How Do You Treat Bed Bug Bites Pictures

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

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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 Bites Pictures, Symptoms and Treatment

Usually bed bugs feed during night when you sleep. They are sensitive to blood pushes in your vessels, which enables them to penetrate directly into your capillaries with their mouthparts. Each insect consumes approximately one microliter of blood per one bite. However, to become full bed bugs make 5-7 bites. Thus, in the morning you find several marks in one place. Multiple marks, redness and itching are the most distinct bites signs which help to tell bed bug bites from bites of other insects or parasites.

Peculiarities of Bites of Bed Bugs

Mouthparts of a bed bug resemble a tube with two grooves: one is narrow and the second is a bit wider. Wide channel serves for blood sucking, while the narrow one serves for saliva injection during the bite. Saliva of a bed bug contains analgesics, so when an insect bites, it does not hurt or itches.

Where do bed bugs bite? Bedbugs prefer to bite people with thin skin. That is why very often women and children become their victims. Bed bugs like places with more delicate skin: inner surface of arms and legs. You can notice bed bug bites on face and your neck. Bed bugs rarely bite pets, as animals have thicker skin than humans. It explains why bed bugs parasite on humans.

Larvae Bites

For satiation a bed bug larva needs less blood than a mature bug, as it is smaller than an adult insect. Nevertheless, unlike an adult bed bug its larvae bite almost every day, because frequent feeding is necessary for their growth. In addition, a larva does not inject saliva with analgesic during a bite, which makes their bites more painful. Do bed bug bites itch? Yes, if you were bitten by a larva. And usually they do not itch, if you were bitten by an adult bug.

Do Bed Bugs Bite at Daytime?

Usually bed bugs feed when it is dark at night, as they are less disturbed at this time. Their peak activity lasts from 3 to 7 AM. Daylight and human activity forces the parasites to hide. Nevertheless, even in daylight sometimes the insects can bite a person who moves rarely. Bites of bedbugs during daytime usually indicate that there is a large population of bed bugs in your house or apartment.

For full satiation an insect consumes the amount of blood that is twice its own weight. Insects need about 5-7 days to digest the sucked blood. However, bites on your body can appear every day, because the entire population has to be fed. Thus, you can judge by the number of bites about the total number of insects in your house. In heavily infested apartments you may get hundreds of new bites over night; and some insects may make attempts to bite you even during daytime.

Can the Bugs Bite Through Your Clothes?

As a rule bed bugs bite the open parts of your body. Nevertheless they are capable of biting through certain kinds of fabric. Going to bed heavily dressed is useless, as it is inconvenient and the bugs can get under your clothes. Also quite often they can hide in the seams still having access to your bare skin.

Bed Bug Bites Symptoms

Bed bug bites symptoms may be different depending on a person. This happens for several reasons.

Firstly, the insects bite humans with rough and thick skin less often. Thick skin makes is difficult for an insect to determine where to bite.

Secondly, different people respond to analgesic contained in bug’s saliva in various ways. That is why the reaction to bugs bite differs from person to person. Are bed bug bites itchy? Some people don’t have bite marks or any unpleasant symptoms, including itching. However, this does not mean that the insects do not bite them. Others can have quite strong reaction that can make them think that they have an allergy.

Whatever your reaction is, you should immediately see a doctor who will make a correct diagnosis and prescribe corresponding bed bug bites treatment, as only a specialist knows how to treat bed bug bites.

How long do bed bug bites last? They usually disappear after 10 -12 hours. If you have an allergic reaction, the bites marks and itching may stay for 2-3 days.

For children bedbug bites can be a strong stressful factor because bedbugs bite mainly at night, which leads to severe deterioration of sleep quality.

Symptoms of bed bug bites include:

  • Skin redness;
  • Severe itching;
  • Swelling of the bitten place;
  • Multiple marks on small skin area.

Bed Bug Bites Pictures and Images

Allergy to Bites of the Insects

Bed bug bites can cause unforeseen complications. One of the most unpleasant consequences is allergy to bites of bedbugs. If you have this allergy you may have severe rashes, pain, irritation and itching. Also you may possibly have fever, weakness or dizziness.

