Bedbug Bites: The Details
Probably the most important thing to know about bedbug bites is that you won’t feel them right away. One of the stranger things about these insects is that their bites are painless. Another thing that is important to know is that you won’t know for a while that you’ve been bitten. According to the CDC, a bedbug bite can take as long as a few days to “show up”. So, by the time you notice the bites, you could have a big problem.
Identifying Bedbug Bites
At first glance, bedbug bites look like pretty much every other type of mite or insect bite that you might acquire while you sleep. There are some things that will help you tell these bites apart from the other red and itchy types of bites you might get.
The bites are typically found on the shoulders, hands and arms. These bugs seek out exposed skin and aren’t likely to crawl inside pajamas. The bites are usually in a straight line though they can be randomly clustered too.
How to Treat a Bedbug Bite
Unless you are severely allergic to them, like a mosquito or flea bite, the bite of a bedbug is more annoying and itchy than it is dangerous or life threatening. You won’t require any medication to treat it. Just because they’re mostly harmless, though, doesn’t mean they won’t be incredibly irritating. Some people find that they lose sleep because the itching gets so intense. It will be tempting to scratch and scratch at the bite, but you must resist. These bites, when scratched open, can easily become infected and that is the last thing you need.
In addition to keeping your hands off of the bites, you can try a topical ointment to help relieve the itching. Experts at the Mayo Clinic recommend looking for an ointment that contains hydrocortisone. You can find these ointments and creams pretty much everywhere and at relatively low prices. Mayo Clinic also recommends taking an oral antihistamine like Benadryl or anything containing diphenhydramine if the itching gets overly bad.
If topical treatments and oral antihistamines don’t work, you should see a doctor. He or she can prescribe a steroid cream that will help relieve the irritation and itching.
How to Treat Your Home
Unfortunately you can’t get rid of bed bugs completely by yourself. You’re going to need to enlist a professional pest expert to kill off the infestation. The sooner you do this, the better off you will be—especially if you’ve been losing sleep over the idea that the bedbugs have decided to move in.
Sometimes, though, it can take a while for a pest expert to have time in his or her schedule to help you tackle your bedbug problem. While you wait, here are a few things you can do; while they don’t completely eradicate the infestation, they can give you some peace of mind.
1. Clean Your House
Scrub your home from top to bottom. Make sure you clean along the backs of your furniture because bedbugs can infest tables and walls as easily as they can move into your bed and upholstered furniture.
2. Inspect Your Furniture
You’re going to be tempted to get rid of your furniture and buy all new stuff, but resist. For one thing, once the pest expert tackles your house, you should be able to use your furniture normally. Plus, not everything will be infested. Carefully inspect cushions (especially along the seams) for holes and rips.
3. Buy a Bag
You probably don’t have enough to buy a brand new bed. You should, however, have enough for a bed kit—these are bags that you zip around your mattress to help keep it safe from future infestations. This can give you incredible peace of mind at night while you’re trying to sleep.