How Bed Bug Rash

How bed bug rash

What are the symptoms of a bed bug rash? Find out how to recognize bed bug bites rash and what remedies can help treat the itch and clear the skin rashes.

A person who is bitten by bed bugs may develop symptoms such as bed bug rashes that can be extremely itchy however the rash itself is not detrimental to anyone’s health.

While the reddness and swells does not clear easily, the discomfort and itchiness can be easily treated with remedies that include medications as well as natural remedies.

What Are the First Signs and Symptoms of a Bed Bug Bite Rash?

It is very common for a bed bug rash to be mistaken for common household insects bites rash since a bed bug rash can look almost identical to those caused by other parasitic blood feeding insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, ants and lice.

In fact, most people do not know that they are bitten by bed bugs and may assume the rash as skin allergy without further notice. However the bites of bed bugs can be easily recognizable once you know what are the symptoms to look for.

The first tell tale signs of bed bug bites are the multiple small or raised red bumps on the skin that will always appear in a clustered pattern or in a row because of the tendency of the bloodsucking bugs to feed on the same location more than once.

The next tell tale sign to look for will be that you will get bitten every night while you are sleeping and develop large amount of these rashes every day, especially on the back, legs and arms which are common sites for bed bug bites.

Either way, for many people, these red bumps will often manifest hours or days after the actual biting. The bitten spots may soon begin to itch and if scratched, the bite area can become severly infected and inflammed.

How Long Does the Bite Rash Last?

How long a bed bug rash last is really dependent on the individuals being bitten. Some people will not have any reaction at all while for others who are skin sensitive to allergies, they may develop a skin rash together with the bite welts that can become extremely itchy as they get bitten repeatedly.


Image credit: unforth

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Typically bed bug rashes will show up a few hours after the actual biting but there are some cases whereby the skin rash does not appear until a few days or even two weeks later since this is dependent on the allergy reaction to the person that is being bitten.


Image credit: afpmb

Generally, the rash of bed bugs will last for two or three days and then slowly fade away. However the rashes can last much longer if the person is more allergic prone. Often it will require some medical intervention to finally clear up the skin rash completely.

Click here to see more photos of bites from bed bugs.

How to Treat & Stop the Itch?

Typically, steroid creams or oral antihistamines can be use to treat the bed bug rash to help alleviate the itchy feeling.

Topical steroid creams such as hydro-cortisone Cortaid Intensive Therapy can be very effective in helping to stop the itch and resolve the rash quickly.

Other oral steroids like Prednisone can also be use to treat the itch of a beg bug rash. Oral antihistamines like Benadryl can also be effective but may cause drowsiness so they should be use only at night. Other oral antihistamines that can be use during the day are Zyrtec and Claritin.

There are also other topical lotions and creams that can be applied to the rash to stop the itch. The best ones contain a mix of diphendrydramine to stop the itch and pramoxine to help with the pain. Similarly, creams and lotions that have benzyl alcohol can be use to treat pain and itching too.

Other natural remedies you can try to treat the rash include:

    Applying lukewarm water (preferably over 120 degrees F or 50 В°C) immediately to the bites area is also known to provide relief to some people.

Simply washing it regularly with antibacterial soap to keep bacteria from growing and causing infection.

Calamine lotion will help protect the skin as it heals. It will also speed up the drying of the rash and help the area heal faster.

Powdered oatmeal can be added to a lukewarm bath that is soaked in. It will provide relief from not only itching but reduce inflammations and irritation as well. It can also be made into paste and applied directly to the affect areas.

A mixture of salt and baking soda can also be applied to the affected areas to relieve inflammation.

  • A cotton ball dipped in Alka-Seltzer solution can be rubbed on the bed bug rash to help clear it up but should not be used if you are allergic to aspirin.
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    This website’s mission is to provide comprehensive information about bed bugs .
    Popular topics include how to kill bed bugs , bed bug rash , bed bugs treatment and what do bed bugs look like .

    Bedbugs

    Bedbugs are small insects that often live on furniture or bedding. Their bites can be itchy, but do not usually cause other health problems.

    Check if it’s bedbugs

    Jeff March / Alamy Stock Photo

    Bedbugs can hide in many places, including on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.

    Signs of bedbugs include:

    • bites – often on areas exposed while sleeping, like the face, neck and arms
    • spots of blood on your bedding – from the bites or from squashing a bedbug
    • small brown spots on bedding or furniture (bedbug poo)

    Bedbug bites can be red and itchy. They’re often in a line or cluster.

    Otto Pleska / Alamy Stock Photo

    Some people have a reaction to the bites. They can be very itchy and there may be painful swelling.

    How you can treat bedbug bites

    Bedbug bites usually clear up on their own in a week or so.

