Have you ever suffered from bed bug bites? Bed bugs have become a common household problem. They may occur even in the cleanest of the homes. Bed bugs are tiny insects that feed on human blood. Since human blood is the only source of their food and survival, they creep even into a home which is well looked after. They often come along with people who travel a lot. You can pick up bed bugs in your clothes or baggage while staying in hotels or guest houses or even homes of your relatives and friends. These bugs are mostly found in tropical areas but can survive even cold temperatures.
Where do bed bugs hide?
Once your home gets infested with bed bugs, these small creatures will find a place to hide and settle. Just like us, bed bugs love to recline back and enjoy the soft cushion and mattresses. The common hiding places for bed bugs include mattress, clothes, couch, furniture, cushions, etc. They can lay in your beds, along with you. They can crawl at any place, all around your house, furniture, luggage, cupboards, clothes, shoe racks, etc. In spite of regularly dusting off your home, you cannot keep the bed bugs away all the time.
Just as you may find the bed bugs in filthy beds or cushion, you can find the same in clean beds! Having bed bugs may lead to frustration and sleepless nights. Many a times, using the bed bug foggers and sprays may not be effective in eliminating bed bugs from your home and you suffer continuously due to bed bug bites.
Is bed bug bite dangerous?
No, bed bugs are not a medical or health hazard. They don’t spread disease but they are annoying. Bed bugs may bite you at every possible instance. These bites may cause itching and loss of sleep. Sometimes itching due to bed bug bites is so severe that it may lead to excessive scratching. This often lead to secondary skin infection.
Different people get affected by bed bug bites differently. Some people won’t have any physical signs of bed bug bite. Some people may get a small bite mark and some others may develop serious allergy. In case of an allergic reaction, one must consult a doctor. In all the other harmless conditions, one can use home remedies to get rid of bed bug bites.
Getting rid of bed bugs is a herculean task but learning about how to get rid of bed bug bites and a few safety measures can be really helpful in many instances.
Symptoms- How to Identify Bed Bug Bites?
Before looking into remedies to get rid of bed bug bites, you should know whether the itchy area is caused due to bed bug bites or not. Bed bug bites may appear instantly or after a few days of biting!
Bed bug bites, in many instances, resemble insect bites. Sometimes, mosquito bites also appear like bed bug bites. It is certainly difficult to identify or diagnose the bites merely by looking into the bitten area. However, bed bugs that make a living on humans are somewhat kinder when compared to other insects and mosquitoes.
Bed bug bites have unique pattern of red bumps
Yes, bed bug bites show up in a unique pattern. Rarely, you can find a single inflamed red spot accompanied by itchiness as a sign of bed bug bites. In most cases, bed bug bites occur in a row or cluster form. If it is a bed bug bite, a cluster of red bumps appears on your skin.
Gradual aggravation of symptoms
You may not feel that you are bitten by the bed bugs. There may be no physical mark. The bitten area remains painless and there’s no itching initially. However, gradually it turns itchy with small red bumps. The best and worst thing about bed bug bite is, you may develop the signs of the bites even after a week! When you scrape the itchy area the skin becomes red.
Exposed skin areas
Bed bugs bite only on the exposed areas of your skin. You can be bitten on face, neck, arms, feet, and other exposed areas of your body. Unlike mosquito bite, bed bug bites rarely or never occur on the back, skin folds or knees.
Bed Bug Bite and its Reaction
A survey was conducted by The University of Kentucky Entomologists about the reactions related to bed bug bites. The survey was conducted among a group of people who lived in the heavily infested bed bug dwellings in the United States. The findings of the survey tell us the following facts:
- Only around 70 percent of the total participants developed physical reactions. The remaining people did not have any reaction. Bed bug bites neither affected them physically nor challenged their mental health.
- The adverse reactions were intense in the age group of 1 to 4 years and 11 to 65 years.
- Women were more affected by bed bug bites than men.
- Most of them suffered from itchiness and a few from discoloration of skin.
- A Group of people who had the reaction noticed red welts and severe itchiness in the bitten area of their body.
