Bed bug bites: What are the treatment options

Itching, sores, and irritation are common symptoms seen by those who have been bitten by bed bugs. What is important to know is how to treat bed bug bites and whether they may be prevented.

There are various methods for lowering the likelihood of getting bitten, and treatment options include excellent cleanliness and antihistamines, among other things.

This page goes into great detail on bed bug bite treatment and preventive techniques.

Bedbugs are a type of parasite

Bed bugs are microscopic parasitic insects that feed on the blood of humans and other animals.

Despite the fact that bed bugs are a public health hazard, it is not known whether or not they spread disease through their bites.

Bed bugs penetrate the skin with a proboscis, which is a little tube-like structure that allows them to sip the blood of the victim. It is during the night and early morning hours when pests are most active, when humans are sleeping.

According to estimates, one in every five Americans has dealt with a bed bug infestation directly or knows someone who has dealt with the pests in the past.

Bedbug bites

Bedbug bite
The bed bug bites may be in a line or in a zigzag pattern, depending on the species.

Bed bugs can bite anywhere on the body where there is skin, including the head and neck. Bite marks are most commonly found on places that are exposed while sleeping, such as:

  • hand
  • legs
  • neck
  • shoulders
  • arms
  • face

Many people do not feel the bite itself or experience any noticeable symptoms other than the small spots where the bug bit them and some tiny, surrounding inflammation and discomfort around the bite site. Others are deemed hypersensitive to bites and experience more acute symptoms as a result of the bite.

The majority of the time, symptoms appear more or less immediately after the bite, although they can also develop or progress over the course of many days following the attack. Symptoms usually subside within a week or so if there is no further irritation to the skin.

Almost all bed bug bites will cause some kind of discomfort, with the most common symptoms being itching and irritation. Some of the other indications and symptoms of bed bug bites are as follows:

  • a burning painful sensation
  • a raised itchy bump with a clear center
  • a red itchy bump with a dark center and lighter swollen surrounding area
  • small red bumps or welts in a zigzag pattern or a line
  • small red bumps surrounded by blisters or hives
  • papular eruptions or areas of skin with raised or flat patches that may be inflamed
  • small spots of blood from bites often dried or stained onto sheets or bed clothing
  • reddish or reddish-brown dried stains on fabrics due to bed bug droppings
  • white or clear skins, shed by the nymphs as they mature

Individual characteristics of the bug that bit you, as well as the individual who was bitten, have an impact on the sore that develops.

Bed bug bites can cause or exacerbate severe responses and symptoms in some people, despite the fact that this is a rare occurrence. The following are serious symptoms that necessitate medical attention:

  • difficulty breathing
  • blisters
  • fever
  • feeling nauseous or flu-like
  • swollen tongue
  • irregular heartbeat

Some other symptoms

Living with bed bugs can result in a number of other health concerns, including:

  • Increased likelihood of infection: As a result of the skin’s surface having been degraded.
  • Sleep deprivation: A person’s reaction to the prospect of being fed might be exceedingly stressful. Because the bugs mainly feed at night, some people will avoid sleeping or will only receive fitful or disturbed sleep as a result of the infestation.
  • Decreased wellbeing: An inability to get enough sleep on a consistent basis has been related to feelings of despair, anxiety, and overall exhaustion, as well as reduced immune function. Bed bug myths, particularly the incorrect association with filthy conditions, can contribute to feelings of despair and low self-esteem in those who are affected by them.

Identification

One strategy to help reduce exposure to bed bugs and prospective infestations is to become familiar with them and be able to distinguish them from other pests.

According to a survey conducted in 2017, over 35% of polled American business travellers and 28% of polled leisure travellers were unable to distinguish between a bed bug and other domestic pests.

Nymphs (young bed bugs) have a number of traits in common with adults, including:

  • being less than than 5 mm in length
  • whitish-yellow and or clear-colored
  • invisible without a microscope or magnifying glass

When the nymphs have recently fed, they are easy to spot because the blood fills their belly, giving it a reddish brown appearance.