    Things you can do include:

    • putting something cool, like a clean, damp cloth, on the affected area to help with the itching and any swelling
    • keeping the affected area clean
    • not scratching the bites to avoid getting an infection

    You can ask a pharmacist about:

    • using a mild steroid cream like hydrocortisone cream to ease bedbug bites (children under 10 and pregnant women should get advice from a doctor before using hydrocortisone cream)
    • antihistamines – these may help if the bites are very itchy and you’re unable to sleep

    Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

    • the bites are still very painful, swollen or itchy after trying treatments from a pharmacist
    • the redness around the bites is spreading

    You may have an infection and need treatment with antibiotics.

    Coronavirus update: how to contact a GP

    It’s still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:

    • visit their website
    • use the NHS App
    • call them

    How to get rid of bedbugs

    contact your local council or pest control service – it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get rid of bedbugs yourself because they can be resistant to some insecticides

    wash affected bedding and clothing – use a hot wash (60C) or tumble dry on a hot setting for at least 30 minutes

    put affected clothing and bedding in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer (-16C) for 4 days (alternative to hot washing)

    clean and vacuum regularly – bedbugs are found in both clean and dirty places, but regular cleaning will help you spot them early

    do not keep clutter around your bed

    do not bring secondhand furniture indoors without carefully checking it first

    do not take luggage or clothing indoors without checking it carefully if you have come from somewhere where you know there were bedbugs

    Page last reviewed: 21 January 2019
    Next review due: 21 January 2022

    Bed Bug Rash Pictures, Bite, Symptoms, Treatment, Raised, on Arms, Skin, Cure

    September 22, 2016

    How does bed bug rash look like? Get insights on the bite symptoms, on skin, arms, how to identify and the best treatment for bed bug bite rash.

    Bed bugs feed on blood as their only source of nutrition. The only way to make them mature into adults, they must feed once during each of their immature stage. Adult females also need blood in order to produce eggs. However bed bugs do bite humans, they are not known to transmit diseases to people.

    Identifying bed bug bites

    bed bug bite rash

    Blood spots found on one’s sheets, bites and the presence of bed bug feces and cast skins are some of the indications of a bed bug infestation.

    Bites are commonly found on the parts of the body that are more likely to be exposed to bed bugs during sleep the hands, neck, face, shoulders, legs, and arms. In many cases, bed bug bites are often grouped together in a small area and at times may appear in a line or a zigzag pattern.

    Bites commonly looks like small, flat or raised areas that may become inflamed, itchy, red or blistered. Bed bug bites reactions are not always occur immediately after you are bitten and may take a few days to begin causing symptoms, although, not everyone reacts to bed bug bites in the same manner.

    Why do they bite?

    As we all know bed bugs are blood feeders that depend on blood for their food source, so they must consume blood for them to survive. One bed bug can take more than one bite. Once a bed bug inserts its mouthparts and finds a suitable blood vessel, it will begin feeding.

    Although, finding the right blood vessel may take more than one injection into the skin. In this case, if a sleeping person moves, a feeding bed bug will probably withdraw its mouthparts and begin its search for a blood meal on another part of the body.

    Risks and infections

    Scratching bed bug bites and failure to keep the bites clean and disinfected may lead to a secondary infection that can cause further swelling and bleeding. Children, the elderly, and individuals with weak immune systems, especially those who are bedridden, may develop secondary infections that result from bed bug bites.

    Bed Bug Rash Pictures

    Take a look at our bed bugs slideshow to see photos of bed bugs. Plus, learn where they hide, discover how to identify and treat bed bug rash or bites, and read up on what you can do to prevent a bed bug infestation.

    Bed Bug Rash Symptoms

    May be you have ever woke up with red marks on your body after a good night’s sleep in your bed. In this case you may be been bitten by a small parasite known as bad bug. Bed bug are small insects with a reddish-brown look, they are capable of biting any amount of exposed human or animal skin and they will feed on its blood. These parasites are about the size of an apple seed and they usually hide in many different areas in your bedroom and home, including:

    • Mattresses
    • Crevices along
    • Bed frames
    • Headboards
    • Under any kind of peeling paint
    • They also hide under carpets near the baseboards
    • Near electrical outlets
    • Upholstered furniture seams and or any other object in or around your bed.

    Bed bud rash and bite symptoms

    Identifying bed bug bites is difficult. Bed bud bites usually looks like any other bug bites. While In most people don’t react to bed bugs at all. You can notice bed bug bites by seeing spots that are red, mostly they are darker in the middle area, and the bite is often itchy, but not always. Bites are usually near or on areas of the skin that are directly on the bed sheet.

    One common characteristic of a bed bug bite is they are usually in a pattern either in a rough line or in a cluster. This is due to their feeding habits. They will often bite, pull in blood, move a little, bit, pull in blood, and others.

    A large number of people have allergic reactions to bed bug bites. These reactions cause them to develop a rash, normally referred to bed bug rash. Symptoms that can also appear, but are rare are forming hives or blisters.

    These allergic reactions are caused by a chemical in the bed bug’s saliva that numbs your skin so you cannot feel the bed bug biting you.

