How To Cure A Bed Bug Bite

How to Identify Bed Bug Bites—and How to Treat Them

Wake up with reddish welts or itchy skin? The culprit may be a bed bug hiding under your bed. These are the signs a dermatologist and entomologist look for.

Changlu Wang/Courtesy Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station

Unfortunately, a bed bug bite has no telltale sign, according to a review published in theAmerican Society for Microbiology. The reaction to bites varies tremendously from one person to the next. Some people will have no reaction or just minor itching and mosquito-like bumps in one area; others will get dramatic red raised welts all over. “It depends on the number of feeding bugs on the body, how long the person has been suffering bites, and also where the bites are located,” says Jody Green, PhD, an urban entomologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Five stages of post-bed bug bites

If you have evidence of bed bug bites on your skin, it’s due to your body’s allergic response, according to the U.S. Armed Forces’ 2019 Pest Management Board: Technical Guide #44. That response can take a few different forms: little to no reaction; an immediate reaction—often a red spot with minor discomfort; a delayed reaction in which red weals turn up within 14 days that trigger intense itching that can last two to five days; or, unfairly, a combination of immediate and delayed reactions. This makes it tough to know what’s gnawing on you without the help of an entomologist or dermatologist. Although this guide to bug bites may help.

Familiar signs of bed bug bites

While there is no exact way to tell what bug bit you, dermatologist A. Yasmine Kirkorian, MD, an assistant professor of Dermatology & Pediatrics, Children’s National Health System, says there are some patterns doctors look for: “Bed bugs typically bite several times in a row so people may notice several red itchy bumps grouped closely together, a pattern sometimes called ‘breakfast, lunch, and dinner,’” she explains. “They can occur anywhere on the body; bed bug bites on the face may cause intense swelling including of the eyelid.” A small study found that 72 percent of people who were bitten by bed bugs had itchy red welts, 50 percent had redness or discoloration, and 28 percent had itching with no welts. Call your doc or dermatologist and look for these signs of bed bugs in your house.

It can’t be bed bug bites

Let’s say you are sleeping in the same bed as your partner and your partner wakes up with bites but you don’t. Must not be bed bugs, right? Sadly, it still could be. “The most challenging thing about bed bug bites is that there is are people who do not react to bed bug bites, so they have no adverse skin responses and have no idea that they are being fed upon while they are sleeping,” says Green. One survey found that nearly one in three people had no reaction to bed bug bites. When the researchers broke out reactions by age, they found that 42 percent of people over 65 had no reaction. Bites or no bites, this is how bed bugs could get in your bedroom.

Bed bug bite treatment

People who do react to bed bugs often have intense itching. “Once a patient has been bitten, it is difficult to eradicate the itching. Over-the-counter anti-itch creams that contain one percent pramoxine can help,” says Dr. Kirkorian. Try Aveeno with pramoxine and calamine. Oral antihistamines such as Zyrtec and Benadryl may be effective too, says Dr. Kirkorian. But if your itching persists, your dermatologist or doctor might prescribe topical steroids such as triamcinolone and fluocinonide.

Just thinking about bed bugs can wreck your sleep, as well. Talk to your doctor if you start suffering from insomnia. “A sedating antihistamine such as Benadryl could be safe to use,” says Dr. Kirkorian.

Home remedies for bed bug bites

Before you commit to natural bed bug treatment, remember to practice good hygiene and caution, advises Larry Bishop, MD, a dermatologist with Health First Medical Group: Be sure to wash the area with soap and water first to reduce the risk of infection; if the area appears irritated or develops a rash, stop using the treatment and see a doctor. For remedies, Dr. Bishop suggests trying peppermint oil: “It works by two mechanisms—the peppermint oil is a vasoconstrictor (blood vessel constrictor), which lessens the pain and irritation from bed bug bites. Additionally, the peppermint works as a soothing agent by gently stimulating the nerves around the bite.” Try adding a few drops to a warm bath; if you want to apply it to the bites, dilute it first with an oil such as coconut, jojoba or olive.

