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Mysterious rash/ bites: carpet beetles/ elastic?

(13 Posts)
JellyWobble88 Fri 06-Jan-17 17:15:09

Can anyone help? My adult daughter and I are desperately trying to figure out what has caused her rash. It first appeared on my daughter when she put on some leggings that she had just bought that day. They are furry on the inside and she happened to wear them in bed. (The leggings are polyester and elastane.) When she woke up, there was a horrible red rash along the elastic of the waistband and ankles (i.e. under the clothes, so less likely to be bed bugs). There were also isloated bite-like spots on other parts of her body. Over the subsequent 10 days, she has had odd "bites" every night. She had just one on her eye lid, some on her forearms, some on her ankles.
There are a number of possible causes, but none of them match the history and evidence. We have considered: carpet beetles, fleas, bed bugs, allergy and none of them fit. Yesterday she went to the doctor, who said "don't worry about it!" This morning, she had slept with an elastic hair tie around her wrist and, when she took it off, she had nasty bite-like redness and swelling exactly along that line. Research suggests it could be bits of carpet beetle attracted by the static caused by the elastic, but that seems improbable. And the only evidence of carpet beetles is possibly one wing. The three other people in the house have no problems. We don't have pets and we don't spend time around animals. Nor is there any evidence of rodents or birds nesting anywhere in or near our house. The bites are not in a row like bed bug bites are supposed to be, and there are no blood spots on the bedding, nor evidence of insect faeces.
We have changed all of the bedding, cleared her room of clutter, changed the duvet (from feather to synthetic), taken out all soft items from the room, bagged up the leggings and put them outside, sprayed the mattress with permethrin, put down diatomaceous earth on the (completely synthetic) carpet, changed all the pillows (and bagged up or washed the old ones but not put them back in the room). We have searched everywhere for any signs of bugs. Using a microscope, I have examined every possible suspect, but only found bits of fluff and just one wing that could have been from a brown carpet beetle. I have just put down some glue traps on the floor and on the bed but haven't caught any yet. She was visiting for the holidays and stays in that room irregularly throughout the year. The last visitor to use that room had no problems.
Has anyone any ideas or experienced anything similar? We would be very grateful.
Thank you!

wowfudge Fri 06-Jan-17 19:47:02

Have you changed your washing powder or fabric conditioner recently? If not, has the formulation of what you use changed - customer services of the manufacturer should be able to tell you.

JellyWobble88 Fri 06-Jan-17 23:03:48

Dear Wowfudge
Thank you very much for your idea and for taking the trouble to think about this. I am using the same detergent and softener as before. The first and worst rash was from the brand new fleece leggings she wore so I think it probably isn't my washing chemicals.

Iamdobby63 Sat 07-Jan-17 12:11:02

May sound a bit 'out there' but I wonder if she is allergic to elastic. Perhaps the leggings have a particular type that has triggered the allergy and is now more sensitive to it.

It just sticks me as odd that it appears localised to where elastic has been.

Feel free to ignore me if it's ridiculous, lol.

wowfudge Sat 07-Jan-17 14:20:45

Yes dobby - that's why I thought about washing powder, etc because the rash seems localised to where there is close contact to the fabrics from the elastic. But, is your daughter allergic to latex perhaps? It's in elastic, rubber gloves, plasters. She could try an anti-histamine and see if the rash goes down.

JellyWobble88 Sat 07-Jan-17 14:25:45

Thank you, that is very interesting. I have been looking up urticaria and hives and I think you might be right. Still haven't caught any bugs in the traps so allergy looking more likely. Pattern of bite-like spots on other parts of body still a bit odd, but I think with hives it can be like that. Many, many thanks. I haven't done mumsnet before. It's so kind of you to take this trouble.

pklme Sat 07-Jan-17 22:24:26

Sometimes an allergy just gets triggered so appears to come out of nowhere. I can't wear always pants trimmed with elastic lace (all of them!). Give her antihistamine and try avoiding elastic for a few days.

Namechangingbastard Sat 07-Jan-17 23:40:34

We had carpet beetles when we first moved into our house. It was rampant with them but we were never bitten...didn't know they could! I'm thinking if it's always a covered area possibly just heat lumps?

Iamdobby63 Sun 08-Jan-17 09:56:47

Yes I do know people that allergies have just sprung up on all of a sudden.

Brightredpencil Sun 08-Jan-17 10:12:25

I had an elastin allergy spring up from no where as a child. It lasted about 6 months and then I was fine. Very odd!

Gingernaut Sun 08-Jan-17 10:16:45

Latex allergy is the most likely.

If she wore the clothes unwashed, the reaction could be the chemicals used on the stored fabric.

Insecticides, flame retardants, fungicides etc., however, if it's happening with other things, it's possibly the latex.

Spam88 Sun 08-Jan-17 10:27:45

I was going to suggest hives, if you're prone to them then just pressure on your skin (such as from elastic) can cause them.

I didn't think carpet beetles bit? And I really don't think you need to worry about bedbugs. We had them a couple of years ago (Worst. Thing. Ever.) - it was only a small infestation (pest control man only ever found one young bug) but the droppings etc were still really obvious in the corners of the bedsheets. So with the number of 'bites' she has I don't think you'd have to look to hard for evidence of them.

previously1474907171 Sat 14-Jan-17 01:03:34

Carpet beetle larvae can cause irritation, as far as I am aware they don't bite.

I recently discovered that some countries are using a very nasty insecticide on fabrics that can take many washes to remove and in some cases it lingers permanently. This is not the exact article I read but it might give you some insight nowtoronto.com/lifestyle/ecoholic/whats-that-chemical-smell-on-new-clothing/

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