How to treat bug bites?

Most often people do not realize a bed bug bite until a reaction sets in. The reaction depends on the immune system of the person, ranging from simple itching to severe infection. Bed bug bites are not carriers of diseases. However, the reaction can affect a person physically as well as psychologically. The bed bug bite symptom disappears on its own by two weeks, unless there is severe allergic reaction. OTC creams, lotions and medicines are available that aid to soothe the itching and inflammation of the bite area.

First Aid for Bed Bug Bites

Following are some of the first aid measures for a bug bite once the reaction surfaces:

  1. One of the foremost precautions is to remember not to scratch the surface. This leads to other severe skin infections.
  2. Applying calamine or anesthetic creams or lotions on the area provides considerable relief from itching.
  3. Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water to prevent infection.
  4. Administering ice pack or a cold compress on the area also prevents swelling.

Topical Steroids for Itching and Inflammation

Topical steroids have anti-inflammatory properties that give relief from bed bug bite symptoms – Hydrocortisone, Clobetasol and Triamcinolone Topical, are some of the creams to treat bed bug bites, in consultation with the doctor.

Antihistamines for Allergic Reactions

Antihistamines are beneficial in treating sensitive reactions by preventing the effect of natural chemical histamine.  These are procurable in the form of tablets or liquid juice.  Severe reactions are often treated with an injection. Benadryl, Teldrin, Clarinex, Zyrtec are few antihistamines used in treating a minor bed bug bite allergic reaction.

Antibiotics for Bacterial Infections

Scratching of the itching skin opens the surface of the skin leading to several skin bacterial infections. An infection is severe when there is drainage seen from the wound. Doctors prescribe anti-bacterial antibiotics after assessing the type and kind of skin infection associated with bed bug bite. Cephalosporins, Carbapenem, Pencillin, Azithromycin, and Erythromycin are some of the medicines that inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Combination of Drugs for Systemic Reactions

Repeated exposure to bed bug bites sometimes causes systemic reaction resulting in urticaria (complex infection of swelling and itching) and anaphylaxis (low blood pressure, shock and breathing difficulties). Administration of intramuscular injection with corticosteroid, adrenaline and antihistamine aids in providing relief from system reaction symptoms.

Natural Remedies to Treat Bed Bug Bites

  1. Apply a thick paste made of baking soda and water on the area. Let it dry for an hour to get relief from inflammation and itching symptoms.
  2. Use Aloe Vera gel has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties to prevent skin infection. It significantly reduces the bite scars.
  3. Administration of apple cider vinegar, oatmeal and water, diluted peppermint oil, witch hazel also helps in reducing the bed bug bite symptoms.
  4. Use of natural astringents such as lemon juice, St.John’s Wart with water prevents the bed bug bite itch.
  5. Herbal leaves of maple, oak, hazel, mallow root, arrowroot powder helps to ease the pain and itching of the bed bug bite.

Bed Bug Bites Symptoms:

Bed bugs are one of the most annoying pests in urban dwelling that has the potential to disturb the life of the individual.  Studies suggest that the bed bugs have about twenty-eight different microorganisms. However, they do not transmit any disease among the humans, animals or the birds. Nevertheless, bed bug bites are a source of major concern as they pose a number of health risks that affect the physical as well the emotional life of the victim.

How does one get the bed bug bite symptom?

The bed bugs look for warm blood of humans, animals and birds. They primarily stay or hide close to its food supply. They strike the victim during the sleeping hours to devour a blood meal. A very distinct feature about a bed bug bite is the linear fashion in which a beg bug bites. Normally, the bites are seen in a row.

Modus Operandi

The bed bug uses its beaks for multiple purposes while feeding. It uses one of them to inject saliva into the skin. This temporarily numbs the site while the bed bug can complete the process of withdrawing the blood using the other beak. Due to the anti-coagulation agent present in its saliva, the victim does not feel the pain during the process of the bite. However, this agent is also one of the prime sources to trigger various allergic reactions from the host. The bedbugs can bite all over the body, but mainly attack the face, arms, legs, neck, back of the humans. The whole process takes about eight to ten minutes to complete. The bed bug returns to its shelter quickly once it completes the meal.

What are the allergic reactions of a bed bug bite?

The salivary allergens cause an allergic response from the host.  The reaction varies depending on the immune system of the individual.  A bed bug bite typically includes symptoms such as

–          Red bumpy prickly skin

–          Minor swelling up to 20cms in diameter

–          Inflammation

The symptoms are often misdiagnosed as a mosquito or a flea bite. A bed bug bite has a distinguished pattern of biting in a row and does not have a red dot at the center.  Extreme allergic reaction or continuous bites can cause a skin rash along with an inflammation. A bed bug bite reaction also kicks off anaphylactic shock in some victims. Scratching of the bite causes secondary skin and other infections throughout the body.

Visit the Doctor

Skin rashes often disappear within few days, if the rash is left unscratched. Visit a doctor if the rashes pose other difficulties, such as secondary infections.

How long does the allergic-response last?

