Bed bug bites are itchy welts caused by common bed bugs. They appear on exposed skin, such as the face and hands. The bites appear as clustered red marks, often forming a line. Some people may develop a mild or severe allergic reaction 24 hours and 3 days later. To prevent bed bug bites, inspect surroundings and eliminate bed bugs. Treatment mainly includes self-care and OTC medicines.
What are Bed Bug Bites?
Bed bug bites are skin irritation caused by a bed bug bite. These tiny insects may bite people and other warm-blooded creatures, sucking their blood, and leaving behind itchy, flaming welts on the skin. Bed bugs are typically active at night and frequently seen in beds and other places where people sleep. It’s vital to take precautions to avoid bed bug infestations and, if required, get treatment for bites because they can be challenging to get rid of. According to the National Center of Biotechnology Information, the prevalence rate of bed bug infestations in apartments and single houses was 5.4% and 11.6%, respectively. The prevalence rate of bed bug infestations varied across different geographical regions, with the east and west of Karun River having rates of 10.3% and 8.5%, respectively.
How to Identify Bed Bug Bites?
Bed bug bites can be identified by their characteristic appearance and location. They usually appear as red, itchy welts and are often found in clusters or a line pattern on exposed skin areas such as the face, neck, arms, and legs. A bedbug bite can present as an itchy spot on your skin. On people who have light skin tones, the bites appear red. On people who have darker skin, they bites are usually purple. They may be harder to visualise on dark skin. Bed bug bites might be confused with other insect bites, skin rashes, or hives, and it’s critical to search for additional indicators of bed bugs, such as little blood stains on bedding, tiny white eggs, or a musty smell. If you suspect bed bug bites, seek expert medical help to confirm the diagnosis and choose the best course of treatment.
Hives or Bed Bugs:
Hives and bed bug bites can cause red, itchy welts on the skin, making it difficult to distinguish between them. However, some differences in their appearance and symptoms can help with identification:
- Usually, appear immediately after a bite
- An allergic reaction to foods, medicines, or other substances can cause it
- It may be accompanied by other symptoms such as difficulty breathing, nausea, and vomiting
Bed bug bites:
- Typically occur in clusters or a line pattern
- It may be found on exposed skin areas such as the face, neck, arms, and legs
- Other signs of bed bugs may accompany it, such as small blood spots on sheets, tiny white eggs, or a musty, sweet odor.
Bedbug Bites vs Fleas:
Bed bugs and flea bites can create red, itchy welts on the skin, leading to confusion. There are some distinctions between the two, however:
Bed bug bites:
- Most frequently encountered on exposed skin regions, including the face, neck, arms, and legs, typically appear in clusters or a line pattern.
- Other bed bug indications, such as slight blood stains on bedding, tiny white eggs, or a musty, sweet smell, could also be present.
- Flea bites usually occur in tiny clusters or as a single bite.
- Most commonly found on the legs and ankles.
- It may accompanied other symptoms, such as intense itching and fleas or flea droppings in the environment.
Bedbug Bites vs. Spider Bites:
Bed bug bites and spider bites can cause red, itchy welts on the skin and may be mistaken for each other. However, there are some key differences to look out for:
Bed bug bites:
- Typically occur in a line or cluster pattern
- Found on exposed skin areas like the face, neck, arms, legs
- Signs of bed bugs such as blood spots, eggs, or odor may accompany it
- Usually occur as a single bite
- It can be found anywhere on the body
- It may cause symptoms such as pain, swelling, and muscle cramps (depending on the type of spider).
Types of Bed Bugs:
The three kinds of bed bugs are C. lectularius, C. hemipterus, and L. boueti, but only one-bed bug feeds on humans, Cimex lectularius.
Cimex lectularius: Cimex lectularius is a tiny, reddish-brown, flattened insect that feeds on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals. It is commonly known as the “bed bug” because it infests beds and other sleeping areas. Bed bugs are considered pests due to their bites, which can cause itching and skin irritation. They are also notoriously difficult to eradicate, as they can hide in tiny cracks and crevices and have developed resistance to many insecticides. Despite their nuisance factor, bed bugs do not transmit diseases to humans.
How do Bedbugs Spread?
Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded animals. They are expert hitchhikers and can easily move from one place to another through:
Travel: Bed bugs can easily spread through travel, hiding in luggage, clothing, or furniture. They can also easily spread in hotel rooms, hostels, dormitories, and other places where people are frequently coming and going.
Second-hand items: Bed bugs can also spread through the sale or exchange of infested second-hand items, such as furniture, clothing, and electronics.
Human contact: Bed bugs can also spread through human contact, as they can crawl from one person to another, especially if people are in close proximity to each other.
Symptoms of a Bedbug Bite:
Here are some common symptoms of a bedbug bite:
Itching: Bedbug bites can cause intense itching that lasts several days.
Redness: The bite area may become red and swollen.
Raised welts: Bites may form raised bumps, especially in people sensitive to the bedbugs’ saliva.
