How To Medically Treat Bed Bug Bites
(© Copyright 2012 Shawn Cole. All Rights
Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,
rewritten or redistributed.).
Cole Home Maintenance is an
exterminator Located in
Palatine and serving towns in
Lake County, Cook County, Mc
Henry County, Du Page County, Kane County
$60.00 to spray up to a 2 bedroom apt for bed bugs
At the end of
the article there are instructions for the care and
treatment for bed bug bites.
are home-made and over-the-counter treatments for
bed bug bites
Bed bug bites not only cause psychological distress -- but also
cause large, red bite marks on the body of the victim. These
bites itch and look awful. The victim scratches the bite marks
and the marks look worse. People are suffering!
People spend a lot of money going to doctors to diagnose what
is wrong with them. It is not easy for doctors to determine
what the person has bed bug bites.
The bite pattern is known in science as "breakfast, lunch and dinner
feeding". The victim does not feel the bites because bed bugs
inject a small amount of anesthetic into the bite would before
they start to feed. This causes the victim to not feel
These bite marks may not appear immediately after a bed bug
infestation. Some people do not react as much as other
people. It is common for one person to suffer with red bites
marks and rashes. Another person may only have small
marks. Some scientists believe that people who drink alcohol
beverages show less signs of bite marks. There is not
much information on the subject.
One Person is Bitten -- the Other
Person is Not
If there are two people sleeping in the same bed, it is possible
that one person is being bitten and the other person is
not. This is probably due to the fact that the
infestation is only on one side of the bed
mattress. It may also mean that
one person has been drinking alcoholic beverages and the bed bug
prefers the other person who has not consumed the alcoholic
beverage. There is no strict rule.
There is very little research on the subject.
Some people do not have a strong reaction to bed bug bites.
Some people have a very strong reaction. People react
differently from each other. Some react quickly. Some
people seem to have a delayed reaction and can go for months without
showing signs of bite marks and rashes. This is
why it is difficult for doctors to determine what is happening
to you. It is estimated that 20% to 30% of the people do
not have a reaction to bed bug bites.
What to Look for on Your Mattress
Bed bugs are very tiny when they first hatch from the egg.
People need a magnifying glass to see them. When the bed
bugs are as large as an apple seed, the infestation is
approximately five (5) months old. Look at your
mattress. . If you have bed bugs -- you will
see the bed bug droppings.
The droppings will look like fine, black pepper on your
mattress. These droppings will be in the seams of your
mattress. They could be under your mattress. The older
bed bugs leave the "shell " of their body as they grow.
The older the infestation -- the more shells you will see.
There will be spots of blood on your mattress. Every
time a bed bug feeds -- the bed bug ejects the old blood from the
previous bite to make room for the new blood. That
causes blood spots on the mattress.
How Long Do Bed Bug Bites Last?
"This is a difficult question to answer. It depends on how severely
you have been bitten. It also depends on how sensitive
you are to the bed bug bites. Normally the bed bug bites last
one (1) week. In rare cases they can last much longer.
Normally the bed bug bite marks will appear three (3) days to one
(1) week after you have been bitten.
Never scratch the bed bug bites. Scratching will make the
bites much worse. Scratching can also cause an infection
on your skin. Children suffer and will continue to scratch
their skin after you tell them not to scratch. Keep an eye on
them and make sure they do not infect the bite marks. If they
do -- seek medical help immediately.
If you choose to treat the bed bug bites yourself -- be aware that
you should see a doctor if the rash and bites do not get
better. Most bed bugs bites do not get severe. The
bites last three (3) to five (5) days. Some
bed bug bites last up to ten (10) days. If the bites do not
get better -- see your doctor. There are some
people who receive a severe reaction to the bed bug bites.
These need medical attention.
What to Do After
Soap and Water
Wash the bed bug bites with
antiseptic soap and some warm water as soon as you discover
them. The bed bug dribbles a liquid that
contains chemicals which cause allergic reaction in your
body. It is this allergic reaction that cause
the pain and itchy feeling on each bite area. It
is important to wash off the bed bug liquid as soon as
It is also important to wash and dry
the clothing that you use when you sleep. This liquid
is on that clothing. Always use fresh
clothing to sleep in the next night to eliminate spreading any bed
bug dribble onto a new area of your skin.
Some people experience swelling on
the bite area. Applying ice bags will help reduce the
What Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?
The most common question that people
ask is: What do bed but bites look like" Bed bug
bites resemble mosquito bites. They are small bite that
leave a red mark and a bump on your skin.
The most important feature is that
the bites are in a group of three (3) to five (5) bites.
These bites are in a straight line on your skin.
