Everything You Need to Know About Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites are one of the most troublesome household pests. It is a statistical fact that bed bugs are becoming a great menace to healthy living in the USA.  Living in one these cities in the US, one would exactly know how sinister these bed bug bites can be – Chicago, Detroit, Columbus, Cleveland, Akron, Canton, Dallas – Ft. Worth, Cincinnati, Denver, Richmond, Petersburg and Dayton.

adult bed bug biting skin

A Bed Bug Puncturing the Skin leaving a Small Mark

The Statistics

The worldwide epidemic is growing. According to 2015 statistics,  99% of pest control professionals treated a bed bug infestation. It may not be an escalation from the figures in 2013, but, no doubt, a higher percentage than the preceding decade and a half. And, it is even more unsettling to know that these bugs’ favorite places are apartments/condos, hotels/motels, and single-family homes.

They are also propagating in places like offices, schools, hospitals, nursing homes, public transportation, and college dorms.

bed bug after blood feeding

A Bed Bug After Eating

Bed Bug Bites – The Modus Operandi

It is always the case that we never know when bed bugs bite or more accurately puncture the skin. People only realize they have been bitten after experiencing discomfort, pain or itching. Their favorite time for a hearty meal is an hour before the sunrise. But the sly nature of these insects is not the only reason why the host never realizes that she/he has been the site of a blood meal. Their modus operandi is the reason.

The two tubes that these bugs have in their mouth are its weapons. When they dig one into the host’s flesh, they inject in a dose of anesthesia (hence no pain) plus a dose of anticoagulant for thinning the blood. With the other tub, they just suck on. And this is why we never feel any pain at the time of the bite.

bed bug bites on back

Bed Bug Bites on Back

How Do You Discover the Bite?

Some lucky people do not experience the discomfort of bite at all. For most unlucky ones who do experience do get to know how bad it can be.

These are the usual symptoms:

  • Red blisters or hives
  • Conspicuous bites, red and swollen, with a darker center
  • Bites in a line or a cluster
  • Itching and discomfort

Bed bugs can bite anywhere on the body but usually on the more exposed ones like arms, legs, neck, back, etc. sometimes these symptoms may even take days to show up.

Here is the clever thing that they do. Since they do not feed every day but only once in five to ten days, when you discover the symptoms, you may learn that it may be different bugs that may be biting you every day. And so, you may notice that the bites are a part of a bigger pattern.

Scratching the bitten area often results in pain on scratching because it leads to secondary infections and sometimes even bleeding.  To determine what type of bite you have, one approach is to review bed bugs bite pictures along with secondary confirmation such as fecal stains on a mattress or the capture and identification of an actual insect.

3 bed bug bites on skin in tirangle pattern

Classic Bed Bug Triangle Bite Pattern on Skin

Do Not Confuse a Bed Bug Bite with another Insect Bite

Confusing a bed bug bite with a mosquito bite or a flea bite is easy, and many people do commit this folly. The result – you end up treating it with the wrong remedy. While people may do something about t fleabite, mosquito bites are usually left just lie that in the anticipation of self-healing.

But bed bug bites can foster further infections if left like exposed. Not that the bugs are carriers of any infection but the scratching that such a bite warrants, brings along the vulnerability to secondary infections.
The biggest difference in the appearance of these bites from the three insects is that mosquito bites are sporadic, scattered all around. They take a bite whenever and wherever there is an opportunity. So there is never a pattern. Flea bites are concentrated at the feet and the ankles, Also they are pretty small bite marks. The bites from a bed bug have a close-knit pattern, either a line or a cluster and the post scratching symptoms do take some time to heal.

chronic bed bug bites on neck

Chronic Bed Bug Bites on Neck

Here is What these Bites Result In

These clever bugs may surely use the human body as their carriers, but they do not spread any infection or disease per se. The only and the biggest problem is the infection that takes place with excessive scratching that turns the bite into a wound of sorts.