Bites in a cluster or line pattern: Bedbugs often bite in groups or lines, which can help distinguish them from bites from other insects.
Absence of a sting: Bedbugs do not sting, so the bite does not cause pain or immediate discomfort.
What are the Complications of Bedbug Bites?
While bedbug bites themselves are usually not severe and do not cause significant health complications, they can lead to several secondary effects and side effects that may impact one’s quality of life:
Infection: Bedbug bites can become infected if scratched or broken open, leading to a disease that may require antibiotics to treat.
Allergic reactions: In some people, bedbug bites can cause an allergic reaction that can be severe, causing itching, redness, swelling, and hives.
Insomnia: Bedbugs are most active at night, and their bites can disrupt sleep and cause insomnia.
Emotional distress: Bedbugs can cause significant emotional pain, as people may feel embarrassed or ashamed about having them in their homes or feel anxious or stressed about being bitten.
Spread of disease: While bedbugs do not transmit diseases, their presence in a home can lead to an increase in cockroaches, mice, and other pests that may carry diseases.
How to Prevent Bedbug Bites?
There are several steps that individuals can take to reduce the risk of bedbug bites and prevent infestations:
Inspect hotel rooms: Before settling into a hotel room, inspect the bed, headboard, and nearby furniture for bedbugs.
Keep luggage off the floor: When staying in a hotel, keep luggage off the floor and avoid placing it on the bed or other furniture.
Wash and dry clothes: After returning from a trip, wash and dry all clothing on high heat to kill any bedbugs that may have entered the luggage.
Vacuum regularly: Regular vacuuming can help reduce the number of bedbugs in a home.
Use bedbug-proof covers: Encasements designed to prevent bedbugs from entering or escaping from mattresses and box springs can help prevent infestations.
Seal cracks and crevices: Sealing cracks and crevices in the home can prevent bedbugs from entering and hiding in these areas.
Use insecticides: Insecticides specifically designed for bedbugs can effectively prevent infestations, but it is essential to follow the label instructions carefully and use them in conjunction with other preventive measures.
Treatment Options for Bed Bug Bites:
The treatment of bedbug bites varies depending on the severity of the symptoms but can include the following:
Topical creams: Over-the-counter creams, such as hydrocortisone or calamine lotion, can be applied to the bites to help relieve itching and reduce inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can help reduce swelling and relieve pain.
Antihistamines: Over-the-counter antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl), can help relieve itching and reduce the risk of an allergic reaction.
Cold compresses: Placing a cold compress on the affected area, such as a cold cloth or ice pack, can help reduce swelling and relieve itching.
Prescribed medications: In severe cases, a healthcare provider may prescribe more potent drugs, such as prednisone or topical steroid creams, to help relieve symptoms.
Bedbug extermination methods: To effectively treat bedbug bites, it is vital to eliminate the bedbugs themselves. This can be done by using insecticides or calling a professional pest control company.
Home Remedies for Bed Bug Bites:
Here are some home remedies for bedbug bites with scientific backing:
Aloe vera: Aloe vera has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, making it an effective remedy for bedbug bites. Aloe vera gel or sap can help soothe the skin, reduce itching, and promote healing when applied topically.
Baking soda: Baking soda has a pH-neutralizing effect that can help reduce itching and discomfort from bedbug bites. Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the affected area.
Ice: Applying a cold compress, such as an ice pack, to bedbug bites can help reduce itching, swelling, and redness. Ice numbs the nerve endings in the skin, providing temporary relief from itching and discomfort.
Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that make it practical for treating insect bites, including bedbug bites. To use, dilute the tea tree oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and apply it to the affected area using a cotton ball or swab.
Calamine lotion: Calamine lotion is a topical treatment that contains zinc oxide, which has been shown to have a calming effect on irritated skin. Calamine lotion can be applied to bedbug bites to reduce itching and soothe the skin.
When to Consult a Doctor?
It is essential to consult a doctor if you get itchy bumps on your skin but are unaware of what it’s actually. In case you keep on ignoring the existing danger may lead to adverse health issues.
You can consult professional doctors at Your Doctors Online and get the best prescription for bed bug bites immediately.
FAQs about Bedbugs Bite Answered by Your Doctors Online Team
Bedbugs are most active at night and feed on exposed skin, such as the neck, face, arms, and legs.
Bedbugs are small, flat, reddish-brown insects about the size of an apple seed. They are often mistaken for ticks or fleas.
Bedbug bites usually itch for several days to a week after being bitten.
Bedbug bites usually heal within a few days to a week. In some cases, they may take longer to heal and leave scars.
Bedbugs can bite multiple times per night, primarily if they cannot feed as often as they would like.
Bedbugs do not spread disease but can cause various physical and psychological symptoms, including skin irritation, itching, and anxiety. Sometimes, bedbug bites can lead to secondary infection if they are scratched open and become infected.
Bed bugs can be transported from one place to another. The bed bugs travel in folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else they can hide.