Bed bug bite- How to analyze and deal with them.
Bed bug bite is horrible. A bed bug, a small insect with an oval shape and brownish color is known to be a menace in residential dwellings. It is a parasite that feeds upon blood of humans and other mammals. During the biting process, the bed bug pierces the skin of the victim with its sharp elongated beak.
It then injects an anesthetic and anticoagulant before it starts sucking blood. It is because of the anesthetic that people do not feel any pain and are unaware of being bitten. The function of the anticoagulant is to make the sucking process easy for the apple seed shaped parasite.
A bed bug needs to suck blood for gaining maturity and growth. A female bed bug needs to bite in order to obtain blood for the development of its eggs. A bed bug egg is white or straw colored and measures only 1 mm. It then goes through the stage of nymph.
Finally a nymph grows into a fully developed bed bug of reddish brown color with a size of 3 mm to 6 mm. Bed bugs do have a flat body, prior to biting. After it intakes blood, its size grows and color changes to reddish. Bed bugs silently escape from the site of attack.
A bed bug bite is generally found hours after the biting attack. It may be a small spot or bump on the skin. In most cases, it can be easily treated using an antihistamine ointment. Thankfully, bed bugs are not generally known as disease transmitting organisms.
But one cannot totally disagree that they might have bitten a diseased animal before. In case the symptoms are severe, one must resort to medical guidance without delay.
Bed Bug Bite Symptoms
A bed bug attacks on the exposed areas of the skin like the neck, shoulders, hands, arms, waist during sleeping. Sometimes beg bugs may bite upon covered skin as they might enter inside cloth, in contact with the bed sheet. It is seen that different people react differently to bed bug bites.
- The primary symptoms of a bed bug bite include one or more of the following
• Small red spots and scars
• Bumps and inflamed areas
• Blisters or hives at the site of attack
• Rashes or allergic responses including agonizing swelling and burns at the bite site. It may also lead to an anaphylactic response.
One should never try to rub or scratch the site of bite, or else it will lead to secondary infections. A victim affected with secondary function will face further itching and swelling on the areas infected due to spreading of infection.
Bed Bug Bite Identification
The presence of a bed bug is not an indication of unhygienic practices or lack of maintenance. These small parasites can enter into the cleanest rooms via crevices or through luggage. Bed bug bites appear similar to the bites of other insects like mosquito.
But there are ways to trace difference in bites of bed bugs and other insects. Bed bug bites can usually be observed at those points where the skin comes in contact with mattress or bed sheet, since bed bugs reside underneath beds.
Unlike mosquitoes, they cannot fly and sit on random points. A bite mark over cloth covered skin is a bed bug bite because bed bugs may creep under clothes, while a mosquito cannot. If the infected area has a single spot, in means one bug attacked and pierced his skin.
If it is aligned as a row, it means that part of the skin had been attacked multiple times by bed bugs. A bed bug bite is initially not sensed by the victim due to the effect of the anesthetic. It takes time for the bite to show its effects including itching. Its healing time is also more than that of a mosquito bite.
Bed Bug Bite Effects
At first, the victim of a bed bug hardly gets any sensation of biting due to the effect of the anesthetic injected by the bed bug. Painless bedbug bites gradually produce skin reactions like itching and irritation at the points of attack.
The bite marks then turn into bumps or itchy welts in some people. If the skin is allergic, the points of irritation develop into raised areas. Other effects might be the outgrowth of pinkish bumps in localized areas.
In case a person is attacked recurrently, the effects could be more detrimental. The bed bug might transmit diseases like anthrax and typhus, which they inherit from blood of other animals.
Frequent attacks of bed bugs might also lead to psychological disorders like stress, anxiety, depression and sleeplessness.
Bed Bug Bite Infection
Bed bug bites can turn infectious due to scratching or rubbing of localized sites of attack. This leads to rashes and roughened red surfaces upon t
he skin. If infection spreads out over the skin, the bite marks will probably form itchy welts all over the body.