    How do bed bugs spread?

    In most cases by hitchhiking. Bed bugs are known to be the most hick hikers. They move from one sites to another by travelling on items such as clothing, furniture, luggage bags, boxes, carpets and mostly beddings. These parasites do not care if your environment is clean or dirty, all they need is a warm host and plenty of creaks and crevices to hiding places.

    Bed bugs crawl as fast as a lady bug. Bed bugs do not fly or jump, although they may look like it. They just crawl very fast.

    Signs of bed bugs

    If you have be bugs in your home, you may not see the bugs themselves very often. But what you will see are signs they are around. You may found spots of blood on your beddings, on upholstered furniture and even on couches.

    Sometimes, you may see spots of blood near the seams of furniture or bedding. You may also see their exoskeletons. Bed bugs have an outer featured shell that they can shed and leave behind.

    You may also see tiny blackish specks on your bed sheets and mattress, which are bed bug excrement. Also you may see eggs. After mating, these female bed bugs lay small white and oval eggs in crack and in crevices. Magnified photographs would show you the eggs clearly, as they are usually difficult to see with your natural eyes.

    How to Cure Bed Bug Rash

    itchy bed bug rash

    Bed bugs normally infest summer cabins, especially at camps, hiking trails shelters and parks. Mostly, when they are found in an urban home they can be traced back to a visit to one of these facilities.

    These parasites are attracted to warmth, which is why they bite us as we sleep. They are also attracted to carbon dioxide, which is what is exhaled by oxygen breathing species.

    They commonly reside in dark areas and crevices near the host. Their only food is blood they obtain from the host. Hosts for these bugs are many different species of vertebrates including canaries, poultry, guinea pigs, cats, dogs, mice, bats and unfortunately man.

    How they feed

    These bugs feed on the host sleeps, generally just before dawn. They will often not seen during the daylight hours unless the infestation is severe.

    These parasites will secure itself to the host’s skin using its claws and then insert its beak into the skin of the host. The beak consists of two tubes (styles); one sucks up the host’s blood while other injects saliva (venom) in the wound.

    This saliva assists in preventing the host’s blood from coagulating to keep it flowing. It also has an anesthetic to numb the feeding area on the host. This saliva is what causes the itching sensation on the host’s skin.

    Feeding based on age

    Adolescents feed for approximately three minutes while and adult may continue to feed on the blood of the host for 10 to 15 minutes.

    Amazingly, bed bugs can survive for 18 months without any oxygen and as much as a year without any blood. The bites cause burning, itching and swelling. The degree of symptoms depends on the host’s susceptibility.

    Typical bite rash

    When these bugs bite an individual, they can develop bed bug rash. These rashes have the ability to cause an extremely irritating itching sensation. The actual rash is not considered to be detrimental to one’s health.

    Sometimes a rash is mistaken for bites that are caused by insects commonly found in a household. These insects include fleas, lice, ants and mosquitoes. The truth is that the majority of individuals are not aware they have been fed on by these bugs. Mostly, they assume the rash is just a skin allergy.

    However, once you are aware of what to look for, it will be easy for you to recognize. One of the first signs is numerous tiny or raised skin bumps. These bumps will always be in a row or clustered pattern. This is because they commonly feed more than one time at the same area.

    Other signs

    The other sign is that the bites will occur nightly while sleeping and the rashes will increase daily. These rashes will usually be located on the legs, arms, neck, face and back, which are the most likely areas. The reason these places are most common sites is because these areas are usually exposed during the night.

    These small bumps will normally manifest hours or even days after the bite. These bumps will then begin to itch, especially when you scratch the bumps, the area may become inflamed resulting to severe infections.

    The bites or welts are misdiagnosed by many physicians as bites from fleas or even scabies. Only around half of the populace notices the very first bite and makes the correlation to these bloodsucking bugs.

    Many reactions to bites are delayed for approximately ten days. People over the age of 65 either react less or are not usually bitten. In one survey, 42% of individuals over 65 years reported no bites or reactions even though there was an ongoing presence.

    Many times medical attention will be necessary for these individuals to eliminate the rash completely.

    Bed Bug Rash Treatment

    bed bug rash pictures

    Bed bug bites are not a cause for immediate medical attention, and normally disappears completely within a few days to a week at most. They do cause anxiety, stress and most times restless nights which are usually worse than the bites themselves.

    Although you can seek a medical advice especially if you are experiencing:

    • You have many red itchy bites and blisters.
    • Your skin becomes red and ooze discharge such as pus.
    • If you have severe itching that is not controlled by over the counter medicines.

    In this case, severe allergic reactions may require an injection of an antihistamine or corticosteroid or epinephrine. You have severe swelling, trouble breathing or feel nauseous, seek urgent medical attention.