An indirect repercussion could be sleeplessness for the fear of being bitten again. It is a real problem and does happen to many people.

Also, if you happen to be allergic to bed bug bites, the consequences can be quite troublesome for you. You could have blown up bite marks, burning sensation, pain, and in rare cases, anaphylactic response. It is an allergic response that can be fatal if not treated properly in time. Its symptoms are the formation of hives, an increase in swelling and lowering down of blood pressure. The person may go in a state of shock.

row of bed bug bites on arm

Straight Line Bed Bug Bite Pattern on Arm

How to Treat Bed Bug Bites?

Unless you are allergic to these bites, there is many a remedy that you can administer at home. But if you do have an allergy, the physician is the first person you must run to.

chronic bed bug bites on hand

Chronic Bed Bug Allergic Bite Reaction on Hand

Here are some hacks for remedying these sinister bites:

  • Rub Soap Lather on the Affected AreaWash the bitten area with water and rub soap lather in it liberally. Use a soap bar instead of liquid. Let it be for a while. You will feel a major relief in itching. It is crucial to stop the itch as it is only by scratching that any infection is likely to hit.

    However, don’t take it too far as dryness can further make the skin itchy.

  • Do Take an Oral Anti-HistamineAn oral anti-histamine will help curb the allergic reaction that may be caused due to scratching the bitten area. Make sure you consult your physician in case you have never used it before. Making sure that proper dosage is administered is important.
  • You May Use Skin OintmentsIf you do not wish to take oral anti-histamine, you can use an over-the-counter cream that is steroidal. It will help reduce the inflammation as well as itching in a short while.

    Alternatively, you may also opt for calamine lotion which has a soothing quality. Apart from this, it will also settle the rashes.

  • Work on Pain ReliefIf the pain is too much to take, you can go for OTC oral analgesic and anti-inflammatory medication. Ibuprofen, aspirin and the like can work well for mitigating the pain.
  • Use Some Lemon Juice
    Lemon is a natural astringent. This is why it will help drying out the rashes. By doing this, it can lessen itching remarkably. Moreover, it is also anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory in nature, which means that it will bring down infection as well as inflammation.Just dip a cotton ball in lemon juice (squeezed at home), dab it around on the bitten area and let it dry. Do this 3-4 times a day and you shall find some relief in the condition. But make sure that you do not get much exposed to the sun as lemon will increase your chances of sunburn.
  • Try Some Ice PackThe chilling effect of the ice pack numbs down the nerve endings and mitigates the sensation of itching. Plus, it can also lower down the swelling.

    You can either buy an ice pack from a pharmacy, or you may simply wrap some ice cubes in a towel and keep it on the bites. Leave it for around 10 minutes, and repeat if you feel the need.

  • Witch Hazel Can HelpWitch hazel is a sort of astringent that you can procure from any drug store near your house. It is liquid and is popular as a cleansing agent for the face. It has properties that can calm down the sensation of itching. It contains agents which have an anesthetic effect.

    Simply saturate a cotton ball in witch hazel and anoint the affected area with it. Keep the cotton placed right there for 10 minutes. Repeat a few times if you think it is helping.

  • Baking Soda is Worth a TrySodium bicarbonate or baking soda is an agent that can neutralize acidic chemicals that cause itching on the skin affected with bites. Also, because it is anti-inflammatory, it helps in combating inflammation as well as rashes.

    Dilute one teaspoon of baking soda in 3 teaspoons of water, and dab on the bug bites. Leave it for 10 minutes or so and rinse off. If irritation resurfaces, you can repeat in after 40-45 minutes.

  • Aloe Vera Gel May Work for YouYou can either opt for natural aloe vera plant gel or any standard herbal preparation. It has amino acids that can heal even the treat even the most typical of skin conditions. It ceases the burning sensations and helps reduce itching while keeping it moisturized.

    It is, however, ideal to see your physician if you gauge the problem as severe. If the bites do not get treated within up within one to two weeks, one must see a doctor.