This is caused by the way that bed bugs feed. They
pierce your skin and suck blood. Then they move
forward and again pierce your skin. They will do this
several times until they are finished. This causes the
distinctive bite pattern.
The following are the signs of bed
- Red, bumpy, prickly skin
- Minor swelling up to 20 cms in diameter
The symptoms are often diagnosed as
mosquito or a flea bites at first. A bed bug bite has the
distinguished pattern of biting in a row and does not have a red
dot at the center of the bite.
The bed bug bite can also start an anaphylactic shock in some
victims that are severely allergic. It is rare.
These bites itch. Scratching the bite can cause secondary
skin and other infection throughout the body. If any of
these symptoms appear, see your doctor immediately.
If the bed bugs are in your hair,
the bites will probably be on your face. Bed bugs do
not have claws. The bed bugs will crawl through your hair
until they find your face. This is how many people discover
the bed bugs bites on their face. The bed bugs
may have crawled onto your pillow. Then they crawl on your
face that is laying on the pillow. It is a common way
that people have bed bug bites on their face.
The Bed Bug Saliva Contains Proteins that
Irritate Your Skin
It is the proteins in the bed bug's
saliva that cause the bite reaction on your skin. Your
reaction to that liquid and protein causes the large red welts and
bite marks. Some people have reported that the bites
have a white mark or depression in the center, though this is not
common. The bite marks look different from another person's
bite marks. This makes it difficult for the doctor to
determine what is happening to you. If you suspect
that you have bed bugs, tell your doctor.
Length of Time Needed to Heal
The length of time to heal the bed
bug bites lasts from a few days to a few weeks. The severity
of the symptoms depends on the victim's immune system.
Any symptoms that last more than three (3) weeks may require
and Dry Your Sheets and Bedding Often
It is very important to wear clean pajamas every night. You do
not want any liquid from any previous bed but bites to be on your
clothing and then on your skin. Wash bedding and
clothing that you sleep in in hot water and dry in a hot dryer
every day if you can. If you cannot wash the
clothing and bedding every day, put the used bedding and
clothing in a plastic bag and seal the top until you can wash
and dry the clothing. Bed bugs may in in the seams of
the clothing. They may have laid eggs in the seams of the
clothing. Wear different clothing each night.
for Health Inspectors and Exterminators
Health inspectors and exterminators look for signs of a bed bug
infestation. The victim may be telling them that
they are being bitten. When the exterminator and inspector
cannot find the bed bugs, it does not mean that the bed bugs
are not present. It may mean the infestation is very new and
the evidence is not visible yet on the mattress.
When bed bugs hatch from the egg, they are so small the
inspector and/or exterminator would need a magnifying glass to see
them. Both the health inspector and the exterminator
should keep this in mind when investigating a bed bug
- Bed bugs can live anywhere inside the building though they
prefer to live within 20 feet of where the victim sleeps.
- Bed bugs are Hardy. These pests can live for several
months without a blood meal. This means they can live in
furniture, bags, and empty apartments -- waiting
for a new tenant and a blood meal.
- Most bed bugs will only live two months without a blood
meal. If the temperature in a building is very
low, the bed bugs can survive for months. This is rare
because the temperature required is far below what is
comfortable to humans. This is why Cole Home
Maintenance recommends that bed bugs are not really gone after
treatment for up to two (2) months.
- Bed bugs have a survival instinct. They stay out of
sight as much as possible. This is why they are
difficult to see crawling around your home.
- They stay hidden. At night they sense the carbon
dioxide in your breath and become active and seek you
out. This is how bed bugs can find you if you
leave the bedroom and sleep in another
room. Try keeping the window open for
fresh air. Put a fan in the window to blow the
carbon dioxide from your breath away from you. It
makes it harder for the bed bugs to find you. This
is not a perfect method -- but it may help until you get
professional help to eradicate them.
Frequently bed bugs are not easily seen. These are usually new
infestations. By the time you see the blood marks and small
bed bugs the size of an apple seed, the infestation has
been in your room for months. In an older infestation, you may
even start to smell a sweet odor that may remind you of
raspberries. This is also how some exterminators use
bed bug sniffing dogs to detect an infestation. This
is the smell that the dogs detect.
People worry about possible bed bug bite diseases that bed bugs
could transmit. As of the latest research, there
is no evidence that the pathogens inside bed bugs are transmitted to
the victim. This is the reason that bed bugs do
not pose a critical health threat to humans. However, medical
attention continues to be focused on bed bug bite symptoms and
treatment of the bites. More research needs to be done.
- Bed bugs will not bite you if you sleep with the lights
on. False. Bed bugs
will find you during the day or the night if they want to feed
- Moving from the bedroom will eliminate bed bugs.