Remember, if you have any unpleasant and disturbing symptoms you should immediately inform your doctor about them. Especially if you were bitten for the first time and you do not know your reaction to such an irritant.

How to Differenciate Bed Bug Bites From Allergies

Bed bug bite almost always causes itching wherever it was produced. When people discover this symptom, they mistakenly believe that it is an allergy to bedbugs. Identifying the exact diagnosis is a task of a dermatologist. The doctor can distinguish allergy from the signs of bed bug bites. In case you have an allergic reaction there are some additional symptoms apart from skin itching.

Both cases require prompt and proper treatment, because even if you are not allergic to the saliva of the insects, bed bug bites can cause unpleasant consequences, leaving permanent traces on skin. An infection can easily get into such wounds that can cause suppuration and other more serious consequences.

Bed Bug Bites Treatment

There is no special medicine for treating bed bug bites, but you can alleviate itching and pain by applying ice, soapy water or special ointment for skin. Some doctors recommend to cure bed bug bites with antihistamines.

But how to get rid of bed bug bites completely? The answer is simple. You need to exterminate all the bed bugs in your flat or house. Getting rid of these insects is quite a difficult task. It requires great cleaning efforts from you and involves inviting a disinsector to your house.

How Do You Treat Bed Bug Bites?

Treatment for routine bed bug bites includes washing the bites with soap and water to prevent infections and applying either over-the-counter or prescription corticosteroid creams to bites that itch, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The CDC recommends not scratching the bites, using antiseptic creams or lotions and taking an antihistamine.

Some people do not react to bed bug bites at all and do not develop itchiness or red marks, while others who have allergic reactions develop large red marks, swelling and even anaphylaxis, notes the CDC.

Severe allergic reactions can be treated by a doctor with an injection of antihistamine, corticosteroid or adrenaline, and with prescription antihistamine pills or liquid, states the AAD. Bites that are infected from being scratched are treated with over-the-counter antiseptics if the infection is mild and antibiotics if the infection is more severe. Signs of infection include bites that are tender and ooze pus.

Bed bugs do not transmit disease and are not a serious health threat, notes the CDC. Their bites usually clear up within one to two weeks, according to Mayo Clinic, but preventing further bites requires eradicating the infestation. Bed bugs are found around the world, according to the CDC.

Bedbugs

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Bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.

Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime.

Immature bedbugs, called nymphs, shed their skins five times before reaching maturity and require a meal of blood before each shedding. Under favorable conditions the bugs can develop fully in as little as a month and produce three or more generations per year.

Although they are a nuisance, they are not thought to transmit diseases.

Where Bed Bugs Hide

Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card. Bedbugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but tend to live in groups in hiding places. Their initial hiding places are typically in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and headboards where they have easy access to people to bite in the night.

Over time, however, they may scatter through the bedroom, moving into any crevice or protected location. They may also spread to nearby rooms or apartments.

Because bedbugs live solely on blood, having them in your home is not a sign of dirtiness. You are as likely to find them in immaculate homes and hotel rooms as in filthy ones.

When Bedbugs Bite

Bedbugs are active mainly at night and usually bite people while they are sleeping. They feed by piercing the skin and withdrawing blood through an elongated beak. The bugs feed from three to 10 minutes to become engorged and then crawl away unnoticed.

Most bedbug bites are painless at first, but later turn into itchy welts. Unlike flea bites that are mainly around the ankles, bedbug bites are on any area of skin exposed while sleeping. Also, the bites do not have a red spot in the center like flea bites do.

People who don’t realize they have a bedbug infestation may attribute the itching and welts to other causes, such as mosquitoes. To confirm bedbug bites, you must find and identify the bugs themselves.

Continued

Signs of Infestation

If you wake up with itchy areas you didn’t have when you went to sleep, you may have bedbugs, particularly if you got a used bed or other used furniture around the time the bites started. Other signs that you have bedbugs include:

  • Blood stains on your sheets or pillowcases
  • Dark or rusty spots of bedbug excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls
  • Bedbug fecal spots, egg shells, or shed skins in areas where bedbugs hide
  • An offensive, musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands

If you suspect an infestation, remove all bedding and check it carefully for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Remove the dust cover over the bottom of the box springs and examine the seams in the wood framing. Peel back the fabric where it is stapled to the wood frame.

