How To Clear Up Bed Bug Bites Fast
How To Treat Bed Bug Bite Scars And Marks – 20 Proven Remedies
In this guide, we will study some remedies that will help you treat bed bug bite scars and marks, but if you do not take care of your bed bug infestation, then chances are that you will continue to need these remedies over and over. So, use bed bug prevention and management strategies in order to get rid of bed bugs in the first place.
How do you know you have bed bugs?
If you are going to bed at night but waking up from time to time due to intense itching then there is a high probability that you are dealing with a bed bug infestation. You might even have mosquitoes but if you are already using electric mosquito repellent then that possibility is rare. Chances are that you are dealing with a bed bug situation which, if left untreated, might escalate out of control.
Here are some tell tale signs of bed bugs:
- If you check the corners of your mattress you might see some rust colored stains.
- Bed bugs usually hide during the daytime and feed at night; so you might not catch one in action. If you wake up in the middle of the night and are lucky, you might see one crawling on your bed.
- Bed bug bites start with red wheals which later turn into firm papules having a central puncture mark.
- Bed bug bite reactions occur in people who are sensitive to the protein in the bedbug’s saliva. Others may not experience any reaction owing to the fact that they have become immune to the bug bites.
- In children, bed bug bites can lead to permanent scarring and marks on the skin. These are generally harder to treat especially if prompt medical treatment is not administered.
Do bed bug bites scar? Or is it something else….
Bed bug bites per se do not scar; it is the scratching action performed with sharp or dirty fingernails that can cause scarring. Since bed bug bites usually occur at nighttime when one is fast asleep, it is not possible to control the urge to scratch. Scratching the bed bug bite can lead to rashes and can even form pus and secondary infections of the skin. Even after a few days of the bite, the skin still continues to itch. If the victim scratches the site of the bite, s/he might accidentally remove the scab that is forming on the skin while it heals. This leads to scar formation.
How to get rid of bed bug bite scars and marks?
There are many remedies- some home remedies and others surgical procedures obtained at a professional- that can help you get rid of bed bug bite scars and marks.
20 top remedies to treat bed bug bite scars
- As soon as the bite occurs, wash your skin with warm water and some soap. This will remove the protein form the bug’s saliva from the skin and lessen its reaction. Pat the skin dry.
- Apply some antibacterial cream like Neosporin to prevent infections.
- If your skin is very itchy, apply some over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. This will reduce itchiness and help prevent scar formation.
- If you do not have the above products at home, you can use some raw organic honey to soothe the bite marks. Honey reduces inflammation and also its antibacterial action can prevent scars and marks.
- One of the best remedies to treat bed bug bite scars and marks is to liberally apply Calamine lotion all over the bite. Calamine cools the skin and reduces itchiness. Children can benefit from this remedy as it can soothe all kinds of insect bites and stings-so always keep a bottle of Calamine lotion with you if you are traveling or happen to stay at bed bug infested motels.
- Another mention-worthy natural remedy to treat bed bug bite scars and marks is Aloe Vera gel. These days, products containing Aloe vera gel are readily available in the markets. Alternatively, you can directly cut open the leaf of the Aloe plant and apply the gooey gel on the bites.
- Vitamin E is another useful scar prevention remedy. This natural antioxidant heals and nourishes the skin to reduce permanent scarring from all kinds of bug bites.
- If the bed bug bite scars are very deeply set, you can apply scar treatment creams available at drugstores. Some common creams that reduce scars include MeDerma® Advanced Scar Treatment Gel.
- Salicylic acid is a powerful acne remedy that controls scarring. It can also prevent bed bug bite scars.
- Witch hazel is another natural skin healing remedy which contains natural salicylic acid that is effective against scarring. So you can apply some witch hazel on the bed bug bite marks to reduce scars.
- Baking soda is another simple home remedy that can help you get rid of bed bug bite marks. Apply baking soda paste mixed with some water on the bed bug bite marks to get instant relief from itchiness, redness, pain and inflammation. This will prevent you from scratching the bites in order to stop scars and marks.
- John’s Wort is another completely natural remedy that can treat many conditions one of which is getting rid of bed bug scars and marks.
