Bed Bug Bites

These small 1 to 7 millimeter bugs make a cute bedtime rhyme, but they are actually annoying pests. They are flat, oval, reddish brown bugs that hide themselves in your bed, carpeting, and furniture waiting to bite you while you are sleeping or watching television.

Bed bugs feed on human or animal blood just like mosquitoes, however these bugs can bite you for a full 10 minutes without you even noticing, leaving you wondering why you have red itchy spots the next day. When you are bitten, you want to try your hardest not to scratch the bite. Although the bugs themselves do not carry diseases, the scratching can lead to infections caused by bacteria.

Bed Bug Bite Symptoms

The symptoms of bed bug bites will differ for each person. Some may have severe allergic reactions, while others will not even notice that they have been bitten. Even though most bites go unnoticed, there are some common symptoms that you may notice:

  • Itching, red welts or swelling
  • A line of red marks along the skin
  • A slight burning sensation that can become a rash if you continue to scratch the bitten area

Treatments for Bed Bug Bites

Even though the symptoms and bites will go away on their own, there are a few things you can do to soothe the symptoms when they do persist.

Over the Counter (OTC) Medications

There are a few every day OTC medications that you can use to help relieve the symptoms of the bites. When taking any over the counter medication, always remember to follow the instructions on the packaging.

  1. Anti-itch creams such as Cortisone Cream will help prevent itching when applied to the bitten area.
  2. Topical anesthetics such as Calamine lotion or Neosporin will help dry out the rash and prevent further irritation.
  3. Oral anti-histamines such as Ibuprofen and Benadryl will help reduce swelling and relieve any pain or irritation.

Home Remedies

There are a few home remedies that work to relieve the symptoms of bed bug bites just as well as, if not better than over the counter medications. One of the most common home remedies is baking soda paste, followed by vinegar and of course the basic soap and water.

1. Baking Soda Paste

Step 1: Clean the bitten area with soap and water.

Step 2: Create a thick paste with baking soda and water. You want it to be thick enough that it will stay on its own.

Step 3: Let the paste dry and leave it on for at least one hour.

Step 4: Wash off the paste and pat dry. And please be gentle as to not irritate the area.

2. White Vinegar

Step 1: Saturate a cotton ball in white vinegar.

Step 2: Dap the cotton ball onto the irritated bites. It might sting a little, but the bites will reduce in size.

3. Soap and Water

Step 1: Use a bar of mild soap to create a lather of soap and water in your hands.

Step 2: Rub the lather over the irritated area.

Step 3: Repeat steps 1 & 2 until the entire area is completely covered.

Step 4: Allow the lather to dry on its own, do not rinse.

4. Other Natural Remedies

1. Dab a cotton ball that has been saturated in lemon juice, St. John’s Wort, or witch hazel on the irritated area and let dry. 

2. Squeeze the gel from an aloe plant onto the irritated area to act as an antibiotic.

3. Soak in a warm bath with a ½ cup of peppermint oil, powdered oatmeal, baking soda, salt, or Alka-Seltzer to help relieve the itching.

For more information of bed bug bites, such as the symptoms and how to treat the bites, watch the video below:

Rid Your Home of Bed Bugs

Getting rid of the bugs on your own can be difficult and challenging. It is better to call your landlord or pest control company so that you can have your home professionally treated. The professionals will be able to get rid all the bugs, including the ones that have been hiding for months without feeding.

After the professionals have rid your home of the bugs, there are a few things that you should do to help prevent them from returning or prevent any missed bugs from spreading. Remember, if an item is severely infected, it is best to discard the item all together.

Ways to Adapt

What to Do

De-infest affected items

  • Wrap the item in plastic and place it in a hot, sunny location for at least 3 days.
  • Wash all items that are washing machine safe on hot and tumble dry on hot. 
  • Spray the item with a non-toxic bug spray and seal it in a plastic bag for at least 3 months.

Vacuum the house

  • Vacuum the seams, tufts and edges of mattresses, box springs and other furniture.
  • Make sure you vacuum the edge of your carpet around the whole perimeter.
  • Dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed trash bag.
  • Steam clean the carpets, mattresses and furniture.

Use insecticides

  • First remove dirt and debris from cracks and crevices using a vacuum.
  • Spray insecticides into cracks and crevices as spot treatments.
  • Repeat in about two weeks as the bugs will scatter and you will miss some with this method.

Steam the bed bugs

  • Use any device capable of providing steam – you can get a steam machine at a hardware store, use a steam iron or a tea kettle.
  • Attach a tube if necessary to make steam more direct.
  • Spray steam into all seams, crevices and corners.

Clean the house with tea-tree oil

  • Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your washing detergent.
  • Add a few drops of tea tree oil to your steamer.
  • Take all the beds and dressers apart as much as possible and spray with a mixture of tea tree oil and water (1oz water to 1drop of tea tree oil).
  • Use that same mixture to spray down all your carpets, mattresses and other furniture.

Some Common Places That Bed Bugs May Be Lurking:

You can find bed bugs several places within your home such as bed frames, pillows, mattresses, box springs, bedding; and seams of furniture, baseboards and carpeting, inside wood frames, your dresser drawers, curtains, and other fabrics.

You can also find bed bugs outside your home in places such as hotels, hospitals, barracks, dorm rooms, offices and homeless shelters.

Here is a video about some other bug bites and their corresponding treatments which you might be concerned about: 

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