Lemon balm is another favorite for bug bites. Crush or roll the leaves with your fingers to release the juice, apply it to the bites, and wrap with a bandage. “It works by having soothing properties and antibacterial properties,” Dr. Bishop says. Finally, there’s household ammonia—research suggests that it can help with itchy bites. It may not smell great, says Dr. Bishop, but if you put a little on a cotton ball and dab it on the area right away, it can help. “It works by neutralizing the proteins that are in the saliva of the bed bugs.” The saliva is what produces the allergic reaction in some people, and the quicker you neutralize it, the better.

When to see the doctor

Your bed bug bites will generally clear up on their own, but if you itch them the scratching can lead to secondary infections. “The initial bite may be a portal for bacteria to enter the skin. If a patient develops a worsening red bump, pus drainage, a fever, or other signs of systemic illness, they should seek urgent medical attention,” advises Dr. Kirkorian. Then, find out how to get rid of bed bugs.

How to Treat Insect Bites and Spider Stings

Rod Brouhard is an emergency medical technician paramedic (EMT-P), journalist, educator, and advocate for emergency medical service providers and patients.

Michael Menna, DO, is a board-certified, active attending emergency medicine physician at White Plains Hospital in White Plains, New York.

Most bug bites and stings are a minor irritation, and you may simply want to relieve the pain, itch, and swelling. But you might be worried it they have the potential for more serious consequences. The good news is that most of bites and stings you get from North American critters are harmless in themselves, but some people can have a moderate to severe reaction, even anaphylaxis. On other continents, you face a greater risk of deadly infections that are spread by bug bites, and there are some poisonous insects. Here is what you should do when you get bitten or stung in North America.

Identify the Insect That Bit or Stung You

Gunter Ziesler / PhotoLibrary / Getty Images

Insects, spiders, and scorpions are capable of causing very painful reactions. It’s very helpful if you know what did the biting or stinging:

  • Mosquito bites can expose you to serious diseases like West Nile virus or Zika.   Mosquitoes are usually found near standing water.
  • Tick bites can expose you to Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Lyme disease.   They are usually found in wooded areas.
  • Biting flies can be found around garbage or waste.
  • Fire ant bites give burning sensations and pain.  
  • Flea bites often occur in clusters and you can often pick them up when around pets.  
  • Bedbugs give itchy red bumps that are usually in a pattern of two to three in a row and occur at night.   (Learn more about diagnosis and treatment.)
  • Spider bites and, especially, scorpion stings can be more worrisome, even potentially deadly.  

The reality, however, is that most bites are from unidentified bugs. In the worst-case scenario, they can be immediately dangerous because of the possibility of anaphylaxis.

Anaphylaxis

The most serious concern is a bite that triggers an extreme reaction in a sensitive person, known as anaphylaxis. While the bite or sting is uncomfortable for most people, it can set off an overreaction of the immune system in a small number of people.   Without immediate treatment, there is a risk of death.

Look for signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis:

  • Itching
  • Swelling (other than the site of the sting)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Hives or redness

If you see or feel any of those symptoms,call 911 immediately. If the person who was bitten has a history of severe allergy and carries epinephrine, those signs and symptoms tell you that it’s time to use the epinephrine. Call 911 first, then use the EpiPen (or whichever brand the person is carrying).

Ease the Pain of Insect Bites and Stings

If you’ve been bitten or stung, move to place away from further exposure to the bugs to prevent getting more bites or stings.

Here are some basic things you can do to ease the pain, itching, burning, or swelling from a bug bite or sting:

  1. If you’ve been stung, remove the stinger if it is still in your skin.
  2. Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the site of the sting. Alternate on and off to prevent tissue damage and don’t place the ice directly on the skin. Usually 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
  3. If the person with the bite or sting has any involuntary muscle movements,call 911 immediately. Black widow spider bites can cause muscle spasms.
  4. For pain relief, try topical treatments like sting swabs, hydrocortisone lotion, or lidocaine preparations. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are good for pain. You may want to use an antihistamine such as Benadryl if you have swelling.

Keep an eye out for signs of illness over the first few days following a bug bite. Fever, jaundice (skin or eyes turning yellow), sweating, or pus oozing from the site of the bite all require a call to the doctor.