- In case of extreme bite marks all over your body, it is best to take a hot tub bath or hot shower. You may even fill up the bath with hot water and some essential oils. These include Tea tree oil, peppermint oil etc. Since these oils have antibacterial properties, they help reduce chances of an infection.
- You can dab some essential oil of Basil directly on the bite marks. This helps bring out the saliva of the bed bug to the surface of the skin and can prevent scars and marks from forming.
- Applying some Crotamiton cream and Lotrix cream for two weeks can also clear up bed bug scars.
- For children with intense allergic reaction to bed bug bites, some Benadryl can help relieve itching temporarily.
- Vitamin K based creams are also known to help treat scars of all kinds. Many good products are readily available in drugstore containing this vitamin that heals, soothes, protects and nourishes the skin.
- Silicone gel is another proven remedy for treating bed bug scars. It is available in stores in the form of sheets or gels. If you are using silicone gel sheets, simply apply it over the scar so that your skin absorbs it. Note that this is a slight expensive treatment for getting rid of bed bug bite scars and marks.
- Massaging the scars can also help even out the pigmentation on the skin. So, once the bites have healed, go for a body massage or you can even DIY massage at home before bathing. Use quality oils for massage such as Sweet Almond oil, coconut oil, Olive oil etc.
- In case you have bed bug bite scars on your face, neck, upper back or other exposed body parts and you wish to regain perfectly healthy skin, you may consider some of the expensive surgical solutions to get rid of scars permanently. These include laser therapy that can be obtained at a dermatologist.
Apart from these 20 home remedies that treat bed bug bite scars, make sure you also visit our extermination section to get rid of bed bugs permanently.
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How to clear up bed bug bites fast
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.
Bed Bug Proof Mattress Covers
Protect your bed and prevent bites with bed bug proof mattress covers & encasements.
Pictures of Bed Bugs
See and identify what do bed bugs and their bites look like.
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At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
How to Dry Up Insect Bites
Drying up insect bites can be a long process, especially if a bite is fairly large or becomes severely inflamed.Most insect bites, however, such as those that come from mosquitos, spiders or fleas, can be treated with common household products and will generally dry up and disappear within a few days 1. Because an insect bite is typically not a pus-filled nodule or blister-like lesion, "drying up" or curing the bite refers to the process of treating the inflammation of the bite, drawing out the toxins from the bite and alleviating symptoms such as itching or stinging. Once the inflammation has subsided, the bite will generally heal and disappear.
Dab a dime-sized amount of hyrdrocortisone cream on the bites.This medication will help reduce the redness and inflammation of the bites while alleviating itching. Reapply the cream two to four times per day to help dry up the bites.
Use calamine lotion on the bites.You can dab a small amount onto bites and cover the bites with an adhesive bandage or leave the medication alone until your skin absorbs it.Calamine lotion acts as an astringent, which helps dry the skin by removing pus, toxins or fluid that may be present in the bite.
Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with two tablespoons of water. Apply a thin paste of the mixture to the bites. The baking soda helps to soothe irritated skin and dry up fluid inside the bite. Use this method twice a day, either alone or in conjunction with other methods.
Use aloe vera gel to help dry up insect bites 2. Aloe helps tighten and firm the skin while also alleviating irritation by providing a cooling effect. Dab a small amount of store-bought aloe vera gel on bites or break off the stem of an aloe plant and rub the raw end directly on the bites.
Use a hair dyer to dry up bug bites.The heat from a blow dryer can help draw moisture and toxins out of the skin while alleviating itchiness. Put the blow dryer on a low setting and hold it over bites about 6 to 12 inches from the skin for 15-second intervals. Be careful not to hold the dryer too close to the skin or you could burn yourself.
Drying up insect bites can be a long process, especially if a bite is fairly large or becomes severely inflamed. Dab a dime-sized amount of hyrdrocortisone cream on the bites. You can dab a small amount onto bites and cover the bites with an adhesive bandage or leave the medication alone until your skin absorbs it. Calamine lotion acts as an astringent, which helps dry the skin by removing pus, toxins or fluid that may be present in the bite. Use aloe vera gel to help dry up insect bites.