    Another complication usually associated with bed bug bites are skin infections due to scratching. If you are bleeding, very red skin around the bite location that is hot to the touch, or you see pus coming from the bites, you should visit your doctor, and immediately get treated for an infection. In most cases, infections usually require an antibiotic cream. However the best way to avoid more complications is to stop scratching at the bites.

    Treating bed bug rash and bites symptoms is not enough. Unless you get rid of the bed bug from your home, you will just continue to get bitten. The most effective way to treat bed bug infestation in your home is to engage a professional exterminator, and one that has experience treating bed bugs. The downside to engaging a professional exterminator is that it can be expensive, and for money just not within their financial means.

    The swelling and redness that is associated with a bite rash does not clear very easily. Although, the itching and discomfort can easily be treated with several remedies including natural remedies and medications.

    Oral antihistamines and steroid creams can be used in treatment regime. These medications will help to ease the itching that is associated with the rash.

    It is very important to keep in mind mot to be tempted to scratch the bites. Scratching the bites only makes the condition worsen and does have the ability to cause a secondary skin infection.

    Natural remedies you can use for a bed bug rash

    • Apply lukewarm water to the area that has been bitten as soon as possible. This will help to relieve some of the symptoms.
    • Just by washing the rash regularly with use of antibacterial soap help to keep the bacteria from growing on the rash and resulting to an infection.
    • Apply a mixture of baking soda and salt to the affected areas will also help to relieve inflammation.
    • Soaking in a lukewarm bath after adding powdered oatmeal will provide some relief from the itching sensation and reduce inflammation. A paste can be made out of the powdered oatmeal and applied to the affected location.
    • A paste can be made from water and baking soda. Rub this paste on the area infected with the rash. Let the paste dry and then peel it off. By doing this will help relieve some of the itchiness.

    Bed Bug Rash on Arm

    These bug bites cab range in severity based on the person being bitten. Some don’t even notice the bite while others swell or even become infected. How to treat bed bug bites? The most popular answer is with baking soda and water to make a paste that you then place on the bite and let dry. Here is exactly how to treat the bites.

    • Make sure to wash the bed bug bites with soap and water. Make a thick sticky paste with the water and baking soda, not too runny and thick enough that it will stay. Let the paste stand until completely dry and then wait an hour or so. Afterwards, gently wash the paste off and pat dry.
    • The gel from aloe plant is good to treat these parasites bites and contains antifungal and antibiotic properties that work great. Simply trim a tip and apply the exposed area to the bite.
    • The most popular suggestion for dealing with bites is using tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is an essential oil derived from steam distillation of the leaves of melaleuca alternifolia. It is the oil from these leaves that are used for medicinal purposes, such as healing cuts, burns, bites, and infections. Tea tree oil is said to have antiseptic and antifungal properties. Also other than treatment for bed bug rash on arm include: acne, lice, thrush, dandruff and many more.

    Note: warnings found on the researchers that tea tree oil may alter hormone levels and unexpected breast enlargement in boys. Undiluted oil may irritate skin or cause redness and blisters. Tea tree oil should not be taken internally. Do not use tea tree oil if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

    Bed Bug Rash on Skin not raised

    The risk of you encountering bed bugs mostly lies is places with high turnover of guests both day and nights time, mostly in places like hospitals, homeless shelter, hotel and motels. The common cause to bed bug infestations may also be linked to insecticide resistance, increases in international travel and recent changes to pest control activities.

    These bites are shy and cautious. During the night, they are attracted to the odors and warmth of the closest human being. Believe it or not, they are able to feed for 10 minutes or more non-stop! A person will consume as much as six times its body weight in blood. Although, commonly the individual is unaware that they are being bitten. Once they have completed feeding, they look extremely bloated and have even been indicated as animated blood drops.

    Not only can bites create a rash or welts, they also have the ability to spread disease organisms that bring on digestive and nervous disorders. Allergic reactions, particularly in more sensitive individuals can appear. They have been known to carry contributory agents for plague, anthrax, tularemia, typhus, relapsing fever and also yellow fever.

    They have been known to carry these diseases; at this point in time, there is no any proof that they actually transmit them. Children residing in homes that are extremely bug-ridden tend to become pale and listless.

    In most cases, the rash will appear several hours after the actual bite has occurred. However, the rash may not appear for days. The development of the rash is depending upon the individual’s allergic reaction to the bites. For the most part, the rash will last just a few days and then begins to fade slowly with time.

    Unfortunately, the bite rash does have the ability to last a lot longer if the individual has a more intense allergic reaction to the bites. Some conditions will not have any reaction at all. While others especially who have more sensitivity to allergies may develop rashes that cause extreme itching as they are continuously bitten nightly.

    Home maintenance tips on bed bug rash

    Since these bugs cannot fly and only has the ability to crawl, moving the bed away from the wall would be helpful. To further protect the bed, sprinkle the bed with talcum powder. A vinyl cover placed over the mattress and the box springs will help to eliminate these bloodsuckers. Leave the vinyl covers on for at least a year.

