Treatments for Bedbug Bites Itching and Inflammation
Bedbug Bites: Treatment for Itching and Inflammation
- 1 Bedbug Bites: Treatment for Itching and Inflammation
- 2 Neosporin + Plus Pain Relief
- 3 Neosporin Neo To Go! First Aid Antiseptic/Pain Relieving Spray
- 4 Hibiclens Antimicrobial and Antiseptic Skin Cleanser Liquid
- 5 First Aid Only Antiseptic Cleansing Wipe
- 6 Benadryl Topical Itch Stopping Cream
- 7 Oral Antihistamine
- 8 Bed bugs: Overview
- 9 COVID-19 Updates
- 10 Bed Bug Bite
- 11 Bed Bug Bite
- 12 Is this your child’s symptom?
- 13 When to Call for Bed Bug Bite
- 14 Care Advice for Bed Bug Bites
- 15 DISCLAIMER:
- 16 If you think that you are having a medical emergency, call 911 or the number for the local emergency ambulance service NOW!
- 17 How to Stop the Itch of Bed Bug Bites
- 18 Oral Treatments
- 19 Prevention
- 20 Nonchemical Treatments
- 21 Chemical Treatments
- 22 What Causes Bed Bugs?
- 23 Why am I hearing more about bed bugs now?
- 24 Do bed bugs live on people?
- 25 Can bed bugs travel the globe?
- 26 Do bed bugs like cities better than rural areas?
- 27 Akos Nagy/Shutterstock
- 28 Can I bring home bed bugs from a thrift store?
- 29 How far can bed bugs crawl?
- 30 Can bed bugs live in cold climates?
- 31 Is getting bed bugs inevitable?
Travelers became concerned about bedbugs in the early 2000s when the tiny biting insect started turning up in some high-end hotels. Bedbugs had pretty much disappeared from the U.S. lodging scene until a 1972 DDT insecticide ban was implemented. The powerful insecticide was used to kill bed bugs and other insect pests and after it was banned, we started hearing about bedbugs again.
Bedbugs didn’t discriminate. They showed up in the folds of mattresses in hostels as well as fine hotels. And it took quite a bit of work to eliminate them. The media was full of stories about bedbug infestations and the travelers who suffered from the itchy red bumps on their skin. While alternative means to destroy the small bugs have reduced the number of incidences reported, there are still travelers who encounter them, get bitten and need to deal with the bites.
When it comes to bedbug bites, everyone reacts differently. Some people just have small red marks, while others have a more severe allergic reaction to the bedbug bites. The best treatment options for bedbug bites include anti-itch cream, topical antiseptics (to ward off infection), and oral antihistamines. These treatments for bedbug bites are over-the-counter.
If you have a severe reaction to bedbug bites, see a doctor; you may need a corticosteroid. In general, bedbug bites are not dangerous but if you scratch them, you could end up with an infection and scarring.
If you are not certain your attackers were bed bugs, these pictures of bedbug bites will help you find out.
Neosporin + Plus Pain Relief
For mild bedbug bites, an antibiotic cream is recommended. I like Neosporin + Plus Pain Relief. This maximum strength first aid antibiotic cream is available over the counter in a variety of sizes and can be taken along while traveling.
Neosporin Neo To Go! First Aid Antiseptic/Pain Relieving Spray
Many like the Neosporin spray for small children who don’t want to have a cream rubbed on them, or are sensitive to you touching their boo-boos. It’s also extremely convenient to carry, as you can throw it in a purse or a pocket and even add it to a keyring.
Hibiclens Antimicrobial and Antiseptic Skin Cleanser Liquid
Hibiclens is a respected product often used in hospitals. Use this antiseptic skin cleanser to wash your bedbug bites in the shower every day. Hibiclens will help prevent infection.
First Aid Only Antiseptic Cleansing Wipe
These wipes work best for small areas. Wipe them right on the bedbug bites to guard against infection. Some like the no-sting variety best.
Benadryl Topical Itch Stopping Cream
It’s always a good idea to keep a tube of this handy. You can rub it right on the bedbug bites and it will stop the itch almost immediately. It’s perfect when you just can’t stop yourself from scratching (or need to get some sleep).
There are a number of good antihistamine tablets on the market, including Benadryl Ultratabs and Tylenol Severe Allergy Antihistamine. This type of product is recommended if you have an allergic reaction to the bedbug bites. Be cautious, as these can make you very drowsy.
Bed bugs: Overview
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are tiny insects that feed on human blood. They hide in dark places close to where humans sleep and usually crawl out to feed while people are fast asleep.
If you have bed bugs in your home, it’s unlikely that you’ll see one unless you look for them. Bed bugs hide in the crevices of mattresses, box springs, headboards, couches, and other places. They only come out to feed.
While a bed bug is feeding on you, you’re unlikely to notice. Most people are asleep when they get bit. Also, before a bed bug draws your blood, it injects you with a substance that prevents you from feeling the bite. When you wake up, you may notice itchy welts.
Bed bug bites
Most people who are bitten by bed bugs have welts that look like this.
To find bed bugs, you usually have to look carefully. An adult that is full of blood can be the size of an apple seed. Hungry bed bugs and younger ones are about the size of a poppy seed.
If you unsure of what’s biting you, a board-certified dermatologist can often look at the bites and tell you whether bed bugs are the cause.
Bed bugs can be hard to find
They are often about size of a poppy seed.
As for getting rid of bed bugs, it often requires professional help. Pesticides are usually necessary to kill bed bugs and their eggs, but using these on or near your bed can be hazardous to your health. This is why the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends using a professional pest control company that has experience treating bed bugs.
To complicate matters, many pesticides and foggers cannot kill bed bugs because bed bugs have developed a resistance to the active ingredients in these products. It takes a bit of knowledge to know what will work.
If this news makes you want to leave your home for a few weeks, well, that won’t get rid of bed bugs either. Bed bugs can survive one year or longer without eating.
Another good reason to get professional help is to make sure you actually have bed bugs. Many insect bites cause itchy welts.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Joint statement on bed bug control in the United States from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).” Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010.
Steen CJ, Carbonaro PA, Schwartz RA. “Arthropods in dermatology.” J Am Acad Dermatol 2004; 50:819-42.
Find a dermatologist by location
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Bed Bug Bite
Bed Bug Bite
Is this your child’s symptom?
If NOT, try one of these:
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 Doctor Within 24 Hours
Call Doctor During Office Hours
Self Care at Home
Call 911 Now
Call Doctor or Seek Care Now
Call Doctor Within 24 Hours
Call Doctor During Office Hours
Self Care at Home
Care Advice for Bed Bug Bites
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.
Copyright 2000-2019 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC.
This is what a bed bug bite looks like. It can take a few days for the bites to appear after a bed bug bites you. The bites are usually itchy and often have a burning feeling. Try not to scratch and break the skin because this can cause an infection.
This is a full-grown bedbug. Bedbugs are small brown bugs which are less than ¼ of an inch (6 mm) long. Bedbugs hide in the seams, folds and creases of mattresses and upholstery. They come out at night. During the day, you might see signs of them, such as shed skin, waste or blood marks on the linens.
Copyright © 2020 Akshar Pediatrics LLC. All rights reserved.
The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.
If you think that you are having a medical emergency,