Fast Acting Mosquito Bite Remedy (That’s Probably Already in Your Kitchen)
by Sarah Pope MGA / Affiliate Links ✔
One such challenge is Sarah’s extreme reaction to mosquito bites which apparently is not uncommon for those of Chinese heritage. As such, using an effective natural mosquito repellent is important, but doesn’t always work in every situation.
Living in Florida and being very sensitive to mosquito bites can pose a challenge. Mosquitoes can be a year-round problem particularly if the winter is rather warm as it has been so far this season. Even with spraying by mosquito control, getting nasty bites is a common occurrence.
Telling a young child not to scratch is a losing battle most of the time! Unfortunately, Kelli did not find any of the Western style remedies for mosquito bites to work very well for Sarah.
As a result, just a few mosquito bites could send Sarah to the doctor for examination as they would sometimes get infected from her scratching. The picture above is of Sarah’s leg after a recent run-in with a hungry mozzie!
Besides being a busy Mom of four, Kelli is also an Adoption Specialist, so with her international connections, she was able to consult with her Chinese friends about Sarah’s problem with mosquito bites.
I asked Kelli to let me know if the banana peel remedy worked the next time Sarah was bitten, and within a few days, Kelli reported back that the banana peel worked! The picture to the right shows Kelli applying the inside of a banana peel to Sarah’s bite. The peel is folded over backward which is why the inside of the peel is also facing the camera.
The banana peel not only worked, but it also worked FAST!
Here is Kelli’s email to me about her experience with this mosquito bite remedy:
The most interesting thing about this mosquito bite remedy to me is that it is fairly well known that eating bananas is a surefire way to be a prime mozzie target at sundown. While eating bananas seems to attract mosquitoes, rubbing the bites with the inside of the peel heals them!
Does your child have problems with mosquito bites too? The next time the mozzies leave their calling card on your child’s skin, skip the ammonia sticks and other chemical-based remedies that will end up in your child’s bloodstream and simply try the inside of a banana peel!
Do you know another mosquito bite remedy that works well too? We’ve often used this homemade herbal salve which is incredible for all types of skin irritations, rashes, and bites. Dabbing witch hazel on bug bites is a remedy that my Grandmother used.
Sarah Pope has been a Health and Nutrition Educator since 2002. Her work is dedicated to helping families effectively incorporate the principles of ancestral diets within the modern household. She is a sought after lecturer around the world for conferences, summits, and podcasts.
Her work has been covered by major media including USA Today, ABC, NBC, and many others.
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I love this idea! I use apple cider vinegar and that sure takes the stinging sensation out as well and helps with the itching.
Oh, yes, Apple Cider Vinegar works like a charm too. Potassium in the ACV (and Banana by the way) are so helpful for anything related to skin. If you are itching, potassium is the answer. I put it on bites neat, in my bathwater, and if I want a great pick me up in the morning, I splash 50% ACV/50% water on my arms and legs (never face…ouch!).
By the way, careful! I found that in the Midwest, perhaps other places, the grocery stores like HyVee carry FAKE apple cider vinegar. Best to get the real thing in the health food section. Braggs Raw Apple Cider.
White vinegar is good too.
As far as I know, there are at the most only trace amounts of potassium in any style of vinegar. Maybe it works as a temporary counter-irritant and drying agent since it’s more acidic than human skin. Not the healthiest thing to do to skin, but it works for a few minutes. Wish there was something that was a bit more effective.
I also give it to my dogs. It stops the fleas. I uses it for their last rinse at bath time and a little in their drinking water. IT’S GREAT!
I love this idea! My son is a mosquito magnet-usually getting 5+ bites at at time. He swells up so badly when he gets them. We usually cover them with bandaids to keep him from scratching them, but he still swells really badly. Hopefully this will help!
I was told by a friend that mouth-breathers attract more stinging, biting insects. Encourage your son to breath through his nose and see if it helps!
I’m a nose breather and get eaten alive, so I don’t think that has anything to do with it 🙂
The mouth or nose breathing comes from the fact that what the mosquitoes are attracted to is the higher levels of CO2 concentrated around these areas. The bugs are attracted to CO2 ( CO2 = humans, )as well as sweet smelling perfumes, lotions and oils.
