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Bed bugs are small insects that feed on blood from humans or animals. They can live in your bed, furniture, carpet, clothing, and other items. They are most active at night and feed on people while they sleep.
Bugs can be 1 to 7 millimeters long. They are flat, oval and red-brown in color. They do not have wings and therefore rely on animals or humans to carry them from one place to another.
Although bedbug bites are rarely dangerous, they can be very itchy. In some cases, they become infected or cause an allergic reaction.
If you suspect that your home has bed bugs, getting rid of them is important.
Some people don’t develop noticeable symptoms of bedbug bites. When symptoms develop, the bites are usually:
- red and swollen, with a dark spot in the center of each bite
- arranged in lines or clusters, with multiple bites grouped together
Bed bugs can bite any part of your body. But they usually bite areas of skin exposed during sleep, such as the face, neck, arms, and hands. In some cases, the bites can develop into fluid-filled bubbles.
If a bug bites your skin, you won’t feel it right away because the bugs secrete a tiny amount of anesthetic before they even feed on people. It can sometimes take a few days for bed bug bite symptoms to develop.
Bedbug bites often become noticeably red and swollen. Multiple bites can occur in a line or cluster in a small area of your body. The bites tend to be itchy. They can cause a burning sensation.
If bedbugs live in your home, they may not feed every night. In fact, they can go without food for several days. It may take a few weeks before it becomes clear that the bites are part of a larger pattern.
Itchy insect bites can cause them to bleed or become infected. Learn more about the symptoms of an infected insect bite.
If you suspect bed bugs are in your house, look for signs of it in your bed and other areas. For example, they often hide in:
- Box spring beds
- Bed frame
- Pillows and sheets
- Cracks or seams in furniture
- Carpeting around baseboards
- Rooms behind light switches and socket plates
You can see the errors for yourself. You may also find drops of blood or small black spots of insect droppings on your bed. If you find bugs, call your home owner or a pest control company.
To contain and eliminate the infestation, it helps:
- Vacuum and steam clean your floors, mattresses, furniture and appliances.
- Wash your bedding, curtains and clothes on the hottest settings on your washer and dryer.
- Seal items that cannot be washed in plastic bags and store them for several days at -17 ° C or several months at warmer temperatures.
- Heat items that can be safely heated to 46 ° C.
- Fill in gaps around your baseboards and cracks in furniture with sealant.
There are also various insecticides available to kill bedbugs. A pest control company may have access to insecticides or equipment that you may find difficult to buy, rent, or use yourself. Here are more tips on dealing with bedbug infestations and when to call a professional.
In most cases, bedbug bites will improve within a week or two. To relieve symptoms, it may be helpful to:
In rare cases, bedbug bites can cause allergic reactions. If you develop signs or symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, call 911.
Sometimes bedbug bites can cause an infection known as cellulite. To reduce the risk of infection, wash the bites with soap and water, trying not to scratch them. Find out when it is time to see your doctor for treatment.
In addition to over-the-counter medications, there are several home remedies that can help relieve symptoms of bedbug bites.
To soothe bitten areas, it can be helpful to use one or more of the following methods:
- a cold cloth or ice pack wrapped in a towel
- a thin paste made from baking soda and water
- certain types of essential oils
Although more research is needed, some studies suggest that camphor oil, chamomile oil, or other types of essential oils can help relieve insect bites. Take a moment to learn about seven essential oils that can help treat bites.
If you suspect your baby or child has been bitten by bedbugs, check the bedding, mattress, bed frame, and nearby baseboards for signs of the bedbugs.
To treat bedbug bites in your baby or child, wash the bites with soap and water. Consider using a cold compress or calamine lotion.
Talk to your child’s doctor or pharmacist before using topical steroid creams or oral antihistamines to treat the bites. Some medications may not be safe for babies or young children.
When your child is old enough to understand your directions, ask them not to scratch the bites. It can also help to trim your child’s nails and cover the bites with a bandage to prevent scratches.
Bug bites and fleabites look pretty similar. Either of these can cause red bumps to form on your skin. Both can be very itchy.
When fleas bite you, they usually bite the lower half or your body or warm, moist areas around the joints. For example, they can bite:
- your feet
- your legs
- your armpits
- the inside of your elbows or knees
Bedbugs are more likely to bite the upper parts of the body, such as
If you suspect bed bugs or fleas have bitten you, check your home for signs of insects. Bed bugs often hide in the seams of mattresses, cracks in bed frames and headboards, and skirting boards around beds. Fleas usually live on pets and on carpets or upholstered furniture.
If you find bed bugs or fleas, it is important to treat your home or pet to get rid of them. Get the information you need to identify and treat infestations from these pests.
Bedbug bites and mosquito bites can be red, puffy, and itchy. If you have a series of bites that appear in a small area of your body, they are more likely to be bedbug bites. Bites that don’t appear in any obvious pattern are more likely to be mosquito bites.
Both bedbug bites and mosquito bites will get better on their own within a week or two. Using a cold compress, calamine lotion, or other topical treatment may help relieve itching and other symptoms. Taking an oral antihistamine can also help.
It is also possible to confuse bedbug bites with spider bites, ant bites, or other insect bites. Learn more about the differences between these types of bites.
Sometimes people mistake beehives for bedbug bites. Hives are red bumps that may develop on your skin due to an allergic reaction or some other cause. They often itch like bedbug bites.
If you develop red bumps on your skin that get bigger, change shape, or spread from one part of your body to another in a short period of time, it is more likely to be hives.
A small group or series of bumps that appear on any part of your body without changing shape or position are more likely to be bug bites.
If you develop hives, difficulty breathing, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting, get medical help right away. You may have anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. Learn about anaphylaxis and other possible causes of hives.
Spider bites can be red and itchy, similar to bed bug bites. But unlike bedbugs, spiders rarely bite more than once. If you’ve only got one bite on your body, it’s probably not from bedbugs.
Spider bites often take longer to heal than other types of insect bites. Some spider bites can seriously damage your skin, especially if they become infected. To reduce the risk of infection, wash all insect bites with soap and water.
Some spiders are poisonous. If you suspect a poisonous spider has bitten you, get medical help right away.
Bedbugs can live in any home or public area. But they are often in places with lots of people, lots of sales, and tight relationships. You may be at increased risk of running into bed bugs if you are in one of the:
- Homeless shelter
- Military barracks
- college dormitory
- Apartment complex
- Business office
Unlike some types of insects, bed bugs do not transmit disease when they bite. In some cases, bedbug bites can become infected. Possible signs and symptoms of infection are:
- Pain and tenderness emanating from the bite
- Redness, swelling, or warmth around the bite
- red streaks or spots near the bite
- Pus or drainage from the bite
- Dimples in your skin
If you have a bug allergy, you may develop an allergic reaction even after being bitten. This can cause painful swelling or severe itching around the bite. In some cases, it can also trigger a potentially life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
If you suspect you’ve developed an infection or an allergic reaction to a bedbug bite, see your doctor. Get emergency medical care if you develop any of the following symptoms after being bitten:
- Difficulty breathing
Bedbugs don’t just bite people. They can also feed on pets.
If you have a pet that has been bitten by bedbugs, the bites will likely get better on their own. However, in some cases they can become infected. Make an appointment with a veterinarian if you suspect your pet may have an infected bite.
When you hire a pest control expert to get rid of bed bugs in your home, let them know if you have a pet. Some insecticides may be safer for your pet than others. It’s also important to wash your pet’s bed, soft toys, and other accessories that bed bugs may live in.