Bed bugs are basically the indoor version of mosquitoes. They hide in the cracks and crevices around the bed and then come out at night to suck your blood, just like mosquitoes do. The difference between the two species being that bed bugs crawl, while mosquitoes fly.
So, what attracts bed bugs to humans? Studies have shown that bed bugs are attracted to body heat and carbon dioxide. So at night when you’re sleeping, they’ll crawl out of the cracks and crevices to bite you and suck your blood.
For some people, bed bug bites leave red, sore bumps, very similar to mosquito bites. So similar in fact, that a lot of people mistake bed bugs bites for mosquito bites. However, the best way to tell whether you’re being bitten by bed bugs or mosquitoes is by where the bites are positioned. Mosquito bites tend to be random, whereas bed bug bites are most commonly found in a straight line.
The good news is that if you’ve noticed bed bugs in your home – small flat bugs that resemble lentils, there’s no need to panic. They’re not dangerous, just annoying and hard to get rid of. However, you don’t want them infesting your home, so you need to take the steps to get rid of them as soon as possible. When it comes to treating bed bugs and getting rid of them for good, there are some crucial things that you need to do.
Want to treat bed bugs once and for all? Here’s a complete guide for how you can go about doing that.
To Treat the Bites:
The first thing that you need to do is treat the bites, as otherwise, they could become more painful, or worse, get infected.
The most common method of treating bed bug bites is with the use of a mild antihistamine tablet. This will help to reduce the swelling and itching that the bites are causing. This is important because if the bites are scratched too much, not only could they scar but they could also become infected. So, preventing scratching is of the utmost importance. You can get mild antihistamine tablets from a pharmacy, or for stronger ones, you’ll need a prescription from a doctor.
Another option for treating bed bug bites is with the use of alternative therapies. For reducing itching and pain, ice can be highly effective. It works especially well as it’s a fantastic anti-inflammatory. To soothe the bites, calamine lotion can be a good option, as can the use of topical aloe vera. Freezing a small amount of calamine lotion or aloe vera in an ice cube tray and then applying it to the affected area can also work well. This should help to reduce itching and soreness, as well as swelling.
If the reaction that you’ve had to bed bug bites is more severe than a few itchy bumps, it’s a good idea to make an appointment to see your doctor. They will then be able to assess the bites and should be able to prescribe you a steroid cream to stop the itching and help them to heal. Steroid cream should work quickly, reducing the size and soreness of your bites within a day or so. If you notice them getting worse, it’s best to make another appointment to see your doctor as you may need a stronger cream.
Most bites have an open head, which means that potentially, they could become infected. So it’s important to keep scratching to a minimum, as scratching can open them up even more, and can also introduce infection to the area. To prevent infection, keep the area that’s affected clean and apply an antiseptic cream once or twice a day.
In some instances, bed bug bites can develop into painful fluid filled blisters. When this happens, the bites are at high risk of becoming infected if the blisters pop. So it’s important to see a doctor to get a treatment to help prevent infection. Most commonly antibiotics are prescribed to help prevent infection. These can be oral or topical, depending on what the best course of treatment is for the individual condition. You can’t get these over the counter, so you’ll need to see your doctor for this type of treatment.
How to Treat Your Home:
Once you’ve treated the bites, it’s important to treat your home. Otherwise, an infestation will take hold, and you will receive more bites. The question is, of course, how should you go about doing that?
The first thing that you need to do is strip your bed of all bed linen, including your mattress protector. This should all be washed at 60 degrees – or if possible, at a higher temperature. This will kill any bed bugs that are in the bed linen, as well as any eggs. It’s also a good idea to wash any items of clothing that have been placed on or near the bed, to ensure that they’re not carrying bed bugs or bed bug eggs. The more items you can clean, the less likely you are to miss any bugs or eggs.
Just like fleas can live in carpets, so can bed bugs. So, if you’ve got carpet by your bed, it’s a good idea to vacuum it to remove any bed bugs or eggs. For added peace of mind, it could also be worth steam cleaning it. As well as vacuuming your flooring, it’s also a good idea to vacuum the mattress on both sides. This is because bed bugs can lay their eggs on mattresses. So, if there are any, you need to remove them, and the best way to do this is with the use of a vacuum cleaner.
Once you’ve vacuumed the area around your bed, the next step is to spray an insecticide spray. You may not like the idea of putting chemicals near where you sleep, but it’s important if you want to prevent an infestation. If your home becomes infested, getting rid of the bed bugs could take weeks or even months. Leaving you vulnerable to bed bug bites and their side effects. If you’re not sure about which insecticide spray to use, ask your local home store for advice. They should be able to recommend the best one for your needs and personal circumstances.
If all else fails and you still have a bed bug problem after doing all of the above, it might be a good idea to call in a contractor. It might cost you, but if you want to get rid of your bed bug issue for good, hiring a pest controller might be your best bet. In some areas, the council offers free pest control treatment. Before calling out an exterminator, it might be worth getting in touch with your local council.
Bed bugs might not be dangerous, but the last thing you want is a bed bug infestation in your home. This is especially true if you’re sensitive to bed bug bites and tend to have severe reactions to them. Plus, the idea of little bugs coming out at night and sucking your blood is most probably makes your skin crawl, making it very hard to fall asleep at night.
The first step to dealing with bed bugs is treating their bites, to ensure that they don’t become infected and turn into blisters. Once you’ve got the bites under control, you can then focus on ensuring that you don’t receive any more by getting rid of bed bugs from your home.