Hence redness spreads around the site of bed bug bite attack. Some people develop agonizing pinkish bump on the specific points of beg bug attack. Infection is prevented by applying antiseptic cream or lotion mildly and carefully over the affected areas.
Hygienic practices like bathing with an antiseptic soap enable the elimination of impurities injected by bed bugs. Infections are far more dangerous in case the bed bug happens to be a disease carrier.
One needs immediate deep skin cleansing treatments and medical surveillance to check any signs of pathogenic infection and treatment.
Bed Bug Bite Marks
- The primary bite marks of a bed bug include the following
• Small red spots, smears and scars
• Raised bumps and inflamed areas
• Blisters or hives at the site of attack
• Itchy welts
• Pinkish bumps at localized points of attack
• A series of red inflamed areas
• Permanent scars
If the victim of bed bug bite infestation scratches the primary bed bug bite marks, he can gradually feel the emergence of secondary bite marks i.e. outgrowth of red itchy welts from the point of attack gradually spreading nearby and then all over the body.
How A Bed Bug Bite Looks Like
A bed bug bite looks like a small dot or bruised line upon the infected skin. It may also look like a flat or raised areas upon the sites of attack on skin. Sometimes, a row of bed bug bite marks can be observed, which indicates multiple bites.
These localized points are prone to inflammations, blisters, itching or redness. Hence, the bed bug bite becomes more apparent and infectious with time. The redness of bite gradually spreads to the nearby areas, increasing the number of raised inflamed bite marks per unit area of skin.
What Can I Put On A Bed Bug Bite
Generally, medication is not needed and the marks disappear by themselves. In extreme cases however, one is advised to use an antihistamine for the treatment of bed bug bites. Example of such an antihistamine is phenhydramine, which is commercially marketed as Benadryl.
An effective home remedy for bed bug bites is a paste made using baking soda and water. One may apply steroid creams containing corticosteroids eg. Hydrocortisone for the treatment of affected and inflamed spots.
In case the primary bite marks have been scratched, bacterial infection starts to spread to other areas. To prevent spreading of infection, an antibiotic is applied.
How To Treat A Bed Bug Bite On The Skin
Bed bug bite marks could be treated by ice packs, which moderate burns or painful sensations, thereby reducing the urge to scratch. In case of recurrent bites and infectious marks, it is beneficial to use an antiseptic cream or lotion.
Burns, scars, inflammations and blisters could be treated with the help of phenhydramine, which is an antihistamine. An antihistamine actually works by releasing chemicals to inhibit or retard inflammation.
Alternatively the affected person might take an oatmeal bath for instant and long lasting relief besides prevention of bed bug bite related infection. Home based remedy of bed bug bite with the help of a hydrated paste of baking soda enables detoxification of affected skin. Application of antiseptic creams will help to counter further spreading of infection.
Bed bug bite marks Treatment
1. Preventive treatments: Bed sheets must be washed clean and checked for bed bug infestation regularly. Before going to bed, one must ensure that there are no signs of presence of bugs like small black deposits. Pest management may be done on a regular basis to get rid of bugs’ infestation.
2. Home based remedial treatment: The affected skin is washed with soap water or hydrated baking soda paste. One might take an oatmeal bath for skin cleansing.
3. Medicinal treatment: The victim of bed bug bites applies an antihistamine or steroid based cream upon affected skin. Antiseptic creams are used to prevent spreading of infection.
4. Cosmetic treatment: If bed bug bite mark leaves a scar that is not removed by application of ointments one can resort to laser therapy.
Bed Bug Bite Ointment
Benadryl, a commercial form of an antihistamine called Phenhydramine is the main ointment used for curing bed bug bites by inhibiting inflammatory reactions upon the skin and providing soothing relief to the affected skin.
Calamine lotion provides relief from irritation and allergies. A steroid anti itch cream for treating bed bug bite marks is an Over the Counter (OTC) drug and contains 1% Hydrocortisone. For treating more severe marks or itching, a stronger steroid cream might be prescribed by a doctor.
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