With reports of bed bug infestations increasingly in NYC, many people have become highly alarmed at the prospect of being bitten by bed bugs. We have collected a series of steps you can take to cure itchy bed bug bites. The bad news is that bed bugs are mounting a full-fledged comeback in New York after decades of being nearly nonexistent. The good news is that bed bugs aren’t disease carriers, and their bite probably won’t cause any serious health problems. But they sure are irritating. Here are some tips on how to treat bed bug bites.
If you’ve ever woken up to discover that you have red bumps or an itchy rash on your skin, primarily on your hands, legs, and neck, this could be a sign of a bed bug infestation. While the severity may vary from person to person due to how each person’s system reacts to these kinds of bites, one prevailing thought unites everyone who has been bitten: they want to know how to cure itchy bed bug bites. Here are some tips on how to treat bed bug bites.
Know the Difference
It is first important to note that while bed bug bites look a lot like mosquito bites, they do have certain characteristics that make them different. Bed bug bites are primarily a blotchy mark with a slightly red, raised center. They also do not appear immediately after being bitten like a mosquito bite would. Bed bug bites are also more likely to appear on the skin in areas that are left exposed while in bed.
Bed bugs are nocturnal, which means they’re mostly active at night. During the day, they hide in the cracks and corners of your home, but once the sun goes down and you are asleep, they venture out in search of sustenance. However, even though they do cause itching or even more severe reactions, they are also very small, which means that there is little chance that you will wake up to the itching they cause. That will come later. Bites often cause itching and sometimes swelling. Most itchy bed bug bites don’t require a doctor’s attention, but if you’ve been bitten, it is helpful to know bed bug solutions you can take on your own to reduce the discomfort.
When dealing with a bed bug infestation in NYC, most homeowners are focused on how to get rid of the parasitic pests. Although they don’t carry disease or destroy your home like other pests are likely to do, no one wants to think about bed bugs lying in wait somewhere in their house, tucked into all the little nooks and crannies. There is one primary myth about remedying bed bug bites that prevails. Many erroneously believe that you must get prescription antihistamines and corticosteroids from the doctor. And, while, in some cases, this might be necessary for those that have a very strong reaction to the bites or if someone has scratched so much that they infected the bites and need antibiotics, typically home remedies will work just fine to treat bed bug bites.
Do bed bug bites itch for a long time?
This really depends on a few factors. First, it depends on how much feeding was done. The length of time that the bed bug was attached to your skin might be in direct correlation with your level of discomfort. Second, your skin is a factor. Some people are simply more sensitive than others. If you are prone to skin irritation, you may itch for a longer time. And third, itching will last longer if you don’t treat it. There are a number of lotions available, and many people will use aloe vera plants to lessen the effects, much like you would with a sunburn.
How to treat bed bug bites
Another major concern, apart from simply getting them out of your house, are the bed bug bites that come with their presence. In order to grow from one life cycle stage to the next, these parasites must feed on blood, and that’s where you come in. Luckily, though, it’s not the end of the world and there are a number of ways to treat bed bug bites. Here are a few of the most common techniques:
- Don’t scratch. The most important solution for itchy bed bug bites in terms of treating bites is to resist the urge to scratch. When bed bites do become serious medical problems, it’s sometimes due to allergic reactions, but another typical complication is breaking the skin due to excessive itching, allowing infections to take hold.
- Use a lotion: To ease the itching, use calamine lotion, cortisone cream, hydrocortisone cream, or virtually any anesthetic cream that contains pramoxine. There are countless natural remedies (e.g., spreading aloe on the affected area), some of which work better than others.
- Wash with soap and water: If you wake up with bed bug bites on your skin, the first thing you should do is take a shower. The hot water will open up your pores and remove toxins and oils from your skin, which will help dry up the bites. Also be sure to use an anti-bacterial soap, which can go a long way to relieving the itching sensation.
- Use over-the-counter medications to control swelling: Swelling often accompanies the itching caused by bed bug bites. To help the swelling go down, you might want to consider taking an over-the-counter medication. You can choose from different types of pain relievers, such as Ibuprofen, or you can opt for Benadryl or some other similar anti-histamine. By lessening the swelling, the itching will get better as well.
- Natural Remedies: Many people swear by natural remedies, and they can definitely work wonders. Some of them are quite popular, such as St. John’s Wart, Witch Hazel and Aloe Vera. Lemon juice is another solid choice. All of these work by removing the desire to scratch. Other sufferers of bed bug bites swear by the use of the aloe plant. While there are several lotions and sprays that contain aloe available, many people prefer the actual plant, which can be purchased for only a few bucks.
- Visit a doctor if you have allergic reactions or infections. While the above bed bug solutions usually alleviate the problem until it passes, some people do have severe allergic reactions, while others can’t resist itching and become infected. Don’t hesitate to get professional help in these cases.
- Get rid of the bed bugs from your home. Treating bed bug bites will be a futile effort if the source of the problem isn’t eliminated. You’ll just get bit again and again. The ultimate bed bug solution is an inspection and extermination by pest-control professionals who specialize in bed bugs.
In reviewing the main ways to treat bed bug bites, here are the key points:
- Identify bed bug bites by their size, location, and color.
- Bed bug bites can often be treated with home remedies, including soap and water, ice packs, and natural home remedies like baking soda and water, oatmeal and water, calamine lotion, or aloe vera among other solutions.
- If the itching worsens or if the bites appear to have become infected, it is best to consult with a physician who can prescribe something stronger like an oral antihistamine or antibiotic cream.