How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites Overnight? (Treat Surot Bite)

After writing how to get rid of roaches?, how to get rid of fruit flies?, how to get rid of ants?, how to get rid of fleas?, and home remedies to get rid of bed bugs naturally, we are now writing how to get rid of bed bug bites? The seriousness of symptoms associated with bed bug bites fluctuates for every person. Some people are so allergic to the bites that they create a rash and extreme itching, while others may not by any means know they were bitten. Before you attempt remedies to treat bed bug bites (surot bite), verify that its a bed bug bite only not from any other bug or insect like mosquito bites.

(A) Confirm a Bed Bug Bite Before You Treat Bed Bugs Bites

1.) Verify the Bites to Treat Bed Bug Bites

Look at the bites carefully. Bed bug bites commonly look like other insect bites, including mosquito bites, this might be hard to identify. Indeed a doctor can’t usually diagnose bites essentially by looking at them. Watch for the bed bug’s bite design. If it is a bed bug bite, it will appear in a group. You always see the bed bug bites in 3 to 5 rows, it can’t appear alone.

2.) Check Reasons to Treat Bed Bug Bites

Give careful consideration to when the bites occur. This can likewise be difficult to focus on the grounds that each individual’s response time can differ significantly. Symptoms that result from the bite can show sometime or another from a couple of hours to more than a week after the bite occurred.

3.) Check Bed and Bedding to Treat Bed Bug Bites

Check your bed and bedding for signs of bed bugs. Look for red spots of blood on the bed sheet. Maybe these spots came, when a bed bug was squashed in the wake of feeding, or from the bites left of you when the bug is carried out feeding. Check the entire sleeping pad, including the creases on the sides. Look for resting bed bugs, corpses, vacant skins and excrement.

(B) Home Remedies to Treat Bed Bug Bites

1.) Baking Soda to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites

Baking Soda is one of the best remedies for bed bug bites treatment. It has anti-inflammatory properties that deal with burning sensations. It also helps get relief from redness and itchiness. What you have to do is make a paste with baking soda and apply it topically on the affected area. Follow the given steps for the purpose:

  • Take a teaspoon of baking soda and mix it with some water to make a paste.
  • Now apply the paste on the affected area and leave for 20 minutes.
  • Wash it with water.
  • Do it several times a day for best results.

2.) Cold Compress to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites

Cold compress is one of the best ways to cure insect bites. It is also an instant way to deal with redness and swelling. It fights of inflammation as well. What you have to do is give your bites a cold compress and you will have the instant results. Follow the steps for the purpose:

  • Take a clean cotton cloth and put four ice cubes in it.
  • Wrap it well and apply it on the affected area.
  • Keep repeating as per your requirement.

3.) Apple Cider Vinegar to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites

Apple cider vinegar is one of the most amazing remedies used to treat a number of skin problems. It is equally effective at bed bug bites as well. It is rich in contents that helps get rid of inflammation, swelling and redness. Follow the steps given below to use it:

  • Take a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in a bowl and dilute it with water.
  • Take a cotton swab and dip in the vinegar.
  • Apply it on the bites and leave for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, wash it normal water.
  • Keep repeating the process as per your requirement.

4.) Warm Bath to Treat Bed Bug Bites

  • Soak yourself in a warm bath. Add 1/2 cup (118 ml) of any of the following to help control itching.
  • Concentrated peppermint oil.
  • Powdered oats. You can find this in health and medicine stores, packaged for utilizing a bath item.
  • Baking soda, with or without a little salt added to it.
  • Alka-Seltzer, however, just if you are not allergic.

5.) Aloe Vera Gel to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites

You can also use Aloe Vera gel to get rid of bed bug bites. Aloe Vera has soothing properties and also helps speed up the healing process. It works on irritation and inflammation and relieves you from pain and itchiness. What you have to do is:

  • Take an Aloe Vera leaf and cut it into.
  • Extract the gel from it in a bowl.
  • Now apply the gel on the affected area.
  • Leave it for 20 minutes and then wash with cool water.
  • Repeat the process several times a day for best results.

6.) Witch Hazel to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites

You can also opt for witch hazel to heal bed bug bites. It is mostly used as a facial cleanser which is easily available at drug store. It helps calm itching effectively. Also, it helps treat inflammation and swelling. Follow the steps given below to use it.

  • Take some witch hazel in a bowl.
  • Dip a cotton swab in it and apply on the affected area
  • Keep the cotton on the affected are and hold it for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, you can remove the cotton.
  • No need to wash the area, but wash the area before repeating the process.