- Around 50 percent of the people with reaction experienced redness of the skin but no red welts or inflammation.
- Only around 10 percent of the participants experienced stingy sensation.
Bed bug bites were seen only on the skin exposed areas as the bugs were unable to invade the layers of clothing of the victims.
How to get rid of Bed Bug Bites?
In many instances, bed bug bites don’t need any specific medical treatment. In fact, the red bumps resolve on their own, thanks to the body’s natural fighting ability. However, if you so insist, you can treat and get rid of the bed bug bites in many simple ways.
What you should immediately do after noticing a bed bug bite?
Taking immediate action soon after noticing a bite mark in the form of red bumps can prevent further aggravation of itchiness and swelling. When you notice bed bug bites, just do the following:
Wash the area with bed bug bites
Wash the area thoroughly with water.
- Just keep the bitten area below running water (or pour water on the bites).
- If you have a handy antiseptic lotion, apply it on the bites and rinse off again.
- Take soap, rub the soap in your palms and make a foamy layer.
- Apply and rub the foam on to the affected area.
- Don’t wash or rinse the soap immediately.
- Let the soap dry on the affected area before washing it off.
- Moisturize the skin.
- You can find quick relief from itchiness this way.
Immediately washing the bed bug bites prevents further infection and reduces aggravation of the symptoms.
Washing the bites is the first thing you should do to get rid of bed bug bites. Based on the symptoms you experience, you can proceed with other steps to treat the bites.
Simple Home Remedies to Relieve Bed Bug Bite Itchiness
Scratching the affected area increases swelling and may spread skin infection. It also leads to severe irritation of the skin. When it comes to reducing itchiness, there are a lot of home remedies available. Following are some of the most effective home remedies you can try to reduce the itchiness due to bed bug bites.
Why cure itchiness first?
If you are thinking why you should focus on treating itchiness caused by bed bug bites before addressing the bite issue itself, here are some reasons for you:
It is a social concern
Bed bug bite is a social concern! Yes, when you say, you were bitten by bed bugs, people look at you and analyze cleanliness and hygiene issues of your home. It is a common misconception that bed bugs are found only in the dirt or tainted atmosphere. Fact is bed bugs can be anywhere but before you explain this to people, they jump to the conclusion that your house is not clean.
Itchiness is troublesome
When you ignore itchiness, it may worsen. Not only it will develop itchy rashes (you cannot control yourself from itching) but also affect your daily activities.
It affects mental health and causes discomfort
It affects your mental health as you may lose focus on your daily work or other activity. You always keep on itching (and think of how to get rid of bed bugs!)This may sound superficial yet enquire those who suffer from any itchy skin condition. It is rather painful and troublesome than any injury.
Bed Bug Bite Itchiness Remedies
Turmeric contains antiseptic, antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Literally, you can apply turmeric on the insect bites to reduce the risk of spreading infection and inflammation. Turmeric gets quickly absorbed into the skin. Turmeric not only reduces the itchiness, but also treats the bed bug bite by curing tiny red bumps and inflammation of the skin.
How to make turmeric paste for bed bug bites
You can make the turmeric paste in two ways to get rid of bed bug bite.
Turmeric Paste with Powder
- 2 to 3 teaspoons of turmeric powder
- A few drops of water
- A bowl to make the paste
- Take turmeric powder and add in a mixing bowl
- Mix with water to make a fine paste (don’t make it too clump or watery)
- Apply the paste generously on the affected area
- Let it stay for a few hours and then wash it off.
Turmeric paste from dried or fresh turmeric rhizome
It is a yesteryear practice to rub the rhizome of turmeric on a wet stone, extract the turmeric paste and apply it on the skin, still followed by women in many villages of Asian countries. This is the best way to get the pure form of turmeric paste.
You can use fresh or dried rhizome. Fresh rhizome have mild aroma and doesn’t leave the dark yellow stain on skin.
