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Identify and Treat Bedbug Bites

When a bed bug bites you they first inject a numbing solution which is the reason you may not feel anything biting you. I knew a guy that woke up in his hotel room and noticed that his left arm had what looked like mosquito bites all along his arm. Not being aware of bed bugs he assumed it was just mosquito bites and paid it no mind. About three days later the bite marks begin to itch. By this time he had already returned home. He also noticed additional sores and wondered if he was having an allergic reaction to something. After another week or so he finally went to the doctor and was prescribed an antihistamine to help with the itch and also assumed it to be some type of allergic reaction. Still the rash persisted. Several weeks later his young daughter said there was a bug in her bed and she was scared. It was at this point that he actually realized what the problem was. Upon searching the rest of the beds he found bed bugs in all three beds. I mention this story because bedbug bites will not look that much different from other insect bites or skin rashes. It is important not to scratch the bites as this may lead to an infection. Once the bed bugs have all been killed it may still take 2 or 3 weeks before the bite marks clear up.

Signs & Symptoms of bed bug bites:

  • May look similar to a mosquito bite

  • You notice more bite marks even though you haven’t been outside

  • Tiny bumps and may even look like a pimple

  • Raised red welts up to 2 inches in size

  • May appear in a pattern of 3 bites commonly referred to as “breakfast, lunch, and dinner”

  • May appear in a pattern that is more like a line Bumps appear redder early in the day and less noticeable by the afternoon

  • Sometimes one person will react to the bite while another person in the same home will also be getting bitten but have no reaction. Since the person has no reaction and has no obvious bug bites they may think they are not getting bitten when they really are.  (ex: Husband has no bug bites and wife does. Husband thinks wife is crazy.)

Treating a Bedbug Bite

If you are one of the lucky few that have no reaction to a bed bug bites consider yourself blessed. For everyone else, you will want to use an anti-itch cream on the sores and depending on your reaction you may even take an oral antihistamine like Benadryl or other over the counter medication. Many people find that a hot bath helps soothe and decrease the itching. You might want to try an Oatmeal Bath for irritated and itchy skin. Whatever you use it should be something that will keep you from scratching the bites and causing an infection.

The bites of a bed bug and the rash that may develop are not contagious. Bed bugs do not spread disease when they bite. Scratching should be avoided as it can lead to infection. It is especially important to keep a close watch on children if they have been bitten by bed bugs. They have less control over scratching and so it is important to keep them itch free to prevent an infection.

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