Bed bug Bite-Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment

Bed bug Bite-Pictures, Symptoms, Treatment

Bed bug bite is the result of a bite from a bug that is oval, small and does not fly. The bed bug belongs to the Cimicidae insect family. Of these, 3 species bite humans. The adult bed bug grows to a length of 5 to 7 mm, while the juveniles or nymphs are small measuring only 1.5mm. Bedbugs have flat bodies which are often mistaken as small cockroaches or ticks. They feed by sucking blood from either animals or humans. The adult bug is reddish in color and the redder it gets after feeding on blood. The smaller ones which are the nymphs appear clearer than the adults and after feeding on blood they have bright red color. The wings of the bed bug are not fully developed so they cannot fly.

Where can you find bed bugs?

They were commonly found before WWII and then rarely seen after the DDT pesticide started between the year 1940 and 1950. They increased in numbers again after the restriction on stronger pesticide was implemented. There are reports saying that the bedbugs can be found in areas with poor sanitation or they can live near mammals, specifically bats and birds that are nesting near houses; but they can live longer in cleaner environments as well. They happily thrive, however, in crowded areas, particularly living quarters.

They can also live in any area within the home especially in small cracks in the furniture, textiles or the upholstered furniture as well. They are generally found on areas where people sleep such as beds, mattresses, bed frames, and box springs although they do not infest on sleeping surfaces of the beds compared to the small crevices and cracks. Other places where these bed bugs can be found are on carpet edges, curtains, wallpaper cracks especially near beds, corners inside the dressers and also the insides of wicker furniture. These bedbugs can live long without feeding for months so they are especially seen in vacant homes as well.

Symptoms of bed bug bites

The bed bug bite is a result of the bedbugs sucking blood from humans. They are especially active during the night and bite any parts of the skin which is exposed while the person is sleeping. The common areas for bedbug bite on the human body are arms, hands, neck and face. The bed bug bite is painless and unnoticeable at first. There is a reasonable time delay between the incident of biting and the symptoms showing, sometimes even up to 9 days. The common signs of a bite are raised, flat or small bumps and oftentimes itchiness, swelling and redness follows. When the bite area is scratched, it can be infected. One peculiar aspect of the bites is that they are lined up in row, about 3 to 4 bites. Specialists of infectious diseases refer to these bite signs as “breakfast – lunch – dinner” due to the series of feeding the bug does from one site to another.

Bed bug bites are often not noticed as they are mistaken for mosquito bites, flea bites or other kinds of skin conditions because they look quite similar from each other. These bugs have glands that leave their secretions that give off odor. Likewise, they also leave dark fecal specks on the bed sheets and in their hiding places as well. These bugs were not proven to transport infections to people, although certain researches have identified them to carry trypanosomiasis or commonly known as Chagas disease. Further research is being conducted to give proof to these bugs being carriers of diseases.

Treatment for bed bug bites

There is no required treatment for a bedbug bite although there are certain creams that can be applied if the itchiness is severe. Oral antihistamines which can relieve itchiness may be an option to help relieve the symptoms. Steroid creams are also an option. If the bitten area is exposed and becomes infected because of heavy scratching, antibiotics may be required.

Prevention of bed bug bites and eradication of bed bugs

Preventing bedbug bite is not an easy feat. First is if you want to eradicate the whole infestation out of your home, you will need a professional of this field: a pest-control expert. There is a wide range of aerosol insecticides, mild odor dusts and sprays that can eliminate bed bugs. These chemicals must be applied on all the areas where you find bed bugs are infesting, particularly in small crevices or cracks where they can run or hide. If you hire pest-control experts, they may advise you to either disinfect or discard the mattress you are using if necessary. Most of the time the mattresses are discarded since these cannot easily be treated with the insecticides.

The experts may recommend or advise you to do a thorough cleaning of the house like scrubbing off the eggs inside infested areas, filling up the crevices or cracks in the walls, moldings, and floors; dismantling the frames of beds and furniture, covering mattresses with special bags or use a very powerful vacuum on crevices and cracks.