- Fresh or raw turmeric rhizome
- A clean stone to rub the turmeric
- A few drops of water
- A small bowl to wipe the paste
- Wet the rhizome and the stone
- Rub the rhizome on the stone
- Wipe the paste and gather it in a bowl
- If needed, add a few drops of water for smooth consistency and apply on the bitten area
- Let it dry and wash it off after a few hours.
Baking soda is one of the oldest home remedies skin problems like irritations and itchiness. Baking soda soothes skin and reduces the irritation, which in turn alleviates itchiness of the skin. Rubbing baking soda on the skin also removes dead skin cells.
How to apply baking soda?
- Take two or three teaspoons of baking soda
- Mix with adequate water to make a creamy paste.
- Apply the paste and gently rub it on the affected area.
- Let it dry and wash it after 30 minutes.
Ice or Cold Compress
After washing the bitten area, massage it with ice cubes to reduce the irritation and itchiness. Applying cold compress or ice wrap constricts blood vessels, cools down the targeted area and prevents aggravation of symptoms.
In some cases, mere application of ice cubes or cold compress also reduce the redness of the bumps and aid as an effective treatment to get rid of bed big bites.
How to apply ice or cold compress?
- If you have ice cubes, wrap a cube in a thin cloth and apply on the affected area.
- If not, soak a cloth in cold water and place it on the bitten area
- Freeze a spoon and place it on the bitten area (if the bitten area is relatively smaller)
- Apply frozen vegetable bag if you don’t have ice cubes handy.
Precaution: Don’t apply ice cubes direct on the skin.
While ice therapy reduces inflammation, heat therapy reduces pain. Applying heat dilates blood vessels and eases away the pain associated with bed bug bites.
How to apply heat?
- If you have a hair dryer, just use it to pass on the heat to the affected spot.
- Soak cotton cloth in hot water and place it on affected area.
- Keep the affected spot under hot shower
If you apply heat and cold therapy, or any therapy, make sure to wash the skin again with running water and pat it dry.
Aloe vera is a natural cooling herb. It also contains anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. Applying the fresh aloe vera gel on affected spot provides instant relief from the itchiness caused by bed bug bites. It also soothes the skin and reduces redness as well as inflammation.
How to apply Aloe vera
- Just scoop out the gel from a fresh aloe plant.
- Blend the gel nicely to get the smooth and even consistency for easy application.
- Apply the gel on the bitten area and let it dry.
- You can also rub the inner part of the aloe leaf on the bites.
Sandalwood Powder / Paste
If you suffer from severe itchiness with or without irritation and the red bumps, just go for sandalwood powder. Sandalwood cools down the dry, irritated and itchy skin. You can find relief from the itchiness in no time.
How to apply sandalwood?
The procedure to make the sandalwood paste is similar to the turmeric paste.
- If you are using powder, you straight away mix it with water and apply the paste.
- If you are using the sandalwood, rub the wood over a wet stone and apply the extract on the bites.
Even if you don’t have any other ingredients at your home or can’t find them immediately, you will certainly have toothpaste. Toothpaste is favored by many girls who use it to get rid of acne bumps. Toothpaste contains menthol or other such cooling ingredients. This reduces the irritation quickly. It also dries out the skin. Alternatively, you can also use a mouth freshener to heal the bed bug bites.
- Apply toothpaste on the affected area and let it dry for a couple of hours.
- Wash it off
The above mentioned home remedies prevent itchiness of the bed bug bites. If the bites are mild and only a small part of the skin is affected, many can get rid of the bites with the above mentioned remedies.
If you are not sure about when you were bitten by the bed bugs or find the bed bug bites too painful and experience discomfort, try the following things to get rid of bed bug bites.
How to get rid of Bed Bug Bites Quickly
Soon after reducing the itchiness, you can try to get rid of the bed bug bites quickly with some simple natural remedies.
Onions to Treat Bed Bug Bites
One of the simple, quick and easy ways to get rid of bed bug bites is using onion. Onions contain sulfur and chemicals that can neutralize the adverse reaction caused due to bug bites. Onions has the power to pull out the toxins from the body and it also acts as a blood purifier.
- For mild bites or small sting, just slice an onion and rub the juicy part on the affected area.