7.) Lemon Juice to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites

Lemon is one of the most effective remedies used to cure bed bug bites. Bed bug bites can cause rashes on the affected area. Lemon juice has natural astringent properties that help dry out these rashes and stimulate the healing process. It also helps you get rid of swelling and itchiness. The only bad part about lemon is that it can cause sunburn. So, it is advised avoid sunlight after using it. To use it:

  • Take a lemon juice in a ball.
  • Use a cotton ball to apply it on the affected area.
  • Allow it to dry on its own and then rinse off the area.
  • Repeat as needed.

8.) Cucumber to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites

Cucumber has cooling properties that calms down the inflammation. It also helps you get rid of redness and itchiness. Using it is also easy. But, before using it, make sure that it was kept in refrigerator for some time. What you have to do is:

  • Take a cucumber and cut it into thick slices.
  • Rub the slices on the affected area.
  • Leave it as it is and repeat as you require.

9.) Tea Bags to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites

Tea bags also have soothing properties that helps speed up the healing process. Just follow the steps given below to use it:

  • Boil a glass of water and dip two tea bags in it.
  • Now keep the tea bags in freezer for 30 minutes.
  • Apply the tea bags on the affected area and you cure bed bug bites well.

10.) Basil to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites

You can also go for basil leaves to cure bed bug bites. It has soothing properties that help deal with the inflammation and itchiness. What you have to do is:

  • Take a few basil leaves and grind them to make a paste.
  • Apply the paste on the affected area and leave it for 20 minutes.
  • Wash it with normal water and you will see the difference.
  • Do it twice a day for best results.

11.) Toothpaste to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites

Yes, you can also use toothpaste to heal bed bug bites fast at home. Using it is simple. You just have to apply it on the affected area. Make sure that you can white toothpaste. It has menthol that helps cool the burning sensations and irritation.

12.) White Vinegar to Treat Bed Bug Bites

Apply white vinegar to the bites. Take a cotton ball and absorb it with white vinegar. Dab the vinegar onto the bites – be cautioned, it may sting a little. After 20-30 minutes, the size of the bites should be significantly reduced.

13.) Soap and Water to Treat Bed Bug Bites

Treat the itch with soap and water. Wash the area with mellow soap and water; Wet the hand surface by utilizing a soap bar and enough water. Work the soap in your hands into thick, rich soapy lather. Rub the lather over the influenced area generously. Repeat until the entire area is secured. Leave on; don’t flush; permit the soap lather to dry over the bitten areas. When you wake up in the morning, you can see a prompt easing from itching. Also, the size of the bites and the swelling should be reduced.

(C) Other Medications to Treat Bed Bug Bites

  • Apply a steroidal anti-itch over-the-counter (OTC) cream that contains cortisone or hydro-cortisone. Strictly follow the directions written on the package to apply it rightly.
  • Use calamine cream to dry the rash and secure the skin while it recuperates.
  • Purchase a topical analgesic OTC that contains pramoxine for pain relief and diphendrydramine for itch control.
  • Take oral antihistamine anaphylaxis tablets to control the swelling and rash associated with the bites. Follow package guidelines for proper measurements.
  • Take OTC pain relievers that contain ibuprofen or naproxen as needed.

Useful Tip to Treat Bed Bug Bites:

See your doctor if your symptoms don’t clear up inside a couple of weeks or keep on worsening. You ought to similarly see a doctor for judgement on the off chance that you don’t run across indications of bed bugs in your bed and can’t distinguish the source of the bites or the rash.

How to Treat a Bed Bug Rash

How Does an Individual Get a Bed Bug Bite Rash?

Bed bugs commonly infest summer cabins, especially at camps, hiking trail shelters and parks. Many times, 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 reside in dark areas and crevices near the host. Their only food is the blood they obtain from the host. Hosts for this bug 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 while the host sleeps, generally just before dawn. They will usually not be seen during the daylight hours unless the infestation is severe.

This bug will secure itself to the host’s skin using its claws and then inserts it ‘beak’ into the skin of the host. The ‘beak’ consists of two tubes (stylets); one sucks up the host’s blood while the 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.

Have Bed Bug Problems?