Also, check the area around the bed, including inside books, telephones or radios, the edge of the carpet, and even in electrical outlets. Check your closet, because bedbugs can attach to clothing. If you are uncertain about signs of bedbugs, call an exterminator, who will know what to look for.

If you find signs of infestation, begin steps to get rid of the bugs and prevent their return.

Bedbug Treatments

Getting rid of bedbugs begins with cleaning up the places where bedbugs live. This should include the following:

  • Clean bedding, linens, curtains, and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. Place stuffed animals, shoes, and other items that can’t be washed in the dryer and run on high for 30 minutes.
  • Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams to remove bedbugs and their eggs before vacuuming.
  • Vacuum your bed and surrounding area frequently. After vacuuming, immediately place the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag and place in garbage can outdoors.
  • Encase mattress and box springs with a tightly woven, zippered cover to keep bedbugs from entering or escaping. Bedbugs may live up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on your mattress for at least a year to make sure all bugs in the mattress are dead.
  • Repair cracks in plaster and glue down peeling wallpaper to get rid of places bedbugs can hide.
  • Get rid of clutter around the bed.

If your mattress is infested, you may want to get rid of it and get a new one, but take care to rid the rest of your home of bedbugs or they will infest your new mattress.

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Bedbug Extermination

While cleaning up infested areas will be helpful in controlling bedbugs, getting rid of them usually requires chemical treatments. Because treating your bed and bedroom with insecticides can be harmful, it is important to use products that can be used safely in bedrooms. Do not treat mattresses and bedding unless the label specifically says you can use them on bedding.

Generally it is safest and most effective to hire an experienced pest control professional for bedbug extermination.

Sources

University of Kentucky College of Agriculture: "Bed Bugs."

Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet: "Bed Bugs."

The New York City Department of Heath and Mental Hygiene: "Stop Bed Bugs Safely."

University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension Lancaster County: "Managing Bed Bugs."

Bed bug bites: What you need to know

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Most people who are bitten by bed bugs experience symptoms that include irritation, sores, or itchiness. But how should bed bug bites be treated and can they be prevented?

There are several ways of reducing the chances of getting bites, while the treatment options include good hygiene and antihistamines.

This article explores bed bug bite treatment and prevention methods in detail.

Bed bugs are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood.

While they are a public health concern, bed bugs are not known to transmit disease through their bites.

Bed bugs use a small tube-like structure called a proboscis to pierce the skin and drink a person’s blood. The pests are most active when humans are asleep, during the night and early morning.

An estimated one in five Americans have personally dealt with a bed bug infestation or knows someone who has encountered the pests.

Bed bugs can bite anywhere on the body where there is skin. Typically, bites tend to occur on areas exposed during sleeping, such as:

Many people do not feel the bite itself or develop clear symptoms other than the dots where the bug bit and some minor, surrounding inflammation and irritation. Others are considered hypersensitive to bites and develop more severe symptoms.

In most cases symptoms occur more or less immediately after the bite, but they can develop or progress over the following days as well. Without further irritation, symptoms typically resolve after a week or so.

Almost all bed bug bites will produce some degree of discomfort, typically itchiness and inflammation. Other signs and symptoms of bed bug bites include:

  • a burning painful sensation
  • a raised itchy bump with a clear center
  • a red itchy bump with a dark center and lighter swollen surrounding area
  • small red bumps or welts in a zigzag pattern or a line
  • small red bumps surrounded by blisters or hives
  • papular eruptions or areas of skin with raised or flat patches that may be inflamed
  • small spots of blood from bites often dried or stained onto sheets or bed clothing
  • reddish or reddish-brown dried stains on fabrics due to bed bug droppings
  • white or clear skins, shed by the nymphs as they mature

Individual characteristics of the bug’s bite and the person who is bitten also influence the resulting sore.