In order to prevent a bedbug bite, you will need to identify the areas that these bugs are infesting and avoid those areas because it usually needs proper treatment in order for them to be completely eliminated.

See also:  Lice vs

What does a bed bug bite look like?

Bed bug bites do not inflict any pain. Generally, people do not even realize that they have been bitten by the bug. This is because the bites normally takes place at night during sleeping hours. Bedbugs are very energetic during night hours. They nourish on any part of the exposed skin including arms, legs, back, chest, and so on. Their bites resemble mosquito bites. They pierce the skin and extort blood. Generally, the bites react to a confined area. The reactions and symptoms of a bed bugs bite are itching, swelling, and a red lump. In case your skin is free of any complications at night, but you wake up with an itchy feeling and lumps, then bed bugs are the main reason.

They nourish within three to ten minutes. While nourishing they introduce a small amount of saliva into the skin. It is noted that some people experience symptoms identical to mosquito bites, while some people hardly have any effect to these bites. But constant exposures to being bitten results in people becoming severely allergic. The abrasion on the skin cannot be identified as bed bug bite or mosquito bite.

Bed Bug Bite Pictures

Check out the bed bug photos to see how the formation looks on the skin and how a bed bug looks.

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Bed Bug Bite – Pictures, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

February 16, 2014 admin 0 Comments

Bed bugs are scientifically known as Cimex Lectularius which are small insects that are wingless and feed only on blood. They exclusively feed on warm-blooded animals. Since, humans are also warm blooded they serve as ideal host for bed bugs. Through millions of years these insects have been inhabiting bird’s nests and roosts. Some of these insects have also grown and adapted the human environment; this enables them to live in houses and feed on human blood. Bed bug bites are common occurrence throughout the world. Bites from this insect can be extremely discomforting and itchy, causing irritation.

Feeding of bed bugs

Bed bugs are most active an hour before sunrise which is their peak feeding time. If they are hungry and if sufficient opportunities are present, they feed any time irrespective of day or night. However, they prefer to hunt during nighttime as they dislike sunlight. They find their host through heat wave and follow the wave towards the host. They may either approach directly or climb up to the ceiling and across until they find the heat wave. The bug gets attracted to the host due to its warmth as well as presence of Carbon dioxide. They have two hollow mouth pieces which is used to penetrate through skin of the host. One tube is used for injecting saliva that contains anesthetic substance and anticoagulant content. The other tube sucks in the blood.

The bug may keep feeding for approximately 5 minutes after which it returns to seclusion. Though it is said that bed-bugs bites are not noticeable, most people feel pricking or intense itching when the bug bites. The bite becomes obvious after few minutes. Though the host may scratch the bite unaware that he is been bitten by a bed-bug, bites may not be noticeable for several days. Bed bugs feed every 5 days to 10 days but they can live without feeding for months. If foods are not present around then they can remain dormant for over years. A bug that just sucked enough blood can stay alive for six months without feeding.

Bed bug bite severity

These insects usually feed on their host while they are asleep. This complements the ability of insect to first numb the penetrated skin to make feeding uninterrupted and easier. As the bed bugs keeps feeding on a particular host over time, the host starts developing sensitivity to bed bug bites. Ultimately the host becomes allergic to the bite and he may start experiencing mild to intense symptoms due to the bite. Once the host develops sensitivity to bed bug bite he may develop lesion that resembles to mosquito bites. Most human may assume that they have been bitten by a mosquito and may perhaps never come to know which insect was it.

Symptoms of bed bug bite

Bed bug bites usually do not appear immediately after you are being bitten. It may sometime take a few days before symptom may become obvious. It should be understood that bed bugs do not come out every night to feed. They can remain hungry for days and months so they do not come out often if they are well fed.

Bed bug bites are usually said to be highly itchy once the host has developed sensitivity to the bite. One may also feel burning sensation on the skin days after you are been bitten. As mentioned above you may not feel the bite if you have not been bitten several times because local skin becomes influenced by the aesthesia in the saliva of the bug, but when you develop sensitivity the anesthesia does not work optimally on your skin. Since the bite is often itchy with prominent marks, the host tends to scratch which makes him prone to swelling, bleeding and secondary infection.

