Bed bug bites on a man's leg

How to Properly Treat Bed Bug Bites

Even after you get rid of bed bugs, the reminders of them can stick around. Perhaps one of the most irritating reminders are their bites. For one to two weeks, you’re stuck with these red, itchy bumps that remind you of the creepy-crawlies that invaded your home. Can these bites lead to bigger problems? How do you get rid of them?

Bed Bug Bite Basics

First off, you might be wondering why bed bugs are biting you in the first place. Long story short: humans are their food source. They get into our homes and hide away until the night. Then at night, while we’re sleeping, the bugs come out and feed. Bed bugs have a “beak” which they use to pierce human skin and draw blood out, similar to mosquitoes. They suck out blood for three to five minutes and then go back into hiding. Since bed bugs are so small, you probably won’t be able to feel the bite as it’s happening- especially not if you’re sleeping.

Bed bug bites showing up in a zigzag pattern on a person's arm

Have I Been Bitten?

How do you identify a bed bug bite? Bed bugs can bite any bit of exposed skin on any part of your body. If you’re waking up with small, itchy red welts, you may have bed bugs. There may be small amounts of dried blood on your clothing or sheets from the bites as well. The bed bug bites may appear in a pattern such as a zigzag or a straight line. They typically itch, again, similar to mosquito bites, but they can also produce a mildly painful burning sensation. The bites share many characteristics with mosquito bites, but one important difference is that mosquito bites typically occur either by themselves or in random places, whereas bed bug bites are typically clustered together in groups.

Are Bed Bug Bites Dangerous?

If a mosquito bites you, there’s a chance of malaria or West Nile virus, so you might be wondering if there’s a similar risk associated with bed bug bites. The good news is, complications and illness with bed bug bites are very rare. You’ll be stuck with the bites for a week or two, but in most cases, all you’ll have to deal with is a bit of itching and burning. However, in rare cases, the bites can get infected. Signs of an infected bite include redness, excessive swelling, and pain around the bite. If your skin is warm to the touch or has red streaks or spots near the bites, that is another sign of a potential infection. If you have any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor right away so that it doesn’t develop into something more serious. If not treated, you could develop a fever, chills, and pus drainage from the bite. If you develop a fever or have any difficulty breathing or an irregular heartbeat, you should seek medical treatment immediately, as these may be signs of a more serious infection.

How Can I Prevent Infection?

Infection is rare with bed bug bites, but it does happen and there are a few measures you can take to prevent it. First off, be careful scratching your bed bug bites. If you accidentally scratch them open, that puts you at a greater risk of infection. Also, keep your skin moisturized. If it gets too dry, it could crack and again put you at risk for infection. It also might be a good idea to put a bandage over the bites to remove the temptation to scratch at them. 

How do I Treat Bed Bug Bites?

Most bed bug bites are pretty easy to treat. You will likely have some minor swelling around the bites, and you can use ice to bring the swelling down and soothe some of the itching. You can also use a topical anti-itch cream or take an over-the-counter antihistamine to control the itching and/or burning. If an infection does set in, a course of antibiotics may be prescribed.

How do I Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

Bed Bug BBQ in Cleveland, OH uses heat treatment to get rid of bed bugs. This bed bug extermination process gets rid of bed bugs in just one day, is safe for all types of homes and businesses, and won’t fill your home with chemicals! Contact Bed Bug BBQ today for a FREE quote and inspection at (216) 221-1227 or through our website! Check out our other bed bug informational resources on identification, prevention, and eradication.

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