Feeding Based on Age

Nymphs (adolescents) feed for approximately three minutes while an adult may continue to feed on the blood of the host for ten to fifteen minutes.

Amazingly, they can survive 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 upon the host’s susceptibility.

How Common are These Rashes?

The National Pest Management Association has stated that prior to the year 2000, as few as 25% of the pest control companies in the United States had encountered an infestation of these nasty bugs. Currently that number has risen to 95%.

At this point in time 76% of the United States pest control professionals think that this bug is the most difficult pest to eradicate.

Companies that previously received one or two calls per year are now reporting that they receive one or two calls weekly.

Why has the Infestation Returned?

There are various factors that are contributing to the resurgence in the United States. Citizens are frequently traveling to foreign areas that are infested.

Second-hand furniture and furnishings have become extremely popular. Populations have increased their resistance to the various pesticides. Control has been neglected by the pest control industry since the ‘40s.

What Does a Typical Bite Rash Look Like?

When these bugs bite an individual, they can develop a 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.

Many times 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 parasites. Many times, they assume the rash is just a skin allergy.

However, once you are aware of what to look for, it is very easily recognizable.

One of the first signs is numerous tiny or raised skin bumps. These bumps will always be in a row or cl ustered pattern. This is because they generally feed more than one time at the same location.

Other Signs to Watch Out For

The next 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 common areas. The reason these places are the most common sites is because these areas are usually exposed during the night. Exposed areas of the host are what they prefer.

For a lot of individuals these tiny red bumps will generally manifest hours or even days after the bite. These bumps will then begin to itch. If these bumps are scratched, the area may become inflamed because of a severe infection.

The bites or welts are misdiagnosed by many dermatologists 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.

Personality

These bugs are very 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 ten minutes or longer non-stop!

One will consume as much as six times its body weight in blood. However, usually the individual is unaware that they are being bitten. Once they have completed feeding, they look extremely bloated and have even been characterized 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 occur. The have been known to carry contributory agents for plague, anthrax, tularemia, typhus, relapsing fever and yellow fever.

They have been known to CARRY these diseases; at this point in time, there is NO PROOF that they actually TRANSMIT them. Children residing in homes that are extremely bug-ridden tend to become pale and listless.

How Long Does a Bite Rash Last?

Usually, the rash will appear several hours after the actual bite has occurred. In some cases, however, the rash may not appear for days. The appearance of the rash is dependent 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.

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 individuals will not have any reaction whatsoever, while others who have more sensitivity to allergies may develop rashes that cause extreme itching as they are continuously bitten nightly.

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

How Can a Bite Rash be Treated?

The swelling and redness that is associated with a bite rash does not clear very easily. However, 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 important to remember not to scratch the bites. Scratching the bites ONLY MAKES THEM ITCH MORE and does have the ability to cause a secondary skin infection.

Names of Medications Used for the Treatment

Cortaid

There are topical steroid creams that are applied directly to the affected area to eliminate the itching sensation. One of these creams is hydrocortisone. Hydrocortisone is available with or without a prescription. The lower strength creams may be purchased over-the-counter.

However, if the low dose cream does not work, you may need to obtain a prescription from your physician to purchase a stronger dose.

Creams Containing Dephendrydramine & Pramoxine

The optimal creams contain a mixture of pramoxine to assist with the tenderness and pain and diphendrydramine to eliminate the itching associated with the rash.

Creams & Lotions Containing Benzyl Alcohol

Lotions and creams containing benzyl alcohol may also be used to treat both the symptoms of itching and pain. These lotions and creams can be extremely effective in eliminating the itch to resolve the bite rash rather quickly.

Calamine Lotion

The use of Calamine Lotion will assist in protecting the skin while it heals. It also speeds the drying of the rash, which facilitates a quicker healing process.

Alka-Seltzer

If the individual is NOT allergic to aspirin, a cotton ball can be dipped into an Alka-Seltzer solution and then rubbed onto the bite rash to assist in clearing it up quicker.

Prednisone

Oral steroids are also useful in treating the itching. One of these steroids is called Prednisone and a prescription must be obtained from a physician to purchase this product. It is not an over-the counter medication.

Benadryl

Oral antihistamines can be very effective in relieving the itching sensation. One of these antihistamines is called Benadryl; however, these medications tend to cause drowsiness.