Bed bug reproduction

Bed bug reproduction belongs to the ‘traumatic insemination’ category which is also known as hypodermic insemination. The males have hypodermic genitalia which penetrate the female bed-bug at any spot on their abdomen and eject semen into the penetrated region. The ejaculated sperm reaches the ovaries and results in fertilization eventually. On an average a female bed bug lays 5 eggs daily and approx 500 eggs through her entire lifetime. The eggs are 1 mm milky with structures which need around two weeks to hatch. Bed bug reproduces only when they have reached their maturity level.

Bed bug bites treatment

Most bed bug bites take around two week to resolve and do not necessarily need treatment. In case when treatment is need the focus is on relieving symptoms. Some of the common treatment techniques adopted for treating bed bug bites include:

  • Topical cream application such as cortisone that can relieve itchiness
  • Prevent scratching in order to decrease chances of infection
  • In case infection is recorded than oral antibiotics can be given to deal with infections
  • Corticosteroids are recommended in case of severe allergic reaction
  • Sometimes allergic reactions are also handled through antihistamine creams
See also:  Are Ticks Dangerous?

Bed big bites are often benign and may resolve without any medical aid. But treatment may be needed if moderate to severe allergic reaction has developed. Treatment is also highly suggested in case if you have developed infection due to scratching. If any serious health anomaly is experienced then one should consult a doctor for advice and treatment.

Bed bugs bites are quiet preventable by taking measures to eradicate these bugs from your house; one of such methods is running a pest control in the house. This can significantly reduce your chances of suffering from bed bug bite.

healththerapy.org

Bed bugs: Diagnosis and treatment

How do you know if you have bed bugs?

To find out if you have bed bugs, you need to look for two things:

Bites on your body

Signs of bed bugs

Bites on your body: If you have bed bugs, you’re likely to have bites. Bed bug bites usually cause itchy welts. These welts usually appear in a zigzag pattern as show in the photo below.

Bed bug bites

When bedbugs bite, you often see clusters of bites. Each cluster usually contains 3 to 5 bites that appear in a zigzag pattern.

You’ll seldom see bed bugs, so many people mistakenly believe that mosquitoes, fleas, or spiders bit them. Sometimes people mistake bed bug bites for a common skin condition such as an itchy rash, hives, or chickenpox.

To make sure you have bed bugs, you’ll need to look for signs of bed bugs.

How to check for bed bugs

Although bed bugs don’t usually require serious medical attention, they can cause a great deal of anxiety and restless nights. To help find bed bugs before they find you (and your belongings), dermatologists recommend looking for the following signs near places where you sleep.

How to check for bed bugs

Although bed bugs don’t usually require serious medical attention, they can cause a great deal of anxiety and restless nights. To help find bed bugs before they find you (and your belongings), dermatologists recommend looking for the following signs near places where you sleep.

Signs of bed bugs: This step is important. If you have a bed bug infestation, you need to find out so that you can get rid of the bed bugs. Getting rid of the bed bugs is the only way to stop the bites.

If you have a large number of bed bugs, you may see the bugs. Most people, however, only see signs of bed bugs. To look for signs of bed bugs, check the places that people sleep for the following:

A sweet, musty odor. Take a deep breath. If you notice a sweet, musty in your hotel room, cruise-ship cabin, or other sleeping area, there may be a heavy bed bug infestation in the room. Bed bugs produce chemicals to help them communicate, although not everyone will notice the smell.

Specks of blood on bedding, mattresses, or upholstered furniture such as couches and headboards. Look carefully at your blankets, sheets, and mattress pads and then check the mattress and box spring. Are there specks of blood anywhere, especially near the seams? If so, there could be a bed bug infestation. You should also check for specks of blood on all upholstered furniture, including couches and headboards.

Exoskeletons. Bed bugs have an outer shell that they shed and leave behind. Do you see shell-like remains on the mattress, mattress pad, or beneath couch cushions?