False. Bed bugs find you by the carbon dioxide
in your breath as you breathe. (This is the same say
mosquitoes find you). People move to the living
room and sleep on the couch. In a few days the bed bugs
will find you on the couch. All you have done is
spread the infestation to another room.
- You must throw out all your furniture and mattresses.
False. A good exterminator can take
the proper steps to remove bed bugs from your room and
Bed Bugs are
Methodical When They Feed
Bed bugs have a predictable feeding pattern. Once a bed bug
finds a host, it will usually feed for 5 to 10 minutes until it is
finished. Bed bugs take one feeding and then move in a
straight line forward and then bite again. They do this
three (3) to five (5) times in a row before finishing
Bed bugs don't wake up its human host when it feeds. The bed
bug has a component in its saliva that acts as an anesthetic and
promote increased blood flow at the bite site. This component
makes your blood flow easier and you do not wake up when bitten.
After feeding the bed bugs move to a secluded place and hide for 5
to 10 days. During this time they digest their blood
meal, mate and lay eggs. Bed bugs can become adults within 30
days of hatching and be capable of laying eggs themselves.
This is why it is so important to call an exterminator as soon
as possible after discovering the infestation. Bed bugs can
increase their population very fast and infest apartments and condos
and homes that are attached to the first infestation so fast they
can spread throughout the entire building structure.
Bombs are the Worst Thing to Use
It is also important to know that when an exterminator starts the
process to eradicate bed bugs, the bed bugs can move into the cracks
and crevices, into the walls and into the adjacent condo or
apartment. This happens frequently when an exterminator
starts to spray for cockroaches. It is not uncommon for
an exterminator to spray only one (1) apartment for
cockroaches and the tenants in the adjacent apartments find dead
cockroaches in their apartment too. The
cockroaches received a lethal amount of pesticides and ran
into the inside of the walls and into the adjacent apartment.
Some tenants and owners think that going to the hardware store and
buying a canister of aerosol bug bomb spray will solve the
problem. Some of the "bug bombs" that you light and fill the
apartment with gas even state on the label that they eliminate bed
bugs. The only thing that these canisters do is cause
the bed bugs to run through the cracks and crevices and into the
adjacent structure. You have now spread the initial
infestation to other attached apartments and townhouses and
The same problem occurs when homeowners try to use these canister
smoke bombs to rid their home of cockroaches. The cockroaches
run away , through cracks and crevices, under baseboards and
into the walls. Then they travel to the other attached homes
Do-it-yourself "bombs" or "foggers"
Susan Jones is an entomologist and household and
structural pest specialist with Ohio state university extension has
written an article in the 2012 issue of the journal of
economics entomology, a peer reviewed publication of the
entomological society of America. Jones stated that bug bombs rarely
kill bud bugs and cause them to scatter into areas you wouldn't
usually fine them such as your kitchen or bathroom.
In the study, Jones evaluated three different fogger brands commonly
found in stores. Jones found that there was little or any adverse
effect on the bed bugs. Jones stated that even if the bed bugs come
in contact with the foggers, most will survive. Jones concluded that
the foggers are a waste of money and will delay effective treatment
of your infestation.
There have been so many homeowners and tenants trying to solve the
bed bug problem themselves, so much so that bed bugs are becoming
tolerant to the chemicals in these over-the-counter
products. The store bought foggers are
also unable to penetrate the cracks and crevices in furniture
and walls where bed bugs hide and
These foggers can also cause the bed bugs to travel into the walls
and move to another adjacent apartment, building and condo.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report
that in 2008 there were 466 fogger related injuries or
illnesses. The most common illness effects were headaches,
nausea and coughing. The problem occurred because people
did not leave the room fast enough and inhaled the chemicals emitted
from the canisters. These canisters are also
dangerous. They are also flammable.
You Have Bed Bugs and Bites
What You Should Do First
- Wash the bed bug bites with soap and water. Bed
bugs leave a liquid on your skin. You must wash
the area as soon as possible to remove that liquid.
- Make a paste of water and baking soda. The paste
should be not too thick or thin. It will be similar to
- You can also make a light paste of aspirin and water if you
prefer. Crush the aspirin in water.
- Put the paste on the bed bug bites. Let the paste stay on
your skin for at least 15 minutes.
- Gently wash off the paste with warm water and pat dry.
Over-the-Counter Products to Relieve Itching
Here are some over-the-counter products that will help relieve the
itching. No prescription is needed. All drug stores have
them in the store. Gently pat these products on the bed bug
bites. Some products will work better than on some
people than other people. Soak a ball of soft cloth or cotton
ball and pat the skin with these products.