How long should you hold the peel there for it to be effective? I wonder if just cutting a small piece of peel and taping it on with a bandaid would be more convenient. We are mosquito bait here most of the year also. Can’t wait to try this!
Tina, you don’t need to leave it on the skin. I just rubbed it in a circular fashion until the area felt a little slippery. The itch relief lasted for about 6 hours for me when I used it for poison ivy. I react badly to poison ivy and the itching would drive me crazy. I was amazed at how completely it took the itch away!
Great tip. I had a friend who once misunderstood, and thought that she was told that eating bananas would deter mosquitoes. So, she took a lot of bananas on a camping trip and made her kids eat lots of them. They were eaten alive!
Eating garlic and drinking lemon water will help repel mosquitos.
Bananas are definitely NOT good camping food! LOL
some people are more attractive to the mosquitos, I could send my twins out to play in the same area, side by side the whole time and one would get lots of bites and the other few or none.
Wow! My son has some bites on the back of his knees that just will not go away. I’ll be peeling a banana after this post! I am friends with Kelli, too– what a wonderful woman! So glad Sarah is better!
Baking soda is excellent for any itching, insect bites etc. I use it for poison ivy too. I just mix with water to make a paste or dilute further and wash with it to remove the oils.
We use homeopathy, and the prime one to use for those big itchy irritating mosquito bites is Staphysagria 30c. It would not conflict with the banana peel. The great news about using homeopathy is her body may eventually respond better and better when bitten. That’s interesting about bananas…one attracts, the other cures. This is actually the homeopathic principle of “like cures like”.
Baking soda with water to make a paste (as Jenny also suggested), hands down has been the best for our family! My son is highly allergic and swells up into a very bad cellulitis even if he doesn’t scratch. Trick is you have to lather it on within the first few minutes or it won’t work. Amazingly after less than 5 minutes the basic property in the soda counteracts the acidic mosquito saliva and no more itching and no big bump at all by the next day!! I carry a little bag in my travel first aid kit.
Sandy – I hope you can answer this: I got cellulitis for the first time ever after doing an intensive gardening in early evening. Lots of bug bits and then noticed the next day a reddening on the lower part of the leg. Seemed to be spreading and when it started to puff up, went to emergency thinking this is the beginning of septicemia.
Antibiotic IV + 10 days scripts of antibiotics + $2000 later…….
The doctor said he was pleased that I came in early!
Interesting you mentioned your son has had bad cellulitis. If he had something that continue to spread, is that when you would think it’s out of hand?
Glad to hear you are okay. Boy that must have been pretty scary!
If I don’t do the baking soda remedy, within 2-3 days after the bite the area around the initial bump spreads about 2-3 inches. Once, the poor thing was bit right behind his ear and his whole ear swelled pretty badly. Then I applied topical hydrocortisone and gave motrin and watched closely.
Since we’ve been through this many times (I am also a nurse) I know what to look for. So I would say that if it spreads much more than that with no improvement, starts to ooze, or you get a fever, I would get it checked out.
Sounds like it could have been many types of bugs where you were gardening. Not sure where you live or what kind of spiders around, but certain kinds of spiders can cause a pretty bad cellulitis.
I’m in NZ and think maybe our mozzies are slightly different as my toddler eats a tonne of bananas and doesn’t get bitten – however he does also consume a lot of chicken liver so perhaps that repels them? I get bitten all the time and swell up to the point of not fitting in shoes. Since I’ve been consuming raw milk my reactions are less than half what they used to be. Next time I get attacked I’ll be sure to try the banana peel. Thanks for sharing!
I spray mosquito and fire ant bites with ammonia or windex…. stops the itch immediately. I might have to reapply for fire ant bites after a few hours, but it puts an immediate end to the mosquito itch. Also noticed that mosquito are not so interested in me after I added organ meat and raw milk and home made sauerkraut to our diet. I’m just sayin’………
Ok…so my son woke up with his leg swollen pretty bad from a bite he apparently got last night. I put the banana peel on his leg (he fought me the whole time…), but wasn’t able to keep it on very long-we were running late for school. So my question is, how long does the peel need to stay on, and should you wipe the spot after you take the peel off? I sent him off to school so we’ll see how it looks when he gets home. I have a feeling I didn’t keep it on long enough though…
My son is allergic to mosquito bites and gets giant red knots that last a week. The best thing I have found is lavender oil from doTERRA. Others may work, but this is what I use and it’s gone in 24 hours! I carry it with me everywhere now. It also stops the itching. Just rub a drop on the bite every few hours.
i use lavender oil too! works great and i love the smell 🙂
Feanne Hontiveros Mauricio via Facebook
My mom would use vinegar on our bites whether it was mosquito or ant bites.