Therefore, this kind of medication is better used prior to retiring. It is not necessary to obtain a prescription from a doctor to purchase this medication. It is an over-the-counter product available at your local pharmacy.

Zyrtec & Claritin

There are some oral antihistamines that may be taken during the daytime and are not prone to cause drowsiness. A couple of these medications are Claritin and Zyrtec. It is not necessary to obtain a prescription for these medications either. Both are available over-the-counter at your local pharmacy.

Oral Antibiotic or an Antibiotic Ointment

If a bacterial infection occurs on the skin, a health-care provider/physician may prescribe an oral antibiotic or antibiotic ointment to treat the skin infection.

Corticosteroids, Antihistamines or Epinephrine Injections

Should an individual be suffering with a systemic allergic reaction, a physician can administer antihistamines, corticosteroids or epinephrine to the individual. *It is important to note that this condition is extremely rare.

Natural Remedies to Consider

Apply lukewarm water above 120°F or 50°C to the area that has been bitten as soon as possible. This has been known to relieve some of the symptoms.

Just by washing the rash regularly with the use of antibacterial soap helps to keep the bacteria from growing on the rash and causing an infection.

Applying a mixture of baking soda and salt to the affected areas will 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 areas affected.

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. This should help relieve some of the itching.

Lemon juice or Witch Hazel may be applied directly on the bites.

Home Treatment Suggestion Regimen

Wash the affected area with hot water and soap. Apply anesthetic lotion or cream liberally. To avoid welting and swelling apply ice to the affected areas.

Repeat the regimen every 6 to 8 hours until the symptoms subside.

When to Seek Medical Attention

If unsure what is actually causing the skin lesions, call a health-care provider or a physician.

If any signs that indicate a secondary infection are present, it is time to call the doctor. *Many times this secondary infection is caused by scratching of the bites/rash.

It is rare, but there have been cases of systemic allergic reactions, meaning affecting the body throughout. It is necessary to seek medical attention if this condition occurs.

Following-up with the health-care provider or physician could be necessary following a systemic allergic reaction. The health-care provider or physician may want to monitor your progress especially if a secondary skin infection had developed.

Preparing to See the Health-Care Provider/Physician

Prepare a List

Write down a very detailed description of all your symptoms.

Provide history related to any recent travel, especially international travel. Include information concerning any recent motel or hotel stays.

All the supplements and drugs you have taken including the dosage, frequency and when the last time was that you took these medications or supplements.

The health-care provider or physician will examine the areas that have been bitten.

The Life Cycle

Each female will lay from one to five eggs every day. That means that each female can lay anywhere from 200 to 500 eggs in her lifetime. These eggs are yellow/white and elongated. They are approximately 1/25” in length and just slightly curved.

Each batch of eggs is fastened on rough surfaces with cement after being laid in clusters. This process occurs several times daily in protected places such as the ceiling, floor crevices and furniture cracks. These are just a few places they deposit their eggs.

Nearly several hundred could be deposited in a period of just two months. A female will not continue to lay eggs after 11 days if she does not feed.

When Do the Eggs Hatch?

The eggs will hatch sometime between one to three weeks. The length of time prior to the hatching of the eggs will depend on the temperature where the eggs were deposited. In the warmer weather, the incubation time will be shortened. Once the eggs hatch, it is now considered to be a nymph.

Nymphs are tiny and have no color upon hatching. They have five stages. The nymph has to molt or instar five times and feed on a full meal of blood prior to proceeding to the next stage of its metamorphosis. The amount of the host’s blood that is taken at each of these 5 meals is from 2 ½ to 6 times the nymph’s original weight.

This period can continue for several weeks when the conditions are favorable or up to an entire year when there are no hosts to feed on and the temperatures are low. The nymph looks similar to an adult, only smaller and pale yellow, straw colored or white prior to feeding.

Color Changes

Once the nymph has fed, it will turn purple or red. A nymph can survive for nearly 2 months without feeding on a host. A nymph is approximately the size of the letter ‘R’ in the word ‘liberty’ that is on a penny.

The nymph will undergo a gradual and simple metamorphosis and eventually become an adult. Once they reach adulthood it will be shiny and brown.