    Dust all the cracks, drawers and electrical outlets with talcum powder. Be sure to tighten, caulk and then screen all possible entry routes. As well, lightly dust these areas with comet or talcum powder.

    Steam clean, vacuum the mattresses, or clean with borax to remove bugs and any debris remaining. Caulk all the crevices and cracks and re-glue any wallpaper or borders that are loose or falling down.

    Vacuum all drawers and cabinets, this will also deter rodents from nesting in these areas. Consider hiring a pest control company to assist in the elimination process. These bloodsuckers are very annoying and pernicious vermin and with an experienced professional helping, the time necessary to eradicate these pests will be shortened.

    Bed Bug Rash: Symptoms and Natural Treatments for a Quick Relief

    Bed bug bites can cause a very itchy rash and an irresistible urge to scratch the clusters of red bumps. Many people develop a bed bug rash after being bitten multiple times by these parasitic insects. The bed bug rash may be just a patch of itchy red skin around the bite mark or it could be a large number of welts that itch and may even blister.

    Getting rid of the rash that develops after bed bug bites can be a challenge. Very often, scratching the red itchy rash just makes the itching even worse. Also, you may suffer from some embarrassment if the bed bug rash is on your face, arms, or legs. The good news is that there are many effective home remedies for bed bug rashes that will stop the itching and help your skin heal faster.

    To naturally treat a rash that has been caused by bed bug bites, it’s important to reduce inflammation, swelling, and itching on your skin. However, natural remedies need to include antimicrobial properties to prevent skin infections getting worse. That is why ingredients like tea tree oil, witch hazel, apple cider vinegar, and aloe vera are excellent home remedies for bed bug rashes.

    In this article, you will learn how to effectively treat the symptoms and visible signs of a bed bug rash. You will also find out how to identify bed bug bites and what you should do if you have an infestation of bed bugs.

    Identifying Features of a Bed Bug Rash

    Bed bug rashes on your face, arms, hands, and legs are an allergic reaction to being bitten by bed bugs. These are tiny insects that grow to about 5-7 mm and feed on the blood of humans and animals.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that it can take up to several days for bed bug bite marks or a rash to appear. It can also be difficult to tell the difference between clusters of bed bug bites and other insect bites. For example, bed bug rashes can look similar to flea bites or mosquito bites. 1

    According to doctors from the National Health Service, bed bug bites are painless at first. As the body reacts to the bed bug bite, red itchy bumps will appear. Sometimes, you may notice a rash around the bed bug bites or the clusters of red itchy welts could appear to be a rash-like patch of skin. 2

    However, Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that the only way to really tell if the rash is due to bed bug bites is to look for signs of an infestation of bed bugs. 3

    For more information, read the article on what do bed bug bites look like.

    How Long Does a Bed Bug Rash Last?

    The length of time a bed bug rash lasts depends on the severity of your body’s reaction. Dr. Steven Doerr on eMedicineHealth states that a rash can appear anywhere from a few minutes after the bite to a few days. If the bite turns into a red swollen bump then the rash can last up to two weeks.

    However, if you scratch the itchy rash a lot and an infection gets into the wound, then the healing time for a bed bug rash will be longer than two weeks. 4

    How to Spot Signs of Bed Bugs

    If you notice signs of a bed bug rash, you should immediately inspect your bed and bedding for the little critters.

    Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that bed bugs live in tiny crevices in furniture, in the seams of mattresses, in box springs, and along baseboards. Some of the tell-tale signs that your rash has been caused by a bed bug infestation are:

    • Brown or dark specks on bed linen that are from dried blood or bed bug feces.
    • Shed skins that are yellowish.
    • Small tiny eggs about the size of a pinhead.
    • A distinctive musty odor from the bed bugs.

    If you notice signs of bed bug activity or even see live bed bugs crawling around your bed frame, you need to take immediate action to get rid of the bugs for good. To find out how to exterminate bed bugs completely using homemade sprays and bed bug powders, please read my article on the top 10 home remedies for bed bugs.

    The Best Home Remedies for Bed Bug Rash

    There are many wonderful home remedies to soothe itching and prevent infection of bed bug rashes and blisters. Applying these natural treatments regularly will help you to resist the urge to scratch which can cause the itching to become even more intense.

    Cold compress

    One of the easiest and cheapest ways to take the itch out of a bed bug allergy rash fast is to apply a cold compress. The coldness helps to soothe irritated nerve endings and reduce itching.

    Dr. Charles Patrick Davis on eMedicineHealth recommends an ice pack placed on itchy insect bite rashes to calm inflammation and get rid of itching. 5

    How to use it:

    To quickly calm the symptoms of a bed bug skin rash using a cold compress, this is what you should do:

    1. Put some ice in a sealed plastic bag and wrap in a thin towel.
    2. Hold on the rash for 10 minutes at a time.
    3. Repeat for a few times to help calm your itchy skin.
    4. Use the cold compress any time that your bed bug rash starts getting itchy.