Melissa Vrooman via Facebook
Apis works wonders for skeeter bites!
Thanks for a great blog. Banana peel and other tips on your website are excellent!
Jill Lillis via Facebook
Calcium Bentonite clay moistened and placed on *any* insect bite draws the poison right out.
How Long Do Bed Bug Bites Last and How to Heal them Faster
Bed bugs can leave a nasty cluster of bites on your skin that can last for a few days. For some people, however, bed bug bites can cause allergic reaction and symptoms that last much longer. Bed bug bites can cause a red bump to appear on the skin that becomes very itchy and irritating. Although scratching the itchy bump may give some temporary relief, it can cause the bed bug bites to last even longer.
Thankfully, there are many home remedies that can help to recover faster from bed bug bites. Ingredients like tea tree oil, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and witch hazel help to reduce the time bed bug bites last. Even just a cold compress is sometimes enough to quickly stop the itching and reduce the swelling that is left after a bed bug bite.
Of course, bed bug bites will last as long as you have a bug infestation in your bedroom. Therefore, as well as treating bed bug bites, you should take steps to get rid of bed bugs from your home. The faster you can remove a population of bed bugs, the quicker you can stop the pesky bugs biting you during the night.
In this article, you will learn how long bed bug bites last and what you can do to speed up the healing process. You will also find how to treat bed bug bites with natural remedies to ensure that the bed bug bite symptoms don’t last long.
How Long Do Bed Bug Bites Last?
If you notice red bite marks on your legs, face, arms, or back, your first thought will be to know how long the bed bug bites will last. Having bites on your face or arms is not only irritating but can also be very embarrassing. Bed bug bites can cause large bumps or welts that look unsightly and may even become infected.
According to doctors at the National Health Service (NHS), bed bug bites generally last for a few days. The bites are painless, but irritating symptoms can quickly appear. For some people, they wake up in the morning with bite marks from being bitten that night. 1
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that the symptoms of bug bites may appear up to 2 weeks after the actual bite. Therefore, it’s important to distinguish if the bites are from bed bugs or from another pest like a flea. 2
If you suffer from an allergic reaction to the bed bug bite, the red itchy bumps may last longer than on other people. The NHS says that, in some severe cases, bed bug bites can cause an itchy rash that blisters and fills with fluid. 1 According to Dr. Steven Doerr on eMedicineHealth, these kinds of bed bug bites will usually last for up to 2 weeks. 3
Unfortunately, bed bug bites will last longer if they become infected. The CDC says that excessive scratching of the bite marks can lead to bacteria getting into the red bump and so the bump becomes infected. 2
How to identify bed bug bites
If you notice that red marks have developed on your skin and they become itchy and swollen, it’s important to know if the red lumps are from a bed bug or another parasite.
Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that the symptoms of bed bug bites are a red mark or lump with a darker spot in the middle, itching around the infected area, and bite marks that are in a line or cluster. If you notice these kinds of bite marks on your skin, then you should check your sleeping area for signs of bed bugs. 4
To help identify if the bite marks have been left by bed bugs, you should now check all joints and crevices on your bed frame, box springs, furniture, and mattress seams for tell-tale signs of a bed bug infestation.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that physical signs of bed bugs are dark spots on bed linen that can be blood spots or bed bug feces, pale yellow shed skins, and tiny bed bug eggs. You may even notice the tiny biting pests crawling around corners of mattresses and bed frames. You can spot them because they are about the size of an apple seed and will generally hide in dark places. 5
If you find evidence of bed bugs living in your home, then it’s time to take action to remove the critters completely. For this, you may need to use a combination of the best bed bug powders along with effective bed bug sprays.
If you can’t find signs of a bed bug infestation, then your bite marks could have been caused by a flea.