The allergic reactions triggered by the salivary allergens remain for few days up to few weeks. The process of healing depends on the immune system and the severity of the symptom in the victim. Suspect an infection if the symptoms remain for more than three weeks. It may require medical guidance and intervention to cure the rash completely.

Bed Bug Bite Symptoms

If you have suffered from random bites in the middle of the night it could be bed bugs. The bed bug is a small insect that likes to wreck havoc on people sleeping in their beds at night. If you think you might have suffered from bed bug bites it is important that you consider the following information.
The actual bed bug bite is a very normal looking bite.  Most people mistake these bites for mosquito bites or allergic reactions. The bed bug bites themselves are not painful, but the after effect of the bite is what usually irritates most people.  When you get bit by one of these bed bugs, you might not realize that you have been bit at all until later on. Usually bed bugs are the last thing that comes to people’s minds.

One of the best ways to differentiate the bed bug bite from other bites is the actual pattern of the bite. The following information will help you distinguish the bed bug bites from other bites that you might experience.

Bite Patterns

Most bed bug bites are in a linear bite pattern.  You will usually find them biting in straight line with at least 3 to 4 different red spots.  While they can bite in one spot at a time, they prefer to bite in a row.  Looking at bed bug bit pictures can give you a good idea of a normal bite pattern.

If your pattern doesn’t correspond with the typical bite pattern it doesn’t mean you don’t have bedbugs.  The pattern is simply the easiest way to immediately know if you are being bitten by bed bugs or not.  Obviously the best way to know if you have bed bugs is to actually find the critters.

The bed bug bite marks are very easy to identify if you know what to look for. Most of the bites will usually be around the arm and the forearm.

Misdiagnosis of Bites

One of the biggest reasons why bed bugs are often misdiagnosed is because everyone reacts differently to the bites.  Some people have welts that will swell up and become itchy for longer time than mosquito bites.  However, other people may have no reaction to the bites at all.  This explains why a husband may feel the bed bugs at night while the wife sleeps comfortably beside him.

Another reason why a bed bug bit can be tricky to diagnose is because of the period of time between the bite and the symptoms.  Some of the symptoms of these bug bites can take up to 9 days to show.  You might have stayed in a hotel a week ago and just start feeling the effects now.  If you were bitten many times you will start to see the symptoms much faster.

A lot of people who experience these bug bites often mistake them for allergic reactions.  If you see your arm has a full rash it can be quite confusing.  People who see the doctor regarding these bumps are often surprised to hear that it can actually be bedbugs.

Having personally been affected by bed bugs, I know how easy it is to misdiagnose the bite marks. I took me over 2 weeks to finally realize that I was sleeping in a bed that was infested with bed bugs. This delayed reaction was mostly due to denial, but also due to my lack of information on the bed bug topic. If you are abroad in a hot climate like Southeast Asia or Australia, the chances of getting bitten by these bugs increases greatly.

Bed Bug Inspection Tips To Prevent Bites

Taking the proper precautions can be a lifesaver in avoiding these bugs. Using the following tips can help ensure you don’t ever run into bed bugs.

  1. Mattress Inspection – I can’t stress this enough. Anytime you are sleeping in a new hotel or hostel (even a home that you feel isn’t properly kept), it is essential for you to do a quick inspection of your sleeping arrangements. Quickly flip the mattress over and check the under seams of the mattress. You should ensure that you have proper lighting and explore the different corners of the mattress. If you see any dark shapes on the bottom it could be a bed bug. A mattress inspection is your first line of defense when trying to protect yourself from a bed bug bite.
  2. Do Your Research – Before you decide to stay in a new hotel or hostel you should look up reviews. If a place has had a bed bug infestation in the past you will likely see comments that are posted on various forums. Always check and make sure that your new hotel has a good reputation for cleanliness. There is even a registry that is available for people who are interested in seeing places that have been flagged for bed bugs.
  3. Protect Your Luggage – The number one way that bed bugs go from point A to B is through luggage. A patron will check into a hotel infested with bugs and have the insects hop into their luggage to be taken back to their home. If you put all of your clothes in sealed bags that are air tight they will become bug proof. Placing your luggage on a storage rack that is elevated is another good way to prevent the bugs from joining you on your journey.
  4. Wash Your Clothes – Extreme hot and cold temperatures will kill these bugs. If you return home from a trip you should immediately wash all of your clothes in hot water. This will help eliminate any potential bugs that you might have. Another step you should take is to deep freeze your suitcase if you suspect their might have been bugs. This will eliminate these bugs overnight.

Final Thoughts

The best way to avoid getting bit by a bed bug in the first place is to take preventative measures. Taking extra precaution while you are a traveling abroad can ensure that you don’t end up in any unfortunate situations. While it is always fun to talk about things that went wrong while you were away, bed bug bites are something worth skipping.

Anytime you believe you might have suffered from bed bug bites it is important to eradicate the problem.  There are a number of treatment options that are available such as bed bug spray or steam cleaning.  These bugs can rapidly multiply in a short amount of time, which is why you should work to kill them off immediately.