    Alternatively, you could use a cooled tea bag for the cold compress. Just place a black tea bags, green tea bag, or chamomile tea bag in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes. Remove, and cool in the refrigerator and use in place of the ice pack to treat your bed bug skin rashes.

    Apple cider vinegar

    Another easy remedy for bed bug rashes that you can make at home is an apple cider vinegar solution. The anti-itch properties of apple cider vinegar are due to the acetic acid in the vinegar. This acidic property of apple cider vinegar also acts as an antiseptic to kill germs and prevent secondary bacterial infections.

    According to a report from 2010, topical treatments that lower the skin’s pH levels help to soothe itching. 6 Diluted apple cider vinegar is gentle enough for most people’s skin to balance pH levels and reduce inflammation. Also, the journalPLoS Onereported that acetic acid acts as a natural antibacterial treatment and can treat infections in skin wounds. 7

    How to use it:

    To calm an itchy rash caused by an allergic reaction to bed bug bites, you can use an apple cider vinegar solution this way:

    1. Dilute raw apple cider vinegar with equal parts of water.
    2. Dip a cotton ball in the solution and apply to the red bed bug rash to soothe itching and kill off germs.
    3. Leave to dry then rinse off with warm water.
    4. Apply the apple cider vinegar solution 2-3 times a day to your rash to help speed up the healing process.

    Aloe vera

    The skin-soothing properties of aloe vera have been well researched and you can apply the gel directly to itchy bed bug bite rashes. You can buy aloe vera gel that has very few added ingredients or you can squeeze the gel straight from the plant leaf.

    Many doctors recommend using a hydrocortisone ointment to reduce itching in insect bites. However, you can use aloe vera gel as a natural anti-itch ointment. The journalSkin Pharmacology and Physiologyreported that the anti-inflammatory properties of aloe vera were just as effective as 1% hydrocortisone gel in getting rid of itching. 8

    How to use it:

    It couldn’t be easier to use aloe vera gel to treat bed bug rashes. This is what you should do:

    1. Apply aloe vera gel to your irritated bed bug rash and allow to dry.
    2. Repeat 3 times a day to promote healing and get rid of the itchy rash quickly.
    3. Continue using until all rash-like symptoms of your bed bug bites have gone for good.

    Witch hazel

    Witch hazel is another natural remedy that will take the itch out of bed bug bites or a rash. The reason that witch hazel is so effective in soothing itchy skin is that it contains tannins which are a natural astringent.

    According to many doctors, witch hazel is a natural remedy for itching and pain. By applying witch hazel to irritated skin and insect bites, you can also help to reduce swelling and inflammation. Its healing properties are also useful if scratching the bed bug rash has caused the skin to break. 9

    How to use it:

    To promote healing of a rash caused by annoying bed bugs, you can use witch hazel this way:

    1. Soak a cotton pad or ball in pure witch hazel.
    2. Hold the cotton ball on the itchy bed bug rash for about 10 minutes to relieve itching and kill off any germs.
    3. Repeat applying the natural witch hazel remedy 3 times a day to treat your allergic skin rash.

    Apply witch hazel to a bed bug rash any time you feel discomfort or a strong urge to scratch the cluster of bites. You can also use witch hazel to get rid of clusters of flea bites.

    Baking soda

    If you need fast relief from a bed bug skin rash that is causing irritation, you can apply a baking soda paste. The anti-inflammatory properties of baking soda along with its antibacterial activity is a quick and cheap way to treat bed bug rashes.

    According to Dr. David Derrer on WebMD, baking soda will calm redness, soothe itching, and generally help treat symptoms of an allergic reaction to an insect bite. 10

    How to use it:

    To help cure a bed bug rash using baking soda, you just need to make a paste this way:

    1. Take a tablespoon of baking soda (or a little more if you have a large rash) and mix with water to form a smooth paste.
    2. Apply to the itchy bed bug rash and any red bumps that are causing irritation.
    3. Leave for 15 minutes then rinse off with warm water.
    4. Use 2 times a day and continue using until your bed bug rash is healed.

    Baking soda can also be used as a cheap home remedy to reduce blemishes on your skin and keep your skin looking healthy.

    Oatmeal

    Oatmeal is a great way to treat large rashes caused by bed bugs that are on your back or in hard-to-reach locations. Oatmeal contains anti-inflammatory properties to reduce inflammation in insect bites that have caused an allergic reaction.

    TheJournal of Drugs and Dermatologyreported that ground oatmeal helps to reduce skin rashes, itching, and other symptoms of irritated skin reactions. 11 Oatmeal is so effective for treating insect bites that it is registered with the U.S. FDA to relieve “itching and irritation caused by insect bites.” 12

    How to use it:

    For treating bed bug rashes that cover a large area, you can make a relaxing bath with ground oatmeal. This is what you should do:

    1. Run a bath with warm water and sprinkle 2 cups of ground oatmeal in the water running from the faucet.
    2. Relax in the bath for 20 minutes to relieve itching from all over your body.
    3. You can also take a handful of oatmeal and mix it into a smooth paste and press on itchy bed bug rashes.
    4. Rinse off in the shower and pat yourself dry.
    5. Repeat 2 or 3 times a week to help cure the irritating rash caused by bed bug bites.