Bed bug bites vs flea bites
Flea bites also cause itchy red bumps to appear on the skin and can last as long as bed bug bites. However, fleas will bite at any time of the day, whereas bed bugs tend to only come out at night to feed on blood. Because bed bug bites can appear up to 2 weeks after the initial bite, they can be difficult to tell apart.
One way to tell the difference between a flea bite and bed bug bite is their location on your body. According to dermatologists on DermNetNZ, flea bites tend to be on the ankles or around your waist. 6 However, bed bugs will bite any part of the body, and bite marks are common on the face, arms and upper legs, whereas flea bites are not.
According to doctors from WebMD, the best way to tell bed bug bites apart from flea bite is to look for physical signs of bed bug activity. 7
Lasting effects of bed bug bites
Bed bug bites have no lasting effect on humans. According to the CDC, bed bugs don’t spread disease and their bite marks will only last about 2 weeks or so. 2
One of the reasons, however, to treat bed bug bites as fast as possible is to reduce the itching and irritation that they cause. Doctors from the NHS warn that excessive scratching of a bed bug bite can cause skin infections, and if this leads to scarring, the bed bug bite scars will last for a long time. 1
How to Recover Faster from Bed Bug Bites
Recovering quickly from bed bug bites is important to reduce the irresistible urge to scratch the bite marks. Usually, doctors recommend hydrocortisone ointments to reduce swelling, inflammation, and itching. Here are some great ways you can make your own bed bug bite ointments. By applying these natural remedies, you can shorten the duration that bed bug bites last.
Cold tea bag compress for bed bug bites
A very simple way to relieve swelling and irritation caused by a bed bug biting is to apply a cold tea bag to the affected skin area. This has a two-fold effect on relieving itching. First, the cold helps to calm nerve endings that are irritated. Secondly, tea contains astringents that help to reduce swelling and itching.
For example, Dr. Patrick Davis on eMedicineHealth says that applying a cold compress to insect bites can help to reduce swelling and calm the affected area. 8
You can use either black tea bag, green tea bags, or chamomile tea for your compress. TheJournal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistrysays that black and green teas contain tannins which act as astringents. 9 Astringents help to reduce inflammation and itching. Also, studies into the healing effect of chamomile have shown that it has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin similar to hydrocortisone creams. 10
How to use:
To use a cold compress to shorten the duration a bed bug bite lasts, you should do the following:
- Place a tea bag in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes, remove and allow to cool.
- Hold the tea bag to the itchy bed bug bite for 10-15 minutes.
- Repeat 2-3 times a day to relieve the symptoms of a bed bug bite and help it heal faster.
If you have many bites, you can prepare a few tea bags and keep them in the refrigerator. This way you can get instant relief from an itchy bite whenever you need to.
Another natural astringent that you can use to quickly take the itch out of a bed bug bite lump is witch hazel. Also rich in tannins, witch hazel helps to relieve itchiness and inflammation fast from any kind of insect bite.
Witch hazel will also help to prevent any secondary bacterial infection that could hinder recovery from the bed bug bite. TheJournal of Inflammationreports that witch hazel has antiseptic and antioxidant properties. Witch hazel is also frequently used to reduce inflammation from irritated skin. 11
How to use:
It couldn’t be easier to use pure witch hazel to reduce the length of time a bed bug bite lasts. This is what you should do:
- Dip a cotton pad in pure witch hazel and hold to the affected skin area to reduce irritation.
- Hold for around 10 minutes to allow the astringents to go to work and bring down inflammation.
- Use the witch hazel remedy 2-3 times a day to speed up the healing process of bed bug bites and kill the urge to scratch.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV)
To help bed bug bites to heal quicker, you can apply diluted raw apple cider vinegar to the cluster of bites. Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid which helps to kill off germs and bacteria from the skin as well as being a great anti-itch remedy. In fact, apple cider vinegar makes a great facial wash to keep your skin healthy and vibrant.
For example, the journalExpert Opinion on Pharmacotherapypublished information on how to relieve pruritus (itching) naturally. It was found that skin applications that are acidic help to lower pH levels and thus help stop itching. 12
How to use:
To help treat the symptoms of bed bug bites and prevent secondary bacterial skin infections, you should use raw apple cider vinegar that is unprocessed. This is what you should do:
- Dilute equal parts of apple cider vinegar with water.
