bag and put into the hot sun (no problem finding that today) for several hours.
Many people don't react to bedbug bites, so medication isn't always necessary.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#10
Certainly some kind of bite - I got similar marks on both arms last week from wrist to tee-shirt sleeve cuffs but from gardening (OK, weed clearing). The local pharmacist recommended Hydrocortisone which helped then I switched to a spray called Wasp-Eze which contains benzocaine which really eases the pain/scratchiness (I bought it for a really bad jellyfish sting on a scuba holiday - it's amazing).

I'm sure you'll find something similar in Spain - remember "benzocaine ".

My bites lasted about 8 days - you can still just about see little freckle like marks now.

Try not to scratch although in the current temperatures . . .
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#11
Yep, bedbug bites are likely. Just another part of the camino experience. It seems to me that some of us are attractive to bedbugs and some of us are not. Unfortunately if there is a bedbug within 20km it will head for me!

Antihistamine tablets and cream from the chemist helped me. They take away the itch and not scratching is important to get rid of the bites as quickly as possible - and not to start up something worse.

@trecile is right - heat is what kills the bedbugs and their eggs. The last time I was attacked I bought a new set of very cheap clothes (bazaar store), showered and put the new clothes on and put everything else in a black plastic garbage bag that I took to an autoservicio. I put all my clothes and dry bags in the commercial dryer on high heat for 30 minutes (loosely packed so that the heat penetrated everything). Everything that could not go in the dryer I left sealed in the black plastic garbage bag which I then put out in the hot sun and left it there all day. That included my pack and my wallet! The things that might be damaged by heat (smartphone, battery charger) I took apart carefully over a white table, shook and examined. I found no bedbugs, but they have been known to hide in phones and cameras.

I've been on two caminos since that experience and not had any bedbug encounters. Hopefully I've cracked the solution. Some people think it excessive but I permethrin my pack and sleeping gear, mechanically cover myself from head to toe at night with long-johns, socks, long sleeves and a silk liner that I pull right over my head, and use Deet repellent cream on any skin that might get exposed. I hang my pack above the ground whenever possible or if it has to go on the ground I keep it inside a large sealed dry liner bag (it is a liner for a 70 litre pack, so my small pack fits inside it). Plastic garbage bags work but they fall apart and are noisy.

I don't know what I'd do in this heat though - long johns and long sleeves????
 
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese, French, Primitivo
#13
Hi - sorry to see this. There is really no way to prove it, but bedbugs seems like the likely explanation! Do I understand correctly that you have gotten help to decontaminate your things? You don't "need" any medicine if you are not experiencing unusual symptoms other than some itching. However, antihistamine ointment or pills might help reduce the reaction and the itching. Do watch for signs of infection on any of the spots. I hope they go away soon!
Very clearly bed bugs. Which Albergue?
 

KJFSophie

My Way, With Joy !
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2014 & 2015 ) ,Via San Francesco, Italy (2017 )
Camino Portugese (2018 )
#14
Also, sometimes it can be hard to pin down where you got the bites, as they can sometimes take a day or so to appear.
Consider too, the 'bed bug express', where the bugs may be lurking in the packs of pilgrims who aren't paying attention. When you throw your pack into a heap outside of a cafe (or in the trunk of a cab ), you may be exposing your things to those critters. It's not rampant, but being cautious goes a long way!
 

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
#15
Look more like chiggers than bedbug. My 2 cents. Pain them with nail polish to sufociate them.
 
Camino(s) past & future
May or September (2018)
#16
Sounds like I need to pack a large black trash bag in case I need to treat my pack.
These plastic bags would be a ONE time use correct?? Will I be able to buy another bag somewhere??
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
#18
I do not want to tell the albergue.... if I should inform 2 albergues and here some think it are no bed bug bites at all...
I think it would be not fair to shout bed bugs in albergue ....
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
#19
In my new albergue the dryer does not work. And the other albergue does not let me use their dryer if I do not sleep there.
So it is washing machine and black bags.... hopefully enough....
 

