Life Advice


Health & Spirit

Annie's Mailbox for 11/9/2017

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar on

Dear Annie: I often feel sharp bites like pinpricks on different places of my body, especially at night. At first, it happened only in the bedroom, but now I get them while sitting in my family room and even in my car. I thought it might be bedbugs, but an exterminator ruled that out. He said he had no idea what was causing the bites and couldn't help. A second exterminator told me the same thing, so I was really disappointed in them. But the bites are becoming worse. I'm not imagining them, because other members of my family have experienced the bites, as well.

We cannot see the bugs, but we know we are being bitten. It is unpleasant living this way, and we certainly don't want to spread the problem to others. I am so frustrated that we cannot get this diagnosed and treated. Can you tell us where to turn? -- Twice Bitten

Dear Bitten: In many states, it is illegal for exterminators to apply pesticides without knowing the type of bug they are targeting. Talk to your doctor, and also see a dermatologist to find out whether you have physical evidence of bites and can identify the culprits. Some doctors consider "invisible bugs" to be psychological in origin, but there are plenty of tiny mites that cannot easily be seen.

You may also have an infection or allergy. Have you made any changes to your environment (new shampoo, soap or detergent, recent gardening, getting a pet)? Wash all your clothes, sheets, towels, etc., in hot, soapy water and put them in the dryer. Seal blankets and other items in plastic bags. Clean the floors and carpets. And now we're going to do the same because your letter made us itchy.

Dear Annie: I have given baby showers for each of my close friends. However, these same friends are now expecting showers for their second and third kids, too.

I believe every child is a reason for celebration. But I find it tacky for them to think everyone should attend another large baby shower within two years. I am happy to visit the mother and baby after the child is born and bring a gift. But has etiquette changed so much that there are multiple baby showers within the same family? -- Still Friends

Dear Still: No, etiquette has not changed that much. The intent of a baby shower is to welcome the new child into the world and provide necessary items for the child's care. With subsequent births, those items can be handed down, making another shower unnecessary.

However, it is OK to have a second shower if the guest list is small and limited to family, very close friends and those not invited to the first one. Also, it's OK if there is a large gap between births (making hand-me-downs less likely) or a couple has moved to a new city with new friends. And some friends host a "shower" for the overwhelmed parents, which is also fine. Of course, whether or not to participate is entirely up to you.

Dear Annie: I read a response to "Disappointed in Ohio," who complained that the husband of one of her friends kept attending their regular all-girl get-togethers.

I am part of a small group of women who worked at a bank together 60 years ago. We have been having lunch for several years. One of the women developed Alzheimer's and lives in a care facility. When she could no longer drive to our lunches, her husband brought her to the restaurant and picked her up when we were done. After a while, we invited him to stay. We enjoy his company. Sometimes another friend's husband comes along, and the two men eat at a separate table and visit, leaving us to have our "girl chat."

I have a feeling that when his wife can no longer come, we will still invite him to join us. -- Omaha

This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2012. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at



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