- Apply the solution to the itchy patches of skin where you have been bitten.
- Leave to dry and then rinse off with warm water.
- Use the apple cider vinegar remedy 2-3 times a day for instant relief for itching caused by bed bug bites.
Alternatively, you can use undiluted lemon juice in place of the ACV bed bug remedy. Lemon juice is also acidic by nature and will help to relieve itchy bumps and patches of red skin. Apply the lemon juice to itchy welts on your skin 2-3 times a day to stop the incessant itching.
Aloe vera is a well-researched medicinal plant that has a wonderful effect on healing irritated skin naturally. A little aloe vera on your bed bug bite marks will help to promote healing and nourish your skin at the same time. Aloe vera also has anti-inflammatory properties to stop skin itching.
Research into aloe vera has found that it can be used to heal itchy bug bites. For example, theSkin Pharmacology and Physiologyjournal reported that aloe vera was more effective than 1% hydrocortisone gel in alleviating skin irritation. 13
How to use:
Aloe vera will help your skin recover faster from bed bug bites and heal any rashes that have developed. You can use gel squeezed from an aloe vera plant or you can buy aloe vera gel that has as few added ingredients as possible. This is how to use aloe vera on bed bug bites:
- Gently massage aloe vera gel into the areas of skin where you have bed bug bites to relieve itchiness and irritation.
- Allow the gel to dry (you don’t have to rinse it off).
- Apply aloe vera gel a few times during the day to help your skin heal and stop itching in the inflamed bumps.
If you have had an unusually acute reaction to bed bug bites, aloe vera will help to reduce the immune response on your skin.
To stop the annoying itching that bed bug bites cause, you can use the soothing power of baking soda. Baking soda helps to reduce the size to bumps and lessen redness where you have been bitten.
According to Dr. David Derrer on WebMD, baking soda is a natural home remedy for bed bug bites. The anti-inflammatory properties of baking soda help to soothe itching, redness, and swelling that bug bites cause. 14
How to use:
It is very easy to make a healing baking soda paste to treat a bed bug bite naturally. All you need to make the home remedy is some baking soda and water.
- Take a tablespoon of baking soda and mix with some water to create a thick paste.
- Apply the healing paste to welts, bumps, and blisters where you have been bitten.
- Leave for 15 minutes to reduce itching and inflammation and rinse off with warm water.
- Apply the remedy in the morning and evening to help cut the length of time bed bug bites last.
Baking soda can also be combined with other ingredients to help keep your skin looking healthy.
If you are unfortunate enough to have large areas of bed bug bites on your skin, oatmeal may be the best home remedy for you. Oatmeal contains healing properties that relieve skin itching, irritation, and inflammation fast. Oatmeal can be made into a paste to be used as an anti-inflammatory treatment for your bed bug bites, or you can add it to a bath if you have lots of bed bug bites on your skin.
Scientific research into its healing properties has revealed that colloidal oatmeal (ground oatmeal) is safe to use to provide natural relief from itching and irritation. In fact, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration lists colloidal oatmeal as a remedy for insect bites. 15 One study in 2015 found that oatmeal has an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. It helps to reduce mild to moderate itching when applied to itchy rashes. 16
How to use:
To make a topical application to soothe bed bug bites that are itchy and red, you can add some yogurt to ground oatmeal. Here are the steps to make the bed bug remedy yourself:
- Take a cup of ground oatmeal and mix it with enough plain yogurt to create a paste.
- Apply the oatmeal paste to part of your body where you have bed bug bites.
- Leave for 20 minutes to soothe the itchy bug bites and bring down inflammation.
- Repeat 2 times a day for long-lasting relief from your bed bug bites.
If you have large areas of bed bug bites or they are in hard to reach places, you can add a cup of ground oatmeal to your bath. Bathing in oatmeal is also a great way to stop all-over body itching. A bath with oatmeal will not only stop your itching but the bath will help to relieve the stress from dealing with the bed bug problem.
You can use honey as a spot treatment to heal bed bug bites quicker and reduce the time they last. Honey is a powerful natural antibiotic that can be used if your bed bug bites show signs of a bacterial skin infection. The soothing effect of raw honey will also assist in calming itchiness and prevent scratching.