In most cases, adult bed bugs are much easier to detect than nymphal bed bugs. The following traits can be observed in the majority of adult bed bugs:

  • an oval-shaped body
  • apple seed in size
  • a body that is fairly flat unless recently fed and inflated
  • reddish-brown to light-brown or tan color of shell, depending on how recently it fed
  • a length of 5-7 millimeters (mm)
  • three segments, an antenna with four parts, short yellow hairs, and unusable wings
  • a musty or stale-sweet scent released by glands on the underbelly

Bed bug control necessitates the identification of the pest and the total removal or destruction of the infestation’s eggs.

Over the course of her lifetime, a female can expect to produce at least 345 eggs. In order to support their brood, egg-laying females frequently increase the volume and frequency of their eating.

The following are some of the most common traits and indications of bed bug eggs:

  • They are frequently laid in the same locations where the female prefers to take a nap.
  • Their size is no larger than the head of a pi, and they have a barrel-shaped shape with pearl-colored speckles on them.
  • After a few days, they begin to acquire a distinct eye spot.

Prevention

The most effective method of preventing bed bug bites is to prevent the insects from entering, dining on, and reproducing in human habitats.

During the day, bed bugs can be found hiding in cracks and crevices in furniture, flooring, walls, and mattresses, among other places.

The seams and folds of upholstered furniture can also serve as an excellent hiding place for small children. Bed bugs have been shown to survive in vacuum canisters and other vacuum-related equipment.

Generally, the insects choose hiding places that are close to human sleeping quarters, such as bedroom walls. The presence of bed bugs in adjacent rooms is usually indicative of a major infestation.

The following items are frequently responsible in the transmission of bed bugs:

  • apartment or condominium buildings
  • large office spaces
  • hotels
  • vacation rentals
  • cruise ships
  • daycares
  • nursing homes
  • hospitals
  • college dormitories or housing units
  • public transportation, including airplanes
  • shopping malls
  • furniture or second hand stores
  • urban areas
  • rented homes

Items commonly responsible for spreading bed bugs include:

  • used or secondhand furniture
  • new furniture or textiles exposed to bed bugs during transit
  • items of luggage
  • chairs or loungers where people fall asleep
  • bedding or bed clothes
  • moving or storage boxes
  • shipped items, especially if held at several locations or warehouses

Bed bugs do not discriminate between sanitary, untidy, and unsanitary settings; they will infest any environment.

It is possible that they will be seen in greater numbers in areas such as hotels if infestations are not properly cleansed away.

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs

Home remedies for avoiding, managing, and removing bed insect infestations include the following recommendations:

  • Avoid bringing furniture or objects from contaminated locations or places that are regularly impacted by bed bugs, such as apartment complexes, into your home.
  • Take special care to choose furniture or items made of materials that do not typically contain cracks, crevice d etails or seams. Examples of such materials include plastic, stone, metal, plaster, and high-weave textiles.
Washing bedding
Preventing bed bug bites can be accomplished by washing bedding at high temperatures and inspecting hotel rooms for evidence of bed bug infestation.
  • Fill or seal cracks, crevices, and seams with products, such as glue or calking.
  • Clean bedding and bed clothing regularly.
  • Wash and dry bedding at high heat.
  • Vacuum upholstered items regularly and thoroughly, including mattresses, pillows, etc.
  • Clean heavier bedding items, including mattresses, pillows, comforters, and duvet covers, using high heat, ideally the “dry steam” setting available on modern washing machines.
  • Use a hand steamer to kill eggs and bugs in luggage or upholstered items.
  • When traveling, keep luggage on racks and away from floors, beds, and furniture.
  • Check for signs of bed bugs upon entering hotel rooms or other pest hot spots.
  • Remember, where there is one bed bug there are usually many, often in the areas surrounding or adjacent to the infected room or item.
  • Cover as much of the skin as possible while sleeping.

Occasionally, furniture or infected objects may need to be eliminated, preferably by burning, in severe or persistent cases.

Sources

  • http://www.ct.gov/caes/lib/caes/documents/bed_bugs/2012/bed_bugs_and_lookalikes.pdf
  • https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/bed-bugs-appearance-and-life-cycle
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318083
  • http://www.pestworld.org/all-things-bed-bugs/bed-bug-facts-statistics/
  • https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/itchy-skin/bedbugs
  • https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/itchy-skin/bedbugs#symptoms
  • https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/introduction-bed-bugs
  • http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/bed-bugs
  • https://academic.oup.com/ae/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/ae/tmx023

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