    If you want to know how to make an oatmeal and yogurt paste to relieve itching from clusters of bed bug bites, then please read my article on how to get rid of bed bug bites naturally.

    Honey

    A dab of honey on a bed bug rash can do wonders to heal the irritated skin quickly. Honey is commonly used to treat many types of skin infections, blisters, and wounds and can relieve itchy insect bites. Honey has powerful antibacterial properties; therefore, by applying honey to bed bug bites, you can prevent bacterial infections causing pus to form in the bite marks.

    Doctors from the Mayo Clinic stated that honey can be used as a topical itch treatment and it forms a protective barrier on the skin. 13 TheEuropean Journal of Medical Researchreported that applying honey to the skin helps reduce itching in some skin infections. 14

    How to use:

    If you want to use honey to get rid of bed bug rash symptoms, it is best to use Manuka honey for its healing power. However, you can use any raw, unprocessed honey on the itchy rash.

    1. Apply a little honey to the irritating bed bug rash and gently massage into the skin to kill off any germs.
    2. Repeat regularly throughout the day to stop the strong urge to scratch.
    3. Continue using daily until all the signs of skin irritation and itching have disappeared.

    Cucumbers

    One easy way to quickly remove the symptoms of a bed bug rash is to apply slices of cooled cucumber to the red patch of skin.

    It is not just the cold from a chilled cucumber that relieves itching from a bed bug rash. According to the journalFitoterapia, the seeds of cucumber have a cooling effect. Research has also shown that cucumbers relieve irritated skin and reduce dermal swelling. 15

    How to use it:

    Here is the best way to use a chilled cucumber to treat bed bug rashes on your face, arms, or legs:

    1. Take a fresh cucumber straight from the fridge and cut it into thick slices.
    2. Place the cucumber slices on the patches of irritated skin for instant relief from discomfort.
    3. Use anytime your bed bug rash creates a strong urge to scratch the itch.

    The anti-inflammatory properties of cucumber are also great for puffy eyes and you can also make your own cucumber gel for soothing tired eyes.

    Essential Oils for Bed Bug Rash Treatment

    Many essential oils can be used to make a topical ointment for relieving itchy and inflamed bed bug rashes. Two of the best essential oils for insect bites are tea tree oil and lavender oil.

    When using these oils to treat a bed bug rash, you should mix them with a carrier oil. For this, the best oil to use is coconut oil because it has antibacterial properties as well as helping to moisturize the skin and promoting skin healing. For the recipe, you should use 2-3 drops of essential oil in 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Apply the natural ointment to your bed bug rash 2-3 times a day until all symptoms of bed bug bites have gone.

    Tea tree oilis anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce itching and swelling in irritated patches of skin. A review of the medicinal properties of tea tree oil found that it helps reduce histamine-induced inflammation in the skin. This means that tea tree oil is an important ingredient in treating bed bug allergy rashes. 16

    Lavender essential oilhelps to relieve pain, soothe itching, and relax the skin and mind. One scientific study published in 2015 found that lavender oil helps to lessen itching just as good as some popular pharmaceutical drugs for swelling and allergic reactions. 17

    Calendula oilcan help to treat a skin rash caused by bed bugs. The University of Maryland reports that calendula treats skin inflammation and itchiness. 18 You can add a few drops of calendula oil to a tablespoon coconut oil to reduce redness in a bed bug rash.

    There are many other essential oils that can help you treat the allergic reaction caused by bed bug bites – read about them in my article about the best essential oils for allergies.

    Bed Bug Rashes – When to See a Doctor

    In most cases of bed bug rashes, the home remedies are all you need to speedily reduce itching, redness, irritation, and blisters. Natural remedies should help to heal the bed bug rash within one week.

    If you have a severe allergic reaction to bed bug bites or you notice signs of a bacterial infection, you should see your doctor. Dr. Steven Doerr on eMedicineHealth says that signs you should seek medical advice for bed bug bites are as follows: 19

    • You have shortness of breath
    • You have chest pain
    • You have difficulty swallowing because your throat feels tight
    • An itchy rash appears over all the body
    • Redness spreads from the site of the bed bug bite
    • You have signs of an infection like fever

    Bed bugs: Diagnosis and treatment

    How do you know if you have bed bugs?

    To find out if you have bed bugs, you need to look for two things:

    Bites on your body

    Signs of bed bugs

    Bites on your body:If you have bed bugs, you’re likely to have bites. Bed bug bites usually cause itchy welts. These welts usually appear in a zigzag pattern as show in the photo below.

