How to treat bed bug bites

How to treat bed bug bites

If you’ve ever awoken to a bevy of itchy, red bumps that you don’t remember falling asleep with, chances are high that you’ve been laid waste to in the night by bed bugs. A nasty thought for sure, but fear not, we are here to help with a few recommendations on how to treat bed bug bites.

First things first, you’ve got to make sure that what’s been feasting on your blood at night is, in fact, a bed bug. Check out these tips on detecting and identifying bed bugs.

bed bug bites

  1. Why Do Bed Bug Bites Itch So Much??
  2. Treating the bites at Home
  3. Scratching is a No-No!
  4. Should I See My Doctor?
  5. Get Rid Of Bed Bugs!
  6. Rest Easy

Why Do Bed Bug Bites Itch So Much??

Similar to the other blood-sucking fiends out there such as mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks, when a bed bug bites, its saliva causes an allergic reaction to the skin. Our immune systems then release histamines to the area. These histamines are meant to help fight off any foreign pathogens from entering our bodies, but by doing so, they cause the bites to swell and become itchy.

Our bodies are truly amazing, but wouldn’t it have been nice to replace that annoying itch with say a light tingle, or soft flutter instead?

Bed bug bites, or any bite for that matter, are often times just more annoying than they are harmful or dangerous. Typically the symptoms will disappear quickly, within a week or two. There are many over the counter (OTC) creams to help block our itchy receptors and stop the irritation.

Treating the bites at Home

Generally, bites are just treated at home. Hydrocortisone creams are the most commonly used defence against the itch and are readily available at any pharmacy. These are steroidal topical creams applied to the itchy rash that work to reduce the inflammation our histamines have caused that result in that itch in the first place. OTC creams are mild, and when used correctly, do not cause any side effects when used for short periods of time.

Aside from using the OTC anti-itch creams, you can wash the bites with mild soap and water. Work the soap into a thick lather and rub it all across the affected areas. Leave this on the sites and do NOT rinse off, and allow it to dry. Not only does this help alleviate the itch, but will help prevent any skin infections.

The old tried and true method of baking soda and water is another home remedy to try. Slowly mix water into baking soda until you have made a thick paste. Spread a generous coat onto the bite and allow this to dry. Keep the mixture on the rashy area for about an hour before you wash it off using warm water.

Natural astringents are an effective way to alleviate the itch as well. Try soaking a cotton ball in lemon juice, witch hazel or St. John’s wort and dab the bites with this concoction. The astringents will aid in drying out the bites and control the itching.

We all know that calamine lotion is a go to for any itchy bug bite. What would childhood have been if we hadn’t been covered head to toe in that flaky pink stuff!

Calamine lotions work by drying out the rashes caused by the bed bug bites. It also helps protect your skin as it heals. The pink scabs of childhood for the win!

Aloe Vera is another tool for treating the itch that ails you. Be sure to use 100% pure aloe gel, whether it’s from a jar or straight from the plant itself. Aloe has both antibiotic and antifungal properties that can help prevent any infections that could arise due to the unavoidable scratching that comes along with bed bug bites.

Scratching is a No-No!

Bed Bug ItchThe inevitable itching that comes along with a bite will make you want to scratch scratch scratch! Heck, just writing this article makes my skin start to itch!

That tingling sensation is what can get you into trouble when it comes to dealing with bed bug bites. Our nails can be a host to a multitude of angry microscopic organisms that would love nothing more than to get under our skin, literally! So as hard as it may seem, put those nails to rest.

Be sure to keep your hands washed and clean just in case you unwittingly find yourself mindlessly going to town on those bad boy bug bites.

Should I See My Doctor?

doctorAs stated before, bed bug bites are normally treatable at home and don’t require a doctor’s visit. However, if the occasion should arise that your bites aren’t clearing up within the normal timetable of one to two weeks, it is probably time to consult a physician.

They can prescribe stronger topical creams. Also, if you experience any of the following: Multiple bites that don’t go away within 1-2 weeks, Blistering of the bites, Red or swollen, Tender feeling, Pus drainage, Fever, or Severe allergic reaction, be sure you schedule an appointment with your doctor or dermatologist right way

An injection of antihistamine, corticosteroid, or epinephrine may be required in some instances if the person has a severe allergic reaction to the bite area. Signs of a severe allergic reaction include red skin, swelling and/or the appearance of hives, difficulty breathing, and irregular heartbeat.

If you notice any of these symptoms in conjunction with bed bug bites, be sure to see your doctor right away.

Get Rid Of Bed Bugs!

Whichever way you choose to battle the bed bug bites, you must be sure to rid your home of the contamination in order to fully treat the bites. They are never going to stop gorging themselves on you if they don’t get annihilated from your home!

Visit our full bed bug detection, treatment and prevention guides for all the details on how to get rid of bed bugs in your home.

Rest Easy


Nine and a half times out of ten, you will be able to treat your bed bug bites at home. Whether you use an OTC antihistamine cream, baking soda, good old standby calamine lotion or any other of the methods listed. Always be sure to keep your hands cleaned with soap and water, and try not to itch!

See your doctor or dermatologist if you experience any fever, reddening skin, swelling or any other adverse reaction stated above, Though not common, it is always better to be safe than sorry!

These differing methods on how to treat bed bug bites will be a great weapon in the battle against this tiny foe. Using the advice given, you will be sure to win the onslaught of the itch that bed bugs provide and once again sleep tight.

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