These products are a natural astringent. They will dry out the
area and help the bug bite to dry. Gently pat the area with a
clean cotton cloth or cotton ball to help dry the rash and relieve
- Lemon juice
- Witch hazel
- St. John's Wort
Here is a list of medications that can be found in all drug stores
-- No prescription is needed
- Cortisone cream to stop the itching
- Calamine lotion
- Hydro-cortisone cream
- Naproxen or ibuprofen or a product with Benadryl to help
Calamine lotion is an old remedy for
bug bites and rashes. It is called a topical lotion --
meaning you put it directly on your skin. If the bites or
rash is very severe and starts to blister -- you can also put an
anti-itch cream that contains hydro-cortisone or cortisone.
Be sure to test a small patch of skin to determine your
sensitivity to the these creams. Your doctor can do a patch
test for sensitivity to cortisone.
Remedies for Itching and Bug Bites
Baking Soda and Water
Make a paste of baking soda and
water. Use a bowl and add baking soda. Add enough
water to make a paste that will stick to the skin. Apply the
paste to the bed bug bites. Allow the paste to dry and stay
on the rash for an hour or more. Then wash the area gently
with warm water.
Oatmeal Bath and Soaking the Infected Area With a
This is an old-fashioned remedy for
relieving itchy rashes. Put water in your bath tub and put
in a box of oatmeal in the water. You can also mix
oatmeal with warm water in a bowl and soak a small cloth in
it. Then put the cloth on your bed bug bites to
receive relief from the redness and itching. Soaking a cloth
is a better use of the oatmeal that putting it into a lot of water
and then down the drain.
Aloe Plant Gel
The Aloe plant is a house plant that
many people grow in their house. The gel from the inside
of the plant can be used to put on burns and bug
bites. The gel contains a natural antibiotic and anti-fungal
properties. . Aloe is contained in hundreds of
products from tissue for your nose to cream to relieve itching and
Drug stores sell tubes of pure aloe
gel if you do not want to grow the plant. An
8-ounce tube sells for about $1.50
Peppermint oil is an old
treatment to relieve itching. This product is
found in drug stores and health food stores. TO USE:
fill the tub with warm water and add 1/2 cup of peppermint
oil. Soak in the water to relive itching.
Mint is pretty well known for
containing menthol. Menthol can be used as a remedy for
helping relieve inflammation. You can take the mint leaves
to make a tea. Drain out the water and use a cotton ball to
apply the tea to your bed bug bites. This is known to
relieve the itching from bed bug bites.
Basil is listed in the Free
Dictionary: Medical dictionary for it as ability to relieve pain
because it numbs the nerves. It is also an analgesic and
antiseptic. It is often used to relieve dental pain when
used topically. To use basil to stop bed bug itching,
you can either use basil essential oil or make a paste with
dried basil leaves. Then apply the paste to the bed bug bite
to relieve itching. If you use the essential oil, dab
it on with the cotton ball and then apply on the bed bug bite.
Honey and Cinnamon
To make your own basil paste for bed bug itching, you can either
add basil to a baking soda - water mixture or dampen the basil and
apply under a compress.
Both of these products have unique
properties which will help relieve the itch from bed bugs.
Honey is an amazing product that can help relieve an allergic
reaction from the bed bite. Honey first moisturizes
the skin and reduces the chance that the bed bug bite will
become dry, cracked and turn into an open sore that could get
infected. Honey is also known to help a wound heal
Cinnamon is known as a prostaglandin
inhibitor . Simply make a paste of the honey and
cinnamon. The two ingredients can be applied topically to
the rash / bite to relieve inflammation, soothe itchiness and
Lavender can be used to help relieve
the itching from bed bug bites. Lavender oil can
be purchased at health food stores or on the internet. Apply
the lavender oil to a clean cotton ball or cloth and apply to the
skin. This oil can relieve itching.
The witch hazel you find in a drug
store that is used as a liquid astringent to remove make-up and
cleaning the face is not the best type of witch hazel to use on
bed bug bites. Find the brand of witch hazel that contains
the active ingredient that helps stop the itching and reduce the
redness of the bed bug bite Look for the witch hazel
that has the ingredient TANNIN.
Witch hazel is an ingredient in hemorrhoids creams that relieve
swelling. It is also in some hydrocortisone
True witch hazel is the type with high levels of TANNIN.
This not only kills the pain -- it also shrinks tissue which makes
it perfect to reduce the size of the bed bug
bites. You can get the liquid and make your own
pads by soaking pads in which hazel and then sealing them in a zip
lock bag for use on your skin.