    Bed bug bites

    When bedbugs bite, you often see clusters of bites. Each cluster usually contains 3 to 5 bites that appear in a zigzag pattern.

    You’ll seldom see bed bugs, so many people mistakenly believe that mosquitoes, fleas, or spiders bit them. Sometimes people mistake bed bug bites for a common skin condition such as an itchy rash, hives, or chickenpox.

    To make sure you have bed bugs, you’ll need to look for signs of bed bugs.

    How to check for bed bugs

    Although bed bugs don’t usually require serious medical attention, they can cause a great deal of anxiety and restless nights. To help find bed bugs before they find you (and your belongings), dermatologists recommend looking for the following signs near places where you sleep.

    How to check for bed bugs

    Although bed bugs don’t usually require serious medical attention, they can cause a great deal of anxiety and restless nights. To help find bed bugs before they find you (and your belongings), dermatologists recommend looking for the following signs near places where you sleep.

    Signs of bed bugs:This step is important. If you have a bed bug infestation, you need to find out so that you can get rid of the bed bugs. Getting rid of the bed bugs is the only way to stop the bites.

    If you have a large number of bed bugs, you may see the bugs. Most people, however, only see signs of bed bugs. To look for signs of bed bugs, check the places that people sleep for the following:

    A sweet, musty odor.Take a deep breath. If you notice a sweet, musty in your hotel room, cruise-ship cabin, or other sleeping area, there may be a heavy bed bug infestation in the room. Bed bugs produce chemicals to help them communicate, although not everyone will notice the smell.

    Specks of blood on bedding, mattresses, or upholstered furniture such as couches and headboards.Look carefully at your blankets, sheets, and mattress pads and then check the mattress and box spring. Are there specks of blood anywhere, especially near the seams? If so, there could be a bed bug infestation. You should also check for specks of blood on all upholstered furniture, including couches and headboards.

    Exoskeletons.Bed bugs have an outer shell that they shed and leave behind. Do you see shell-like remains on the mattress, mattress pad, or beneath couch cushions?

    Tiny, blackish specks.If you see blackish specks on the bedding, mattress, headboard, or beneath couch cushions, it could be bed bug excrement.

    Eggs.After mating, female bed bugs lay white, oval eggs in cracks and crevices. Keep in mind that these will be small, as a bed bug is only about the size of an apple seed. The photo below shows a bed bug near eggs. The photo was magnified so that you can see the bed bug and eggs.

    If you do get bed bugs and have many bites or a bite that looks infected, see a board-certified dermatologist. A dermatologist can treat an infection and help relieve the itch.

    Bed bug with eggs

    A bed bug is a tiny insect with a broad, oval body. If it has recently eaten, it has a reddish-brown color.

    If you see bed bugs, they will likely scurry toward the closest hiding place. Any dark place such as inside a mattress or even a picture frame makes a good hiding place.

    As you watch bed bugs move, it can look like they are flying or jumping because they can crawl quickly. Bed bugs cannot fly or jump; they can only crawl.

    If you find signs of bed bugs, call a pest-control company or your property manager. You should not use bug spray or a fogger. These products have little effect on bed bugs.

    Treating bed bug bites

    You should see a dermatologist for treatment if you have:

    Skin infection (bites feel tender or ooze discharge, such as pus)

    An allergic skin reaction (skin red and swollen or hives)

    Your dermatologist may prescribe the following to treat bed bug bites:

    Allergic reaction.Some people may require an injection of an antihistamine, corticosteroid, or epinephrine (adrenaline) for a severe allergic reaction.

    Infection.An infection may require an antibiotic. If the infection is mild, your dermatologist may recommend an antiseptic medication that you can buy without a prescription. Your dermatologist will tell you which one to use. Your dermatologist also may recommend an antiseptic to prevent a skin infection.

    Itch.A prescription antihistamine pill or liquid can help. You also can apply a corticosteroid to the bites. Your dermatologist will tell you which is best for you.

    At-home treatment

    If you do not have any signs of an infection or a serious reaction, you can often treat the bites at home.

    To treat bed bug bites:

    Wash the bites with soap and water.This will help prevent a skin infection and help reduce itchiness.

    If the bites itch, apply a corticosteroid cream to the bites.You can get a weak form of this medicine without a prescription at your local drugstore. Stronger corticosteroids require a prescription.

    Bed bug bites usually heal and go away within a week or two.

    Image
    Getty Images

    References
    Leverkus Met al. “Bullous Allergic Hypersensitivity to Bed bug Bites Mediated by IgE against Salivary Nitrophorin."J of Invest Dermatol. 2006;126:2364-2366.

    Liebold Ket al. “Disseminated bullous eruption with systemic reaction caused by Cimex lectularius.”J Euro Acad of Dermat and Vener. 2003;17:461-463.

    Steen CJ, Carbonaro PA, Schwartz RA. “Arthropods in dermatology.”J Am Acad Dermatol2004; 50:819-42.

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