- For severe symptoms of bed bug bites, slice an onion, place it on the affected area and seal it with a bandage.
- If you are not comfortable to stick onion on the skin, juice the onion (cut the onions and juice it in a mixer or blender) and apply the onion paste.
Intake of onions is one of the folk remedies for insect bites. However, you need the shallots, not the regular pink or white onions. Just eat two or three pods of shallots raw.
Natural Astringents to get fast relief from Bed Bug Bites
Astringents are good for your skin. It has a lot of benefits to the skin. Astringents shrink the pores, tighten the skin, make the skin soft and smooth, remove the dirt and debris off the skin and even reduce inflammation of the skin. Natural astringents make the best bet for rashes, bumps and irritated skin much like that results from bed bug bites.
There are many natural astringents available to cure bed bug bites. In fact, using astringents on skin provides fast relief from bed bug bites.
Lemon for the bed bug bites
The healing properties of lemon on the skin are very popular. Lemon is one of the miraculous ingredient that can do wonders to your skin. Applying lemon juice on the bites quickly dries out the area and reduces skin irritation. In addition, lemons also contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which prevent infection.
Squeeze a fresh lemon and apply the fresh lemon juice on the bites. Alternatively, you can also rub the sliced lemon on bites.
- You can apply it for many times a day.
- Remember to wash the bites once the lemon juice dries off.
Precaution: Remember to avoid sun exposure when you use lemon. Lemon makes your skin more susceptible to sunburn.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Bed Bug Bites
In addition to the astringent properties, apple cider vinegar also contains acetic acid and anti-inflammatory properties. If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can use the plain vinegar.
- Don’t dilute the apple cider vinegar.
- Apply the vinegar directly on the skin, on the bites.
- Soak a cotton ball and apply it.
- It will dry in a few minutes. You can repeat it twice or thrice.
- Rinse off thoroughly.
Calamine Lotion for Bed Bug Bites
Calamine lotion comes handy to treat skin rashes and irritation. It dries the rashes in the affected spots and soothes the irritated skin. Apply calamine lotion on the bites 3 to 4 times a day. You can find quick relief from redness of the skin, bumps, irritation and itching. Upon regular application, in a day or two, your skin will turn normal with no traces of the bites as long as the bites are mild or minor.
Mud or Red Soil Pack for Bed Bug Bites
It is an ancient remedy used to heal many skin conditions, bites and rashes. In fact, people used to take mud bath by covering themselves with mud or red soil as a therapy to rejuvenate the body. Mud therapy replenishes the body as well as skin. You can try this simple technique to get rid of the bed bug bites fast.
How to make and use mud pack for bed bug bites?
- Collect mud from your garden or use red soil
- Wet the mud using a few drops of water and apply it on the bites.
- Let it stay for a few minutes and rinse it off.
A few precautions to use red soil
Red soil may dry out very quickly, faster than mud. So, when you use red soil, wrap the soil in a thin cloth, wet the cloth and apply it on the affected spot.
Salt Scrub for Bed Bug Bites
Salt is a natural antibacterial ingredient and protects your skin from infection. It is also a good exfoliator, which removes the dead skin cells.
Take some crystal salt and rub it on the affected area. It provides quick relief from the pain and stingy sensation. Besides, it also heals the rashes and inflammation.
Pink salt and black salt are more effective on skin. If you don’t have these handy, go for crystal salt used for cooking.
Tea Tree Oil for Bed Bug Bites
When it comes to medicinal properties of essential oils, tea tree oil tops the list! Loaded with antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties, tea tree oil is one of the most effective and trusted solution to get rid of bed bug bites. It makes a promising remedy for many skin problems. Applying tea tree oil also reduces allergic reaction.
Use carrier oil or water to dilute the tea tree oil before you apply it on the infected area.
Precaution: Since tea tree oil is very powerful, direct application without using any carrier should be avoided.
Peppercorn-Betel Leaf Remedy to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites Infection
In addition to the topical remedies to get rid of the bed bug bites, you should also make your body resist the infection and heal it from internally. This is one of the promising folklore remedy that can increase body’s natural ability to fight the infectious bites and aftermath effects.
