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How to prevent bed bug bites: Everything you need to know.

adult bed bug feeding on a human

Contents:

  1. What are bed bug bites: How they look like and symptoms
  2. How to prevent bed bug bites while sleeping?
  3. How to avoid bed bug bites when travelling?
  4. What to do for bed bug bite: Home remedies
  5. What are the side effects of bed bug bites?

What are bed bug bites: How they look like and symptoms

Bed bug bites are big red itchy welts appearing in a cluster of several at a time on your body. They are always in some kind of a pattern. Most often they are located on your back, neck and shoulders, sometimes legs and arms, and even your face. Any area of your body that is exposed while you sleep.

Bed bugs will bite anyone – men, women, old and young people, children, even babies or in very rare cases – pets.

You have to know that not everyone who is bitten will have bite marks. It’s strongly individual and entirely depends on the person’s organism. However, people who do show the blisters and are more sensitive might also experience the following bed bug bites symptoms:

Normal symptoms:

  • Severe itchiness
  • Inflammation
  • Burning painful sensation after scratching the bites

Fairly severe reactions to the bites:

  • Secondary infections
  • Blisters
  • Swollen tongue
  • Having trouble breathing
  • Feeling nauseous
  • Irregular or increased heartbeat

*If you experience any of the severe reactions, call your doctor immediately.

How to prevent bed bug bites while sleeping?

Unfortunately, there’s no spray or insecticide you can use to spray yourself and stop the bed bugs from feeding on you while you sleep. Not even moving to another room will help you escape them. When they are hungry they will find you and they will feed on you.

In fact, moving from your infested bedroom to your living room couch will only spread the bugs all around your home. If you have an infestation, you should keep sleeping in your own bed until the professional bed bug exterminators come to treat your home.

Luckily for you, there’s one thing you can do to protect yourself from the bed bugs while you sleep and that is to protect your bed first!

How to do it:

  1. Inspect the bed and bed area. Check the mattress and the box springs, the headboard, the nightstands, the wall by the bed, carpet under the bed if any, etc.
  2. Remove all sheets and pillow cases and wash them at high temperature.
  3. Put mattress encasement or plastic sheets and cover the bed.
  4. Buy or DIY bed bug traps and place strategically near the legs of the bed.
  5. Put tapes at the base of the walls so they cannot climb it.
  6. Pull the bed further away from the walls and nightstands.

You can also protect yourself from the pesky blood-sucking bugs by wearing pyjamas with long sleeves and pants to cover as much of your body as possible. If you will be too hot, turn on your A/C to control the temperature. Also, pest exterminators would advise you to tuck your covers tightly when you go to sleep.

How to avoid bed bug bites when travelling?

One of the worse things about bed bugs is the fact that they don’t care what kind of place they live in. The myth that bed bugs are only found in dirty homes was debunked a long time ago.

These little crawlers can be found in the most luxurious hotels if they were brought in. From then on, they spread easily.

What is more, bed bugs can also be on planes, on buses, etc. So even if your hotel room is clean, the vehicle with which you travel may not be.

But while there’s nothing you can do to protect yourself from them on the plane, there’s something you can do to avoid being bitten at a hotel room.

  • Bring your luggage in the bathroom as soon as you enter your hotel room. The bathroom is the place where you’ll never find bed bugs.
  • Head to the bed and inspect. Check the sheets, the headboard, the carpet, nightstands, etc.
  • Inspect the closet as well.
  • Look for live bugs, eggs, or shells and dead skin from the bugs. Black or red spots on the sheets are also a sign of bed bug infestation.
  • If the room is clean – good, if not, call the hotel reception to inform them of the problem and ask to change rooms.
  • Request a room at least two floors away from the initial room. And inspect that one too.
  • Keep your luggage in plastic bags to prevent potential hitchhiking bed bugs.
  • Upon arriving home, wash your clothes at high temperature and leave your suitcases outside overnight.

How to tell bed bug bites from other bites?

There are only a couple of other insects that leave bite marks that resemble the ones of bed bugs. Fleas and mosquitoes leave similar marks after they’ve bitten you.

But there are ways to distinguish the bite marks easily. First of all, fleas and mosquitoes bite no matter the time, while bed bugs only bite you at night. So if you feel something bite you during the day – it’s not bed bugs.

If only one person in the house has itchy bite marks on their body and no one else does – it’s more likely bed bugs. The other people just aren’t sensitive to the biting and don’t show the blisters.

Read more:
How to tell bed bug bites from mosquito
How to tell flea bites from bed bug bites

What to do for bed bug bite: Home remedies

Bed bug bites are not as scary as mosquito bites, per say, because they do not transmit any diseases. On rare occasions, there may be side effects but they mostly appear to more sensitive people or people who have to deal with a very severe bed bug infestation.

Home remedies to relieve the itchy bed bug bites:

  • Wash the bites with mild soap.
  • Rub the itchy bites with a cotton ball soaked with lemon juice.
  • Use aloe vera gel or the juice from a real plant. Medicinal aloe vera can be grown in a pot in your home. It can help with a variety of bite marks or minor injuries.
  • You can take an oral antihistamine to relieve the symptoms and prevent allergic reactions.
  • Over the counter calamine lotion to treat the welts.
  • Over the counter anti-itch cream that contains cortisone or hydrocortisone – they will relieve the itching and prevent inflammation.

What are the side effects of bed bug bites?

There are some unpleasant side effects to bed bugs bites. Where the infestation was severe and the biting was restless, many people become sleep deprived and this leads to a decrease in their immune systems, or depression, anxiety and overall ill feelings.

In rare cases, people suffer from insomnia or have nightmares, or paranoia because of the bed bugs and it takes them years to get better.


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