Bed Bugs Biting | Home Remedies & Treatment of Bed Bug Bites
Bed bugs are bloodsuckers - literally! They solely depend on blood for nutrition. Bed bugs prefer to lurk very close to where you rest, such as near your bed, furniture or couch. They are especially active at night when you're fast asleep.
Bed bugs crawl out of their hiding and carefully insert their sharp proboscis into your skin to extract blood. In about 10 minutes, they will be engorged with enough blood to last them for days.
Although bed bug bites do not pose any serious health risks, they can be pretty itchy and uncomfortable. Sometimes, an allergic reaction may occur, requiring medical attention.
Bed bugs don't always leave marks on your skin. In some instances, the bites may take up to hours or even days to show up. Hence, the best way to know if you have a bed bug infestation is to do a thorough inspection to spot live, flat, reddish-brown critters.
How to Identify Bed Bug Bites
When bed bugs attack you at night, they often bite the parts of your body that are uncovered, like the neck, legs, hands, shoulders, or even your face. Before taking a blood meal, bed bugs release a small amount of anaesthetic so that you won't feel as they break your skin.
In most instances, symptoms do not show up immediately. In fact, bed bug bite symptoms can take up to 14 days to show up! Some victims may not even develop any noticeable marks at all.
Bed bug bites can look closely similar to those from other insects like mosquitoes and fleas. However, they tend to be concentrated in a specific area or arranged in a line/zigzag pattern. Normally, the bites appear as small, red bumps with a noticeable black spot at the center. Some victims may develop inflamed, fluid-filled blisters.
Another efficient way to identify bed bug bites is if you notice blood stains on your bedding. These critters take a good 10 minutes of sucking your blood to store enough to last them for days. After withdrawing, some blood may be left oozing from the broken skin, hence the strange blood spot on your beddings.
Check Out: How do Bed Bug Bites Look Like
Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites
One thing that sets bed bug bites apart from those of other insects is that they tend to occur in tight lines or clusters of tiny red marks on a specific area of your skin.
At first, you may develop a burning sensation that causes uncomfortable itchiness. Subsequently, the bitten spot develops red bumps commonly referred to as wheals. The most sensitive victims may develop swellings that appear like a blister or skin inflammation.
Scratching a bed bug bite can result in bleeding or infection, sometimes requiring medical attention.
Check Out: How to Check for a Bed Bug Infestation
Are Bed Bug Bites Dangerous?
Bed bug bites cause very itchy and irritating welts but, they are often not dangerous. Unlike other pests like mosquitoes known to transmit serious diseases like yellow fever, malaria, and West Nile virus, bed bugs don't spread diseases.
However, far from mosquitoes which you can easily control with homemade remedies, bed bugs are pretty challenging to get rid of once they infest. They lie low throughout the day and are pretty active at night. Once you've drifted into sleep, they will swiftly move out of their hiding and suck your blood for minutes before returning to the hiding spot, in wait for the next blood meal.
The bad news is that bed bugs have developed a resistance to most pesticides and DIY control methods. Meaning, they will continuously suck blood out of you and your loved ones, and sometimes they'll leave unsightly red marks.
The severity of bed bug bites entirely depends on how an individual reacts to them. In worse cases, bed bugs have been known to cause serious bouts of mental anxiety and stress. Sadly, these hardy pests can deny you any peace of mind for years!
Health Risks Associated With Bed Bug Bites
Though these annoying pests may not be directly connected to any sicknesses, medical experts have recorded numerous severe side effects resulting from bed bug infestations.
For most victims, the discomfort of having bed bugs in the house and the unnerving idea of them sucking blood out of their loved ones while asleep is highly stressful and sleep-depriving.
Even if bed bugs themselves are somewhat harmless, they'll still expose you to the following potential health risks if left untreated for long:
• Bed bug bites can be pretty irritating and itchy, causing a strong urge to scratch the discomfort away. Continuously scratching the bites can result in breaking skin and bleeding. Like with any other open wound, you can get serious infections due to bacteria and germs.
• A single bed bug can live for up to a year or more while feeding on your blood. Many bites from a severe infestation for a long time can put you or your children at potential risks of anemia. Though possible, the condition is rare as it would require thousands of bed bugs feeding on you once a week to become anemic.
• Bed bugs' saliva can trigger severe allergies. The allergies can be life-threatening, especially in hypersensitivity victims. Some bed bug allergy symptoms may include anaphylaxis, swollen tongue and lips, tightened throat and chest, and wheezing (breathing problems).
• Bed bug droppings contain a chemical known as histamine. Histamine can trigger allergies and cause asthma attacks in highly susceptible victims.