- 3 to 5 crushed black pepper corns wrapped with crush jaggery in a betel leaf.
- Onions and black peppers, crushed and wrapped in betel leaf.
- Chew the leaves slowly, extract their juice inside your mouth
- Swallow it completely.
It may be very sharp and peppery inside your mouth. Those who suffer from insect bites, (also includes bed bug bites) may save themselves from the toxic effect of insect bites and get complete relief.
The key ingredient in this remedy is black pepper. There is a famous proverb in folklore.
If you have ten black peppercorns, you can enjoy a feast hosted even by your rival!
- Black peppercorns can destroy the toxic effects of the food and makes the body strong.
- Similarly, betel leaves contain a lot of chemicals that helps fighting against the infections.
Are natural remedies effective to get rid of bed bug bites?
The effectiveness of the home remedies and natural solutions for the bed bug bites rely greatly on your immune system.
- If you have the history of allergic reactions or periodically develop any allergic reaction, you may need additional treatments to prevent or reduce the severity of the condition.
- If your immune system is weak (with no history of allergic reactions) you may develop the rashes and the infection may spread.
- If your health is good or moderately good with moderate immunity, you can get rid of the symptoms in a few days.
- If your immune system is optimal, many times you don’t even develop the signs of the bed bug bites or the signs evade on their own due to strong immunity.
OTC Medicines to get rid of Bed Bug Bites
If you are too busy to try some natural remedies, you can try the following solutions for bed bug bites.
Oral antihistamines are anti-allergens and can prevent the infection as well as allergic reaction.
Precaution: It is recommended not to use any other oral antihistamines without getting consultation from a physician.
Topical antihistamines are available in many local stores and medical shops. If you have allergic reactions, you can apply the topical antihistamines. If it doesn’t get better in a day or two, consult your doctor.
To get rid of swelling, pain and irritation, you can take antibiotics, available as OTC drugs. Always prefer topical antibiotics over the oral drugs. Oral antibiotics may affect your body if you use it frequently.
If you don’t find any improvement or find development of rashes as well as swelling, visit a doctor immediately.
How to get rid of bed bug bites when away from home?
When you suddenly notice bed bug bites during your stay outdoors, say camping, you may not get many products used as home remedies handy to get rid of these bites.
- To stop the itching and aggravation of the bites, just wash the spot with water.
- Collect the mud from the place you stay, make a paste with water and apply on the bites. Mud contains natural minerals which can heal the bites in a short time.
- Alternatively, when you don’t have soil or mud, just apply toothpaste generously on the bites. Toothpaste contains astringent properties which controls the itching and swelling. It also reduces the bumps in case of minor bites.
Bed Bug Bites Remedies for Kids
Don’t panic and don’t just try all solutions available to get rid of bed bug bites. Go gentle, wash the bites and apply some moisturizing lotion or cream on the bitten spot. Applying some topical home remedies as mentioned above can improve the condition quickly. So, you can safely go with ice compress or apply turmeric as a first-aid treatment.
Is bed bug bite dangerous for kids?
Yes, it may turn dangerous in kids to some extent. Kids and toddlers cannot stop themselves from scratching the bitten area. It could lead to inflammation, spreading of rashes and some kind of secondary skin infection. In addition, the skin of the children is very delicate and extremely soft.
So, if you don’t find the itchiness, redness and swelling getting improved in a few hours, don’t delay visiting a doctor. Your doctor may prescribe an oral or topical antibiotic or antihistamine (anti-allergy medicine).
If your child has any pre-existing health condition, bed bug bites may worsen it if you don’t get appropriate treatment on.
Don’t give any medicine or apply any anti-itch creams to your child’s skin without doctor’s prescription. In most cases, the symptoms vanish in a couple of days causing no discomfort.
Bed bug bites aren’t really dangerous in many instances. But chances of allergic reactions and secondary skin infections are always there. So, make sure you get some treatment or stick to some home remedy immediately after you notice bed bug bites.