Growing up, when your parents tucked you into bed, they probably said one of two things. The first being ‘Good night, sweet dreams’, the second being ‘Goodnight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!’. A lot of people think nothing more of the latter other than that it’s a silly bedtime joke. However, this nighttime chant stems back hundreds of years to when bed bugs were a common household problem. Back then, the chances were that at night, you would get bitten.
Today, bed bugs are much less common, as we’ve got much better treatments for dealing with infestations. However, they’re not completely extinct from our homes and can sometimes cause problems. The most common sign that you’ve got a bed bug problem is experiencing the symptoms of bed bug bites.
So, with that in mind, it’s time to talk about the impact bed bugs have on us and what symptoms a bite can cause. The important thing to understand is that although sore and painful, bed bug bites aren’t dangerous. (Unless you’re allergic to them, that is.) So there’s no need to panic if you come across a bite.
What do Bed Bug Bites Feel Like?
The first thing that you should know is that the chances are you won’t feel the bite itself. This is because when a bed bug bites, it excretes a small amount of anesthesia into the area. This numbs it and means that you won’t feel anything as you are bitten. So, there’s little chance that you will wake up as you are being bitten.
Instead, you’ll wake up the next day and may notice that your arms, neck, and face – or anywhere that was exposed in the night, is itchy and sore. Of course, just because you’ve woken up with bed bug bites, that doesn’t mean that a bed bug bit you the night before. Believe it or not, sometimes the symptoms can take two to three days to appear after you’ve been bitten.
What are the Most Common Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites?
Some people actually have no reaction to bed bug bites. So, it’s possible to be being bitten by bed bugs at night but have no visible reaction to their bites. This is rare but possible. If you share your home with your partner or a friend and they’re getting bitten, the chances are that you are too – your bites just aren’t visible.
The most common symptom of bed bug bites is a raised red area that looks swollen and sore and has a darker coloured centre. Because of how similar they look to mosquito bites, a lot of people wrongly assume they’ve been bitten by mosquitoes instead of bed bugs. However, unless you slept with your bedroom window and the light on, this is unlikely. If the bites that you have are in lines, then it’s definitely bed bugs that have bitten you. Bed bugs bite in lines, or tend to anyway, while mosquitoes bite more randomly.
Anyone who’s ever experienced a bed bug bite will tell you that they are incredibly itchy. As well as feeling itching and soreness around the affected areas, you may also experience a mild burning sensation. This is nothing to worry about; it’s just another symptom of a bed bug bite.
Like with every type of insect bite, reactions can vary from person to person. Some people will have little to no reaction to bed bug bites, while others will have severe reactions. Although rare, some people who are sensitive to bed bug bites will have blisters appear where they were bitten. If blisters occur, this means that infection is more likely, especially if they burst, opening the skin up.
As mentioned above, reactions vary from person to person when it comes to bug bites. This is exceedingly rare, but in people who are super sensitive to bed bug bites, anaphylaxis may occur. Anaphylaxis will result in the need for immediate medical treatment because it can be deadly. (This is highly unlikely, but it’s something that’s worth noting.)
How Should Bed Bug Symptoms be Treated?
When it comes to bed bug bite symptoms, it’s important to know how to manage them properly. Because by doing so, you can speed up the healing process and prevent infection from setting in.
Any bites that are red, swollen and sore, it’s important to avoid itching. They might be itchy but scratching them will only make them sorer and will increase your likelihood of developing an infection. So if you can avoid itching, try to do so. The best methods of treatment are antihistamines – both oral and topical. These will help to reduce swelling and relieve itching. A range of antihistamines are available over the counter. However, if these aren’t strong enough, you’ll need to see a doctor to get a prescription for a stronger antihistamine.
Another option for keeping the itching at bay is the use of ice and cooling lotions, such as calamine lotion, for instance. You’ll find that by applying an ice pack on the affected area that the itching should stop and the swelling should go down. Ice should also help to numb the area, preventing you from feeling any discomfort or pain. If you want to double up this treatment, consider freezing calamine lotion and applying that to the affected area. This should increase the amount of relief that you feel.
If a bite has developed into a blister, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. It might be fine, but it’s still best to get it checked out. Often, bites that turn into blisters do so because they’re infected, or because you’re more sensitive to the bites. Bed bug bites that turn into blisters will usually be treated with a combination of oral and topical antibiotics. These treatments should ensure that no infection occurs. If the blisters are severe, they may need to be wrapped to keep them clean.
For any bites that are infected – a common symptom is weeping. If you notice any weeping, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. Some infections clear on their own. However, to ensure that it’s not going to get worse, it’s best to get any weeping bites checked over by a medical professional.
If a bite causes severe swelling, leaves you struggling to breathe, or feeling dizzy, this could be a sign that you’re going into shock. Anaphylaxis can be deadly. So it’s important to seek prompt medical treatment by calling an ambulance immediately. (The chances of this happening are rare, but even so, it’s important to be aware of the possibility.)
So there you have it, a comprehensive list of the symptoms of bed bug bites. As well as some tips and advice for how to effectively deal with each of them. A lot of people presume that bed bugs aren’t a problem today, but that’s not the case. Bed bug infestations are actually a lot more common than you would think.
The good news is that if you do find that you have a bed bug infestation, it’s fairly easy to treat. So there’s no need to panic about it. Although the idea of having bed bugs living in your home may not be nice, it’s important to remember that for most people, they’re not harmful. So there’s no need to lose sleep over an infestation. All you need to do is hire a pest controller to exterminate them, and you should be able to get rid of your infestation once and for all.