Doctors from the Mayo Clinic report that there are some studies which suggest that honey can be used as a topical anti-itch treatment. 17 Natural honey also adds a protective barrier on the skin which can help prevent the bed bug bites getting worse.
How to use:
The best kind of honey to use is Manuka honey for its powerful anti-inflammatory effects. However, you can use any honey as long as it is raw and unprocessed.
- Take a little honey and dab it onto your itchy bed bug bite marks.
- Gently massage the honey to help relieve itching and soothe inflammation.
- Use as necessary throughout the day whenever you get the urge to scratch the bed bug bites.
One great and cheap way to reduce the time itchy bed bug bites last is to apply sliced cucumber. Cucumbers are full of vitamins and minerals that help to keep your skin healthy and gorgeous.
Cucumber has a cooling effect on the skin and will calm and help stop a never-ending bed bug bite itch. For example, the journalFitoterapiareported that cucumber seeds have a cooling effect on the skin. Cucumbers also have enzymes that help to alleviate skin irritation and reduce swelling. 18
How to use:
For instant relief from the irritating effects of bed bug bites, this is how you can use cucumbers:
- Take a cucumber from the refrigerator and cut it into slices
- Place the sliced cucumber on the bed bug bites to quickly get rid of your itchy symptoms.
- Apply every time you get the urge to scratch the itchy swollen bite marks.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is an amazing essential oil that can help reduce inflammation and itching from a bed bug bite. Tea tree oil has many uses in skin care and helping to prevent skin infections and scratching itchy patches of skin is just one of them. Tea tree oil can also be added to coconut oil to provide even more relief to itchy skin.
TheBritish Journal of Dermatologyreported that tea tree oil can help treat histamine-induce skin inflammation. It was found that tea tree oil successfully soothed and treated skin inflammation and itchiness that is the result of allergic reactions. 19
How to use:
To use tea tree oil to help your skin recover faster from bed bug bites, this is what you should do:
- Add 2-3 drops of tea tree oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil to create a healing ointment.
- Apply a small amount of the tea tree oil remedy to the red rashes and clusters of bed bug bites.
- Use the ointment 2-3 times a day to promote healing and help get rid of your bed bug bites quicker.
- Repeat until all redness, swelling, and itchiness have gone from the bitten areas.
You can also use tea tree oil on its own as a spot treatment for insect bites. You can dab a drop of tea tree oil onto the red itchy bump to reduce swelling.
Alternatively, you can substitute tea tree oil for lavender oil and apply to your skin. A study in 2015 found that lavender oil contains compounds that are just as effective as some anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drugs. Lavender essential oil helps to reduce skin inflammation and inflammatory responses. 20
When to See a Doctor
In the rare occasions that home remedies don’t help to get rid of itching and swelling in a bed bug bite and they last for too long, you should visit your doctor or dermatologist. Also, doctors from the Mayo Clinic recommend visiting your doctor if many bed bug bites induce a severe allergic reaction or you notice anything unusual around the site of the bed bug bites. 4
Read my other related articles:
- NHS. Bedbugs.
- CDC. Bed bugs FAQ.
- eMedicineHealth. The symptoms of bed bug bites.
- Mayo Clinic. Bedbugs. Symptoms.
- EPA. How to find bed bugs.
- DermNetNZ. Flea bites.
- WebMD. How do I know if I’ve been bitten by a bed bug?
- eMedicineHealth. Insect bites.
- Phytojournal. Tannins are astringent.
- OWM. 2011;57(5):28-36.
- J Inflamm (Lond). 2011; 8: 27.
- Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2010 Jul; 11(10): 1673–1682.
- Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2008;21(2):106-10
- WebMD. Baking soda: what can it do for you?
- NCBI. Colloidal oatmeal powder.
- J Drugs Dermatol. 2015 Jan;14(1):43-8.
- MayoClinic. Honey.
- Fitoterapia. 2013 Jan;84:227-36
- Br J Dermatol. 2002 Dec;147(6):1212-7.
- An Acad Bras Cienc. 2015 Aug;87(2 Suppl):1397-408.