Tiny, blackish specks. If you see blackish specks on the bedding, mattress, headboard, or beneath couch cushions, it could be bed bug excrement.

Eggs. After mating, female bed bugs lay white, oval eggs in cracks and crevices. Keep in mind that these will be small, as a bed bug is only about the size of an apple seed. The photo below shows a bed bug near eggs. The photo was magnified so that you can see the bed bug and eggs.

If you do get bed bugs and have many bites or a bite that looks infected, see a board-certified dermatologist. A dermatologist can treat an infection and help relieve the itch.

Bed bug with eggs

A bed bug is a tiny insect with a broad, oval body. If it has recently eaten, it has a reddish-brown color.

If you see bed bugs, they will likely scurry toward the closest hiding place. Any dark place such as inside a mattress or even a picture frame makes a good hiding place.

As you watch bed bugs move, it can look like they are flying or jumping because they can crawl quickly. Bed bugs cannot fly or jump; they can only crawl.

If you find signs of bed bugs, call a pest-control company or your property manager. You should not use bug spray or a fogger. These products have little effect on bed bugs.

Treating bed bug bites

You should see a dermatologist for treatment if you have:

Skin infection (bites feel tender or ooze discharge, such as pus)

An allergic skin reaction (skin red and swollen or hives)

Your dermatologist may prescribe the following to treat bed bug bites:

Allergic reaction. Some people may require an injection of an antihistamine, corticosteroid, or epinephrine (adrenaline) for a severe allergic reaction.

Infection. An infection may require an antibiotic. If the infection is mild, your dermatologist may recommend an antiseptic medication that you can buy without a prescription. Your dermatologist will tell you which one to use. Your dermatologist also may recommend an antiseptic to prevent a skin infection.

Itch. A prescription antihistamine pill or liquid can help. You also can apply a corticosteroid to the bites. Your dermatologist will tell you which is best for you.

At-home treatment

If you do not have any signs of an infection or a serious reaction, you can often treat the bites at home.

To treat bed bug bites:

Wash the bites with soap and water. This will help prevent a skin infection and help reduce itchiness.

If the bites itch, apply a corticosteroid cream to the bites. You can get a weak form of this medicine without a prescription at your local drugstore. Stronger corticosteroids require a prescription.

Bed bug bites usually heal and go away within a week or two.

Image
Getty Images

References
Leverkus M et al. “Bullous Allergic Hypersensitivity to Bed bug Bites Mediated by IgE against Salivary Nitrophorin.» J of Invest Dermatol. 2006;126:2364-2366.

Liebold K et al. “Disseminated bullous eruption with systemic reaction caused by Cimex lectularius.” J Euro Acad of Dermat and Vener. 2003;17:461-463.

Steen CJ, Carbonaro PA, Schwartz RA. “Arthropods in dermatology.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2004; 50:819-42.

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Bed Bug Bite

Is this your child’s symptom?

Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites

  • Usually cause itchy, red bumps in a group or line
  • Often they look like a hive or mosquito bite
  • Bite may have a red dot (puncture) in the center. This is where the bed bug bit through the skin.
  • Occasionally, a small blister can occur in the center
  • Bites are usually on exposed skin (arms, legs and face)
  • Bites are usually first noted in the morning

Diagnosis of Bed Bug Bites

  • Live bed bugs hide and are not usually seen. Close inspection of the mattress may find some.
  • They are ¼ inch (6 mm), flat, oval shaped, reddish-brown bugs.
  • Suspect bed bugs if over 3 red bumps in a row are on exposed skin. The bumps or bites are very itchy.
  • Bed bug waste is found on bedding or mattress seams. It looks like dark brown flecks or coffee grounds.
  • A blood stain on the sheet may sometimes be found. This is from a bug smashed after feeding.

Cause of Bed Bug Bite Reactions

  • The skin bumps are the body’s reaction to the bug’s saliva.
  • While the bug is sucking blood, some of its secretions get mixed in.
  • Bed bugs are small visible blood-sucking bugs. They are about ¼ inch (6 mm) in length.
  • During the day, bed bugs hide in the corners of mattresses. They may also be found in bed crevices, floors, and walls.
  • At night, the bed bugs come out of hiding. They feed on humans for about 5 minutes.

