You will probably have read or heard about the influx of bedbugs that have been turning up in hotels, on public transport, and even in higher end clothing stores. This plague of bedbugs appears to be growing, and even the most careful people may find themselves dealing with bites at some point, especially if they travel extensively.
Although bedbugs rarely cause any real harm, the skin rash caused by their bites can be extremely aggravating. The following information is intended to educate those who discover they might have become a midnight snack for these sneaky biters.
Is it really a bedbug bite?
Bedbug bites often mimic the appearance of other skin ailments and rashes. Because people react differently to bedbug bites, it is sometimes hard to determine if they have really been bitten, but if you have spent the night in a strange place and develop raised red bumps on the parts of the body most exposed to the bedding, it is a good idea to look for signs of these pests in the bedding. Other identifying features of a bedbug bite include the following:
• Clusters of bites, with three to five marks being in each grouping
• A rash of red skin that results because of an allergic reaction to bedbug bites
• Constant itching in the area of the bite marks
• More of the bites or rash on exposed parts of the body than on covered portions
How do I treat a bedbug bite?
While most bedbug bites are uncomfortable, most people only need to treat the symptoms of the bite. If you scratch enough to break the skin around the bite, further treatment may be necessary. The following tips may help relieve some of the bothersome symptoms and make sure that bedbug bites disappear as quickly as possible without leaving a scar behind:
• Apply witch hazel using a cotton swab to help the bites dry up quickly
• Use calamine lotion or juice from an aloe vera plant to help ease the itch that accompanies a bedbug bite
• Take an antihistamine by mouth if the itching becomes unbearable
• Smooth on an antiseptic or antibiotic ointment with pain relievers if the skin around the bite appears to become inflamed or infected
• Keep the bite marks covered in clothing or wear gloves to prevent excessive scratching
• Take an oatmeal bath to relieve the itch of rash
If the skin rash doesn’t respond to these home treatments, a doctor may be able to prescribe medications that will help. In the worst case scenario, antibiotics may need to be taken to treat infection caused from scratching too hard. Unless this happens, the bites should disappear within a couple of weeks; most are not problematic after the first three or four days.