Attachments

Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#20
Do the black bag treatment on DRY clothes. Wash afterward - it is less important. You want heat them to about 50C for 30 minutes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#21
And for the record, there is no definitive way to prove if they are bedbug bites. Every situation and every person can be different. There is no "3 bite" rule or close-spacing rule. There are only common patterns - multiple bites in the same area of the body, delayed reaction, sometimes a large welt that develops a blister-like feature. Many people do not react at all!
 
#22
If y have red spots like bedbugs bite. show dem to the hospitalero, so he/she can take care about the situation. Do not hide your suspision. That is fair for all.
 

JulieandPeter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (April/May 2015)
Frances (May/June 2017)
Planning Le Puy to SJPDP (August/September 2018)
#23
If you go to a pharmacy and show them the bites, they will most likely be able to tell you what they are and give you something to treat them. Good luck!
 

martin1ws

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Somport to Finisterre Jul-Aug 2018
#24
Pharmacy is here closed on Saturday and Sunday.
I think the 50 degrees should be okay.... if it has without black plastic bag 35+.
 

JulieandPeter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (April/May 2015)
Frances (May/June 2017)
Planning Le Puy to SJPDP (August/September 2018)
#25
Pharmacy is here closed on Saturday and Sunday.
I think the 50 degrees should be okay.... if it has without black plastic bag 35+.
That is too bad. Maybe Monday you can find one. Buen Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#28
If you go to a pharmacy and show them the bites, they will most likely be able to tell you what they are and give you something to treat them. Good luck!
I did that last year when I had some bites, but the pharmacist couldn't give me a definitive answer. The best thing to do is assume that they are bed bug bites and take necessary precautions.
 

JulieandPeter

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (April/May 2015)
Frances (May/June 2017)
Planning Le Puy to SJPDP (August/September 2018)
#29
I did that last year when I had some bites, but the pharmacist couldn't give me a definitive answer. The best thing to do is assume that they are bed bug bites and take necessary precautions.
I agree! Definitely, take the just in case precautions and assume they are bed bugs. I had a similar situation and went to a pharmacy and the pharmacist took one look at the bites and gave me some cream that relieved the discomfort (although it sounds like martin1ws is not having any discomfort). I checked it out with the pharmacist because I wanted to make sure I didn't have something more serious than bed bugs.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#30
Look more like chiggers than bedbug. My 2 cents. Pain them with nail polish to sufociate them.
I used to paint chigger bites with clear nail polish to suffocate them and wondered why it still took them so long to heal. Only last year did I find out this method is an "old wives' tale". The chigger actually inject you with a poison and that is what swells up, turns red and itches like crazy. The chigger itself is long gone!
I sadly no longer walk deep into raspberry patches, as that is where my last batch of chigger bites around my waistband came from.
 
Camino(s) past & future
First one planned for May 2019: Camino Francés
#31
To stop itching of bites you can try the hot-spoon-method, in case there is no cream around.

Usually the itch is a reaction of the proteinaceous poison the bedbugs, mites or whatever culprit spread. The stich becomes slightly thick and red, that's sort of a tiny allergic reaction. Since you can destroy protein from about 40 °C, you can warm up a spoon in a cup of hot water and press it on the bite. That method works just fine. Just be careful, not to get the spoon too hot.
 

Glamgrrl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Travel318
#32
Regarding plastic bags. We sprayed an IKEA bag with permithin and took it with us. We could put our backpack inside it at night, and just grab it early in the morning to take outside sleeping area. It also worked for protecting bags when we sent them ahead and on the airplane. We didn’t bring anything inside the house, clothes and bedding went from bin to washer and dryer. Packs into black plastic bags in hot sun. Luckily we didn’t ever get bedbugs. Amazon sells the IKEA bags now too.
 

Via2010

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
06/07 & 12 Camino Francés, 08-10 Via de la Plata, 13/14 & 17 Camino Portugués, 18 Camino Primitivo
#33
Do I need to inform more than one albergue?

