How to treat bed bug bites

November 3, 2015

How to effectively identify and treat bed bug bites

Bed bugs are considered one of the worst pests for good reason. Their bite causes painful itching and swelling that can occur over your entire body during an infestation. These tips will help you know what to do when the bed bugs bite.

How to treat bed bug bites

Identify your bite

Determine whether the bites are actually from bed bugs. It's often difficult to identify the source by looking at just one bite, as bed bug bites often resemble the bites of other insects, like spiders or mosquitoes.

The typical bed bug bite produces an inflamed, small, red welt, which can cause itchiness. Sometimes a small red ring will also appear near the centre of the bite. Bed bug bites often appear in groups of three to five. You may notice bites in many areas of your body with a heavy infestation, which could be a clue that you're dealing with something other than a mosquito, especially if it's the middle of the winter.

Treat your bites

Over-the-counter medications and products, like calamine lotion or aloe, can help soothe inflamed bites. Many people also find success with cortisone or hydrocortisone cream, which can reduce itching quickly. Exercise caution with this cream, as it can cause skin problems with prolonged use.

Constant scratching can open and irritate bites. If this occurs, you may need topical anaesthetics that contain pramoxine. Some people also react more strongly to the bites than others. Over-the-counter histamines can be useful in reducing swelling and itchiness if you have a severe allergic reaction to the bites. Painkillers, such as ibuprofen, treat pain and can even reduce swelling in some cases.

Home remedies

Several home remedies can reduce bite symptoms, including an Epsom salt bath, which is helpful if you have bites all over your body. For individual bites, apply a paste of baking soda, witch hazel and water. Some people also swear by the healing properties of apple cider vinegar. Place a vinegar-soaked gauze pad on your bite and hold it there for 10 minutes or more.

Treating mental health issues

The problem presented by bed bug bites is partly psychological for many people. These bugs crawl out at night in large numbers and feed on you while you sleep, which can make falling asleep difficult. People can suffer from insomnia, depression and anxiety, all symptoms which can often be worse than the actual bites.

It's important to speak with a psychologist or mental health professional if you suffer from any of these symptoms. Talking about the issue or taking medication to temporarily reduce anxiety can help you get a better night's rest and control psychological problems while a pest control specialist rids your home of bed bugs.

These tips will help you treat your bed bug bites and protect your sanity during this difficult time. Just remember, almost all bed bug infestations are successfully resolved within a few months.

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