Home Remedies For Bed Bug Bites
Bed bug bites themselves are not very serious and can effectively be treated using home remedies or over-the-counter medications. The following remedies will provide relief and help soothe the bites:
• Wrap an ice pack in a clean towel or place a cold clothe over the bitten areas.
• Prepare a thin paste using baking soda and water and lightly massage/apply over the bitten spots.
• Wash the bitten area with mild soap and water to reduce infection risks and soothe the itchiness.
• Though more findings are still required to confirm effectiveness, you can apply essential oils like chamomile oil and camphor essential oil over the bite to provide relief.
Over-The-Counter Treatment For Bed Bug Bites
Sometimes bed bug bites can persist, requiring you to combine home remedies with over-the-counter treatments. You can safely use the following treatments to relieve the itchiness and soothe the bites:
• If you experience itching, apply an anti-itch cream directly on the bite to soothe the itchiness.
• In case you have a burning sensation or mild allergy, take an antihistamine drug to provide relief. Note that antihistamines won't cure allergies, but they will help manage the symptoms.
• In rare cases where swelling and pain occurs, take an over-the-counter pain killer.
Treating Bed Bug Bites On Babies And Children
Bed bug bites can especially be distressing and uncomfortable for young babies and children. If you notice or suspect that your baby has been bitten by bugs, immediately inspect their bed, bed clothing, mattress, headboard, and any other bed bug hiding spots in their room.
Once you confirm that, indeed, the red spots or symptoms are as a result of bed bug bites, the safest thing to do is wash your baby nicely with soap and warm water. It's also safe to apply a cold compress or an authentic calamine lotion to help relieve the itching and irritation. A calamine lotion is a readily available over-the-counter topical medication that's safe for babies and children.
Depending on their age, ask your baby not to scratch the bitten spot to prevent risks of infection. Conversely, you can trim your baby's nails to protect them.
Note: You must consult with your paediatrician before administering any oral medications or steroid-based topicals on your baby.
When To See A Doctor
Bed bug bites can cause severe side effects requiring you to seek help from your physician. Contact a medical professional if you experience the following:
• Severe allergic reactions like anaphylactic shock which can cause breathing problems.
• Too many bites or blisters that may require your doctor to prescribe the best treatment.
• Bad skin allergies like redness and swelling.
• Severe skin infections even before they start oozing discharge.
How to Prevent Bed Bugs Biting?
Unfortunately, these annoying creatures do not discriminate between rural, urban, clean or dirty homes. Every home is highly vulnerable to a bed bug infestation at any time. Getting rid of clutter will minimize the bed bug hiding spots, but it won't keep them away.
By simply spending a night in the most luxurious hotel, you could give the creatures a free ride back to your home unknowingly. Hence, the best bed bug prevention method is regular inspections to spot early signs of an infestation.
Below are professional tips to keep bed bugs away from your home:
• Cover power plugs at all times - Bed bugs conveniently hide in power sockets during extermination and travel in the walls via the electrical wirings to other locations in your house.
• Vacuum your floors regularly - Bed bugs aren't limited to your bed and mattress alone. They can hide in your carpeted floors and along baseboards. So, it's important to vacuum regularly to ensure no bugs are hiding there.
• Secure your mattress - The most effective way to secure your mattress from bed bugs is by using airtight encasements with zippers. This way, you prevent bugs from moving in or out of your mattress and box springs.
• Thoroughly inspect used items - Keenly inspect any signs of bed bugs before introducing any second-hand furniture or electrical appliances into your house. Even if the items appear 'clean,' it's crucial that you check all openings and vents as they provide perfect hiding spots for bugs.
• Secure your clothes in a vacuum-sealed bag - When visiting a new place or spending a night in a hotel room, it's important to secure your clothes in an airtight bag so that the invasive creatures won't access them.
• Seek help from a trained pest exterminator - Treating or trying to get rid of bed bugs can be a very complex and demanding process. While bed bug home remedies may not provide the best results, an expert will safely, effectively, and permanently exterminate the bugs from your home or office.
Professional Bed Bug Control
When infested by bed bugs, experts recommend seeking help from a licensed pest exterminator. This way, you do away with all the guesswork and are guaranteed a pest-free home that's safe for you and your loved ones.
Professionals have experience exterminating bed bugs. They are trained to use the most effective bed bug treatments safely and employ both chemical and non-chemical methods where effective. In addition, a pest control company near you may have access to the best insecticides and appropriate equipment that may be hard for you to get, rent or use by yourself.
Check Out: DIY or Hire Professionals for Bed Bugs
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