Treating Bed Bug Bites
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Are you getting mysterious bites?
If you have been experiencing bites upon waking or in the middle of the day, it could be a sign that bed bugs are in your home.
Bites alone do not guarantee by any stretch that bed bugs are are the cause of your bites or rash but if you are experiencing unexplained welts or bites, it may be a good idea to inspect your bed for bed bugs. The easiest, fastest way to know if your bites are from bed bugs is to have a home inspection, preferably by dog.
What do bed bug bites look like?
Bed bug bites can resemble bites from other insects such as mosquitoes, spiders or fleas, so bites alone are never used to determine if you have bed bugs.
Bites may cause welts or hives, or just appear as a raised and very itchy raised bite. Some people do not react at all to bed bug bites, entomologists suggest this may be aproximately 30% of all people. This number is not exact. It also seems that when there is a couple sleeping in the same bed and it is a man and a woman, that women sustain more bites than men. This is unscientific but taken from numerous forums where this is shared by bed bug sufferers.
Note: We'd love to hear from you if you share a bed and are the only one getting bites. Send us an email!
Bed bug bites often appear in groups or rows of two or three. Those bite patterns happen when either the insect was disturbed and had to begin feeding again, or there is more than one using you for the late night buffet.
Bed bug bites can manifest in different ways and people react very differently to their bites. Some people break out in hives after being bit, which can easily be mistaken for an allergic reaction to almost anything.
This can keep you guessing for weeks without ever thinking it could be bed bugs, while the bugs reproduce. Bites may cause extreme and prolonged itching, or they may become irritated and itchy, only to completely disappear and then reappear later.
Heat or hot baths can cause old bites to reappear and become itchy again, after seeming to have gone away. This is why some people mark their bites with permanent marker, so they know when they have a new bite, as oppose to an old bite reappearing. Some people keep a journal, keeping track of when they get bites, location and dates they first appear.
How Bed Bugs Feed
Bed bugs feed for between three to fifteen minutes. They inject an anti-coagulant/anesthetic into you and suck your blood with another tube. This thins your blood and prevents you from noticing the prolonged feeding.
Bed bugs need to be in a particular raised angle to inject their feeding tube into you. This is why they cannot really bite you while you are in motion. They need their "host" to be very still which is why they feed primarily at night. Bed bugs will, however bite and feed on you in pure sunlight, in the morning, afternoon, or any time, anywhere if they are hungry and you are still, such as at a desk, chair or car.
Bed bugs cannot jump or fly, they must crawl onto their host to feed. They will typically bite on exposed areas of skin rather than under clothes, but they will bite under clothing if that's what they need to do to eat. That is why if you wear full body armor to bed with socks and gloves, they will bite you on the face or neck.
I believe this is a developed instinct to protect themselves, as they are most vulnerable when they have just fed and their body is very bloated with blood and they are most easily squished when full instead of flat. They would definitely be more vulnerable under clothes or in-between, instead of on top of the host after a meal.
How to Treat Bed Bug Bites
Itching from bed bug bites can be relieved with antihistamines, or lotions that control itching. Talk to a doctor or nurse about how to control itching. Secondary infections can arise from scratching too much, so try to avoid scratching excessively. Wearing lightweight gloves to bed can prevent scratching in your sleep, if you are sleeping.
Research at universities shows that nymph bites are just as irritating as adult bed bug bites.
Any product that claims to make you immune from bed bug bites or that advertises it will prevent bed bugs from biting you are false. Bed bugs are primitive in that they are programmed to eat, and then reproduce, and then eat…nothing will prevent them from biting you except preventing them from reaching you. Males are attracted to newly fed females and will attempt to inseminate them.
Wearing clothing to bed will only encourage them to bite you on your exposed areas, such as your eyelids, neck, hands and face.
Phantom Sensations of Bites and Crawling
Many people who suffer from bed bugs develop phantom sensations of bugs crawling on them or biting them. With bed bugs this is very common and something most people are hesitant to talk about.
While no one has come up with a conclusive scientific reason, it makes a certain amount of common sense to say that when bugs crawl over you in your sleep, your subconcious is aware of this and it haunts you for a while. Since you will probably never see a bed bug actually bite you, it stands to reason that you might be hyper aware of any skin sensations. People suffering from bed bug bites, might imagine they can feel every sensation because they are on guard psychologically.