Very soon, after becoming an adult, they mate and the cycle will begin again. The adults are about as big as Lincoln’s head on the penny. An adult prefer humans as their host.

Where to Look

It is important to remember that they have a very flat body that allows it to hide almost anywhere. During the initial onset of the infestation, they are only visible around the tufts and seams of the mattress. As the infestation grows, these bugs spread out and inhabit larger and larger areas. Generally they prefer rough surfaces like wood or paper for their harborages.

These parasites can be found in a multitude of places throughout the home. However, they will not usually stray very far from their host; therefore, the bedroom would be a good place to start the search. It is usually the center of the infestation.

Favorite Hiding Spots

Some of the places they reside include dark and tight cracks in the home, in mattress seams, under buttons, in holes, inside walls, upholstered furniture ticking and seams, in or on bedside furniture, dressers, electrical outlets, wall boards, window and door frames, behind baseboards and pictures.

They can also hide out in where slats join beds, under wallpaper or borders that are loose, under wall-to-wall carpeting, under tack boards, in bed clothes, hollow bed frames and any place that is dark and isolated is a place that they would call home. Inspecting the home at night with only a red light will assist in locating the infestation.

Smell the suspicious areas; if there is a sweet smell resembling rotting raspberries you may have an infestation. This is the smell of the liquid excreted by the bug when it is afraid.

Brown or black spots of dried excrement on the bed linens also indicate their presence.

Tips on How to Eliminate Within the Home

These bugs are extremely sensitive to heat in every stage of their life. Thermal death point of a common bed bug is just 111°F to 113°F. Many times even temperatures that are lower than this, 97°F to 99° F can kill multitudes. If the temperature is raised to 140° F for about an hour or to 120°F for several hours most infestations will be eradicated.

If a steam cleaner is used to steam or hair dryer is used to heat the crevices and cracks of the mattress every week, this will assist in keeping them at bay. The mattress can be placed inside a sauna at 170°F weekly to help eliminate any bugs.

Low temperatures also kill these pests, including the eggs. These temperatures range from 32°F to 48°F and must be maintained for up to 50 days to ensure the eggs have died. The nymphs and adults will die within a few hours. An infested bedroom can be closed off and unheated during the cold weather and the bugs will be eradicated.

Vacuuming and Changing Lines

Vacuum all the areas where they routinely reside. By vacuuming all the hiding places daily, the bugs and their eggs will be removed along with their shelter-the dirt. ALWAYS be sure to place the vacuum bag into a sealed garbage bag outside.

Do this OUTSIDE of the home and immediately after vacuuming. EVEN IF THE BAG IS NOT FULL-this needs to be done EVERY time the home is vacuumed until the bugs have been TOTALLY eliminated from the home.

Change bed linens daily, or in the least weekly. Wash the bedding and the bed with Borax. The bedding should be laundered at the minimum of 120°F. Dry the bedding on high heat as well. Place the pillows and any other non-washable items in the dryer on high heat at least once weekly. Do not allow the bedding to touch the floor at any time.

Other Home Maintenance Tips

Since this bug 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. Then, 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 any 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 creatures are a very annoying and pernicious vermin and with an experienced professional helping, the time necessary to eradicate these pests will be shortened.

Eliminating and Preventing Outside the Home

Keep all vegetation away from the home’s foundation. This includes shrubs as well as weeds.

Move all woodpiles and debris away from the home.

Eliminate all the rodent pests and garbage outside the home.

How to Treat a Bug Bite at Home (and When to Head to the Hospital)

There’s a Better Way to Treat an Insect Bite

Millions of Americans are bitten by mosquitos and other insects every year and most of those bites are itchy and painful, but not very serious.

If your camping trip or day at the beach has left you riddled with pink, itchy spots, you’ll want to know when to treat at home and when it’s better left to the professionals. To get the bottom of it, we teamed up with the special effects team at SyFy Channel’s Face Off and Dr. John Torres, NBC News Medical Correspondent, to create realistic bug bites, both minor and more severe, to show you how to treat a them at home — and when you should head to the hospital.

Dr. Torres says that the majority of the bites he sees in emergency rooms don’t actually need professional medical attention, but some do. "The number one thing you want to look for is any sign of infection," says Dr. Torres. Here’s what you need to know:

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