As clearly as I felt the irritation today in the morning and as obvious there is something now I cannot imagine that I felt and saw 24h nothing from the bites.... if they had been of the second last albergue.
Sorry, that I have to inform you, that some people take up to 9 days to develop reactions after bedbug bites. So it is really difficult to say, which albergue was infested unless you have seen the bedbugs coming up from under your bed.
 

Syncro

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francais
#34
I got the exact same bites last year.. I had to stop my journey because of them. I knew if I walked in the heat and sweated they would only get infected. This picture doesn't do justice for the size. One swelled up to the size of a quarter.
A few things I will say, I first noticed bites after my first Albergue stay in SJPP. However, I did not wash my new sleeping bag after I purchased it, so I never wanted to blame the Albergue. (Rookie mistake!) My next huge bout of bites came from a munical hostel and the gal in the bunk above me got bitten as well, but other women in the corresponding bunks did not. The major bites that ultimately took me down appeared immediately upon entering Carrion de los Condes; I couldn't help scratching my legs and feet and then these ugly welts appeared. A fellow pellgrino thought I was bitten by flies and because I was not accustomed to the indigenous flies of Spain, I had a horrible reaction.
As an aside, I washed and dried my sleeping bag routinely after these bites as a precaution. I bought prescription strength bug sprays and nothing worked.
 

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#35
There is a reliable way of telling whether you’ve been bitten by bedbugs ... but you have to do it as soon as you get out of the bed .... simply look for blood!
When I was bitten, in a pension, the clean white sheets had several quite large patches of blood on them, around my ankles. It was the middle of the night and I’d got up for a pee.

If you do see them, anywhere, a softened bar of soap catches them and they can then be shown to whoever needs to see them. This is an old overlander trick, learnt decades ago. If they’re on the hoof, you’ll need to be quick!
Some owners don’t like this and will accuse you of bringing it with you ... even if you have left your pack outside the room while you examine the mattress etc.
But most owners, hospitalero/as will want to know, even if it means an exhausting day ahead, with bedbugs to deal with on top of everything else.

PS Thank you to all hospitalero/as everywhere, for all you do for us, including the ‘unseen’ effort you put into keeping us safe, despite the problems we might bring to your door! :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
#36
There is a reliable way of telling whether you’ve been bitten by bedbugs ... but you have to do it as soon as you get out of the bed .... simply look for blood!
But surely that depends on the bedbugs having been squished, which doesn't always happen!
 
#37
But surely that depends on the bedbugs having been squished, which doesn't always happen!

The blood was from my ankles and feet ...
I assume it had flowed feely due to the anticoagulant the bugs injected to facilitate their meal.
But I am a neophyte when it comes to being bitten by them ... just the once.
Though I’ve seen them a number of times ... usually hiding in the edges of mattresses that I’ve turned over in my search for them.
 

Anamiri

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#38
The blood was from my ankles and feet ...
I assume it had flowed feely due to the anticoagulant the bugs injected to facilitate their meal.
But I am a neophyte when it comes to being bitten by them ... just the once.
Though I’ve seen them a number of times ... usually hiding in the edges of mattresses that I’ve turned over in my search for them.
I can attest to that. I was bitten liberally, pretty much the only area I wasn't bitten was thankfully my face. The wee monsters really made a meal of me.
I didn't realise until later in the day when I began to itch and red marks appeared.
When I went back to the bed and pulled back the sheet, it was dotted everywhere with blood spots.
 
Last edited:

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#39
FYI

DON'T Google images - there are some gross photos out there!
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016)
Future (God-willing): Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo (2018)
#40
Lavender oil is wonderful at alleviating the itch of any bites. Can be purchased in farmacias (lavendula)
 
#41
Lavender oil is wonderful at alleviating the itch of any bites. Can be purchased in farmacias (lavendula)

Yep ... that’s what I used on mine.
I carry a tiny bottle with me always.

I was lucky to notice the blood so soon. I used the Lavender immediately and whenever they began itching again. They were gone within about 30 hours.

I was surprised at the size of the blood spots ... and the colour .... the little horrors were still on their starters!
 

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