While fairly rare, some people have or develop severe reactions and symptoms from bed bug bites. Serious symptoms that require medical attention include:

  • difficulty breathing
  • blisters
  • fever
  • feeling nauseous or flu-like
  • swollen tongue
  • irregular heartbeat

Living with bed bugs can cause additional health complications:

  • Increased likelihood of infection: Due to the skin’s surface being compromised.
  • Sleep deprivation: The idea of being fed on can be extremely stressful. Given that the bugs only feed at night, some people will avoid sleep or will only get fitful or restless sleep.
  • Decreased wellbeing: A continual lack of sleep has been linked to feelings of depression, anxiety, general fatigue, and lowered immune function. The misconceptions surrounding bed bugs, especially the mistaken association with lack of cleanliness, can add to feelings of depression and low self-esteem.

There are relatively few treatments options when it comes to uncomplicated bed bug bites.

The first recommended line of treatment involves cleaning the wound, ideally with soap and water.

For itchy bites, the following may relieve minor symptoms:

  • over-the-counter hydrocortisone, which can be purchased online.
  • anti-itch creams
  • antihistamines

Most wounds heal on their own within a week, sometimes two.

If severe swelling, inflammation, or itchiness occurs or persists, a person should seek medical attention.

A dramatic immune response may be a sign of an allergic reaction. If this is the case, one of the following may need to be administered:

  • an injectable corticosteroid
  • antihistamine
  • epinephrine medication

If infection occurs, antibiotics may be prescribed.

Severe itchiness may result in further complications, such as infection or scarring. If severe itching is experienced, people may be prescribed corticosteroid creams and antihistamine pills or liquid.

One way to help prevent exposure and potential infestations by bed bugs is to be able to recognize bed bugs and distinguish them from other pests.

In a 2017 study, some 35 percent of polled American business travellers and 28 percent of leisure travellers were unable to tell a bed bug apart from other household pests.

Common characteristics of nymphs (young bed bugs) include:

  • being less than than 5 mm in length
  • whitish-yellow and or clear-colored
  • invisible without a microscope or magnifying glass

The nymphs are easier to see if they have just feed when the blood fills their abdomen, giving it a reddish brown color.

Adult bed bugs are typically far easier to spot than nymphs. Identifiable characteristics of most adult bed bugs include:

  • an oval-shaped body
  • apple seed in size
  • a body that is fairly flat unless recently fed and inflated
  • reddish-brown to light-brown or tan color of shell, depending on how recently it fed
  • a length of 5-7 millimeters (mm)
  • three segments, an antenna with four parts, short yellow hairs, and unusable wings
  • a musty or stale-sweet scent released by glands on the underbelly

Controlling bed bugs needs the identification and complete removal or destruction of the pest’s eggs.

On average, one female can produce at least 345 eggs over her lifetime. Egg-laying females often increase the volume and frequency of feeding to support their brood.

Common characteristics and signs of bed bug eggs include:

  • they are often laid in the same places where the female choses to rest
  • they resemble tiny barrel-shaped, pearl-colored specks, no bigger than the head of a pin
  • they develop a noticeable eye spot after a few days

The key to preventing bed bug bites is to stop the insects entering, feeding, and breeding in human environments.

In the daytime, bed bugs often seek refuge in the cracks and crevices of furniture, flooring, walls, and mattresses.

The seams and folds of upholstered furniture can also offer an ideal hiding place. Bed bugs have been known to persist in vacuum canisters or units.

The insects tend to pick hiding spots near human sleeping quarters, including bedrooms. Bed bugs found in other rooms are usually a sign of a severe infestation.

Areas where bed bug infestations commonly occur include:

  • apartment or condominium buildings
  • large office spaces
  • hotels
  • vacation rentals
  • cruise ships
  • daycares
  • nursing homes
  • hospitals
  • college dormitories or housing units
  • public transportation, including airplanes
  • shopping malls
  • furniture or second hand stores
  • urban areas
  • rented homes

Items commonly responsible for spreading bed bugs include:

  • used or secondhand furniture
  • new furniture or textiles exposed to bed bugs during transit
  • items of luggage
  • chairs or loungers where people fall asleep
  • bedding or bed clothes
  • moving or storage boxes
  • shipped items, especially if held at several locations or warehouses

Bed bugs do not have a preference between sanitary, messy, or unsanitary conditions.

They can, however, be found at higher rates in places, such as hotels, if infestations are not properly cleared.

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