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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Viral Infections

Question: Red dots Everywhere!

 JennyC - Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:28 am

I went to bed last night noticing a red dot on my arm and this morning there were 7 on both arms. It's now midnight and there are a few more. My roommate, Mara, has started noticing red dots on herself too...I've had chicken pox before and these don’t seem like they are chicken pox only because they really don't itch and they are so small...but I wouldn't know. However, Mara hasn't had chicken pox before (BTW my roommate itches) We are concerned... so far other than the dots we don't feel sick. Do you have any suggestions of what else it could be?
- Jenn and Mara
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:04 pm

User avatar Hello -

I hope you won't be offended by my first thought on this, but given that you have had chickenpox already (even though your roommate has not), which makes chickenpox a less likely explanation, there is an odd but very real possibility that is often overlooked: bedbugs. These pests are making a comeback in the US and are not necessarily due to anyone's personal hygeine. They are usually inherited, in apartment buildings, dormatories, etc. They are small, nocturnal, and leave little red dots (bite marks) which can cause itching.

Of course the problem could be something viral, and in any case most annoying problems like these will wind up being shared by roommates one way or the other. Bedbugs are actually a major problem right now, mainly because people are unaware of them and also feel they somehow reflect on their lifestyle, which they usually don't, any more than mosquitos do.

If the dots increase or spread, and especially if other symptoms begin to show up, then something viral is more likely. In the absence of any new symptoms the pest explanation seems fairly likely. Usually the bites are treated with topical steroid creams, which help reduce the itching and somewhat reduce the redness.

It's just a guess, but since there's been such a comback of these little pests I think it's worth considering. Since they are nocturnal and are very good at hiding during the day, they're not usually spotted by their victims, who wind up wondering if they're coming down with chickenpox or measles (not unreasonable guesses unless ruled out by history, as in your case).

If anything more develops please let us know. If the problem continues, by all means have a doctor look at the bumps and maybe try a hydrocortisone cream to reduce the rash.

Good luck to you. Stay in touch.

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