Bed bugs are tiny brownish insects with broad, oval-shaped bodies. Bed bugs do not have wings and rely on humans to carry them from one place to another. They are very good at hiding. However, finding a bed bug is the only way to confirm that is indeed what bit you.
Bed bugs are annoying insects that hide in soft, warm places like beds, couches, carpets and clothing. These bugs feed on their hosts at night, leaving small bite marks that, though rarely dangerous, should be treated right away to prevent unwanted symptoms and potential allergic reactions.
They are most common in facilities that have a lot of people. However, they can also come into your home if brought there. Listed below are the places that most commonly have bed bugs:
- homeless shelters
- military barracks
- college dorms
- apartment complexes
Check your home for signs of bed bugs
Bed bugs want to be where people are so they can get the warm blood of humans. One major sign is red spots on the sheets. These may come from either a bed bug that was squashed after feeding or from the bites left on you after feeding.
Inspect your entire mattress, especially the lining and seams. Look for sleeping bed bugs, carcasses, empty skins although very difficult to see and catch. Check your sheets, pillows and cases as well.
Home remedies to relieve bed bug bite itching
- Make a paste of baking soda and water. Slowly add small amounts of water to the baking soda and stir until you have a thick paste. Then apply a thick coat of the paste to your bed bug bites. Allow the paste to dry and stay on the rash for an hour or more before washing it off with warm water.
- Dab at the rash with the cotton ball to help dry it out and control the itch.
- You can also apply the gel from an aloe plant to bed bug bites. Use pure 100% aloe vera gel. Aloe contains both antibiotic and anti-fungal properties, which can help prevent against a secondary infection due to scratching.
- Wash the area with mild soap and water; use a bar of soap and enough water to wet surface of your hands. Work the soap in your hands into thick, soapy lather. Rub the lather over the affected area liberally. Repeat until the entire area is covered. Leave on and do not rinse. Allow the soap lather to dry over the bitten areas. You should experience immediate relief from itching.
- Also, you can buy a 1% hydrocortisone cream from any drugstore or pharmacy. It reduce inflammation and itching. Your doctor can tell you which cream and brand is ideal for you.
- Use calamine lotion. When applied to the bites, calamine lotion may provide some symptomatic relief from the itching. It will also help to dry the rash and protect the skin as it heals.
- If the bites are causing you any discomfort or pain, you can take OTC anti-inflammatory analgesic oral medication, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin. Discuss these options with your doctor if you have any doubt about their usage and whether these medications are right for you.
Consult your doctor.
See your doctor if your bite does not clear up within one to two weeks. You should also see a doctor for treatment if you have any of the following:
- Multiple bites
- Signs of skin infection (tenderness or oozing discharge)
- An allergic skin reaction
Finally, call an exterminator.
This is the surest way to confirm that you have been bitten by a bed bug. An exterminator will search your home and be able to confirm whether or not you have an infestation. An exterminator will know what to look for and can also then treat your home to remove the bedbugs and prevent future bites from occurring.
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