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Insect bites

This is a bit of a weird one. I came back from Cuba on the 19th December and that evening I noticed I was covered in insect bites that I didn't have when I got on the plane. Must have had over 30, mostly across my legs, some on my arms and back. They didn't swell up, they were just super itchy. I had my Cimzia injection the day I landed back in the UK too.

For the next few nights I was scratching like mad in my sleep, and the morning before xmas eve I woke up in the worst flare I've had in months, and had to go to the hospital to have both knees drained and injected with steroids on xmas eve.

Whilst my knees are a bit better, I'm still flaring in hips, knees and elbows, and very fatigued. The weird thing is, my bites haven't gone away and are still itchy. They are really itchy at night when I get warm under the duvet. Since then though, no more spots have surfaced.

This is over a month of these itchy spots - I've only just realised, they might not be insect bites from Cuba after all? And even if they were, wouldn't they have gone by now? And finally, if my immune system just can't get rid of them, is that why i'm still flaring despite being in my 10th week of Cimzia?

I know I need to ask my doc all of these questions, and I will when I next see him which is just under 3 weeks. Just needed to get my thoughts out to you guys and ask if I'm being normal or crazy to think these itchy spots are related.

13 Replies
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Exactly the same happened to me from Antigua. I needed antibiotics eventually x yes talk to doc x

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Ahh did it cause a flare too? They're not infected I don't think, I've had infected insect bites before that swell massively but these are small, just incredibly itchy x

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Yes massive flare. But of course it could be a drug reaction too so still speak to docs. It took me 10 weeks to get sorted. Of course mine could be totally different and just a coincidence

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Are you sure they are insect bites and not a drug reaction?

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That's what I'm not sure about now. I don't seem to remember having them when I boarded the plane to leave Cuba, and I dont remember if I noticed them between getting home and doing my injection just an hour later. So it might be a reaction. But I would think that if it was a reaction, I would have developed more itchy spots after subsequent injections. Although, usually when i get bites they swell up more than this.

All will be revealed when I talk to my doctor I'm sure! Just trying to find some answers in my head haha

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Good to get it checked. Do you feel OK?

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Yeah not unwell, just in a rubbish flare and very fatigued. x

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Hi Savanna...

This is awful for you really hope you can get respite

Best stuff I found to stop dreadful irritation was Eurax lotion, not sure if you can still get it or if it’s only the cream available now. More recently I have used Aloe Gel. Lay a very thick amount over the affected area for as long as you can. I remember it was only Aloe that helped clear up about a dozen wasp stings I took on my leg.

I have had flares following a nasty set of wasp stings. I reckoned it was a crazy response by my faulty immune system. In fact I had several severe reactions that made me quite ill before I was diagnosed with RA. I work outside and over the years have been stung and bitten many times but now I have to watch it carefully as my body reacts in a different way. Not sure if I am making sense. First sign of bite/sting I take antihistamines. Sounds like you did pick up bites abroad they often take a while to come up.

Take care and definitely discuss with your Drs.

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That sounds good, I'll have a look for some, thank you! Yes it's most likely bites that are taking ages to heal :( I'll definitely discuss at my appointment. x

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Try taking some anti-histamines and if they help then it does seems its a reaction to ya meds! I'm on Cimzia and have developed very dry skin, ( no itching ) but my nurse always ask if I have a rash, best of luck! 🤗X

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Sounds as if you need someone to look at your 'insect bites' If they are super itchy and persisting a long time could they be scabies, for example? (People forget about scabies all the time and they are really common) And if it's a drug reaction then it needs working out - which drug?

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My friend came back from Cuba with same symptoms, wasn't scabies but GP thought maybe flea/bed bug bites picked up on plane.

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You need to be revered to the infectious diseases consultant at the hospital. I had a really nasty reaction from a mosquito bite in Sri Lanka last year. 1 year later I’m still struggling from the infection. Named Chikunjuyna . Good luck in getting it diagnosed

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