Prevention of Getting Bed Bugs

  • Over half of bed bug infestations within homes start after recent travel.
  • Avoid hotels and hostels where bed bugs have been reported.
  • When you check into a hotel room, look for signs of bed bugs. Look for flecks of their waste (like coffee grounds) in the bedding and mattress. If present, ask for another room.
  • Keep your luggage and clothing on a luggage rack off the floor.
  • When you return from a trip, place all travel clothing into the clothes dryer. Run the dryer for 20 minutes. (Reason: The heat will kill any bed bugs or their eggs that are present). One pregnant bed bug can spread bed bugs to an entire house.

Frequent Questions (FAQs)

  • Can bed bugs transmit HIV or hepatitis? This is highly unlikely. It has never been reported.
  • Do bed bugs like dirt? Not really. What bed bugs like is the warmth of the human body. Dirty and cluttered spaces just give bed bugs a place to hide.
  • Are bed bugs too small to be seen? No. You can see adult bed bugs. They are about the size of an apple seed (4-7 mm; ¼ inch).
  • Are bed bugs scared of the light? They do prefer darkness. But keeping the light on will not stop bed bugs from biting you.

When to Call for Bed Bug Bite

Call 911 Now

  • Life-threatening allergic reaction suspected. Symptoms include sudden onset of trouble breathing or swallowing.
  • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

  • Spreading red area or streak with fever
  • Spreading red area or streak that’s very large
  • Your child looks or acts very sick

Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Painful spreading redness started more than 24 hours after the bite. Note: any redness starting in the first 24 hours is a reaction to the bite.
  • More than 48 hours since the bite and redness gets larger
  • You think your child needs to be seen

Contact Doctor During Office Hours

  • Severe itching not better after 24 hours of using steroid cream
  • Scab that looks infected (drains pus or gets bigger) not better with antibiotic ointment
  • After 7 days, bites not better
  • After 14 days, bites not gone
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

Seattle Children’s Urgent Care Locations

If your child’s illness or injury is life-threatening, call 911.

Care Advice for Bed Bug Bites

  1. What You Should Know About Bed Bug Bites:
    • Bed bug bites cause itchy red bumps.
    • They are usually less than ½ inch (12 mm) in size.
    • Some are larger (like a hive). These are normal reactions to a bed bug.
    • A large hive does not mean your child has an allergy.
    • The redness does not mean the bite is infected.
    • Bed bugs do not carry any infectious diseases.
    • Don’t panic: You can get rid of bed bugs from your home.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Steroid Cream for Itching:
    • To reduce the itching, use 1% hydrocortisone cream (such as Cortaid). No prescription is needed.
    • Apply 3 times a day until the itch is gone.
    • If you don’t have, apply a baking soda paste until you can get some.
  3. Allergy Medicine For Itching:
    • If the bite is still itchy, try an allergy medicine by mouth.
    • Benadryl is a good one. No prescription is needed.
  4. Try Not to Scratch:
    • Cut the fingernails short.
    • Help your child not to scratch.
    • Reason: Prevent a skin infection at the bite site.
  5. Bed Bug Repellents — Not Helpful:
    • Insect repellents do not keep bed bugs from biting.
    • Repellents containing DEET (used on skin) and permethrin (used on clothing) do not help.
  6. Removing Bed Bugs from Your Home:
    • Getting rid of bed bugs requires a licensed pest control service.
    • Look in the phone book or on the internet under Pest Control.
  7. What to Expect:
    • Any pinkness or redness usually lasts 3 days.
    • The swelling may last 7 days.
    • The itch may last for 2 weeks.
  8. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Bite looks infected (redness gets larger after 48 hours)
    • Large red bumps last more than 7 days
    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the ‘Call Your Doctor’ symptoms.

Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.

Last Reviewed: 04/24/2020

Last Revised: 03/21/2020

Copyright 2000-2020 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.

www.seattlechildrens.org

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