A common concern with bed bugs is whether or not they transmit diseases. Although bed bugs can harbor various pathogens, transmission to humans has not been proven and is considered unlikely. Their medical significance is most commonly attributed to itching and inflammation from their bites. Antihistamines and corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce allergic reactions, and antiseptic or antibiotic ointments to prevent infection. Though not known to carry diseases, bed bugs can substantially reduce quality of life by causing discomfort, sleeplessness, anxiety, and embarrassment. According to some health experts, the added stress from living with bed bugs can have a significant impact on the emotional health and well-being of certain individuals. 
Some pest control firms utilize specialized heating equipment to de-infest furnishings, rooms, and entire dwellings. The procedure involves heating up the infested item or area to temperatures lethal to bed bugs. Portable heaters and fans are used to gradually heat the air to about 120 - 130°F while monitoring with strategically placed sensors. By carefully controlling the temperature, bugs and eggs are killed wherever they may be without damaging household items. 
To treat an allergic reaction, the doctor may prescribe an antihistamine, corticosteroid, or epinephrine injection. If the area is infected, he or she might prescribe an antibiotic or recommend an over-the-counter antiseptic. Finally, if it’s severe itchiness that you’re dealing with, applying corticosteroid or taking an antihistamine in pill or liquid form may be able to help.

just got back from two weekends of traveling to two diff locations. noticed a slight rash yesterday on the side of my ribs and a couple smaller itchy spots on one side of my stomach, etc. i don’t think it was from the first weekend of travelling as my bed companion didn’t get anything. the second weekend was at a college campus, but i had wiped the bed down before putting sheets and a sleeping bag over it. got back home sunday and noticed the itch yesterday (tuesday). so now i’m freaking out and assuming the worst scenarios. i’ve washed and dried all my clothes (though i did leave my suitcase out for two days before i even realized the itch), my sheets, and used a handheld steamer on my mattress, clorox / lysol the edge of my bed and the wooden frame, vacuumed all open areas on my wooden floor, etc. not sure if i should go to urgent care or what, but i’ve so far used hydrocortisone (previously already prescribed). can you please help or can i send you photos since you’re more familiar with this? never happened to be at home before all 20 something years so now i’m terrified i brought something back with me!

All my life i’ve been allergic to basically everything i thought it was a normal allergic reaction…when i went to the doctors she told me it looks like a random bug bite not a bed bug bite but i didn’t believe her she sent me home with some cream and steroids for the swolleness…but why i think most doctors lie to u idk because i google’d the cream she gave me it was for scabies {so that means i got bit by a begbug and didn’t even know} not even a doctor knows half of the times what are things…thank god i read up and treated my self for bedbugs!


i found some thing that works i put a heavy blanket against the couch and then use itching cream called gold bond medicated cream use the maximum kind use it on every part u have been bitten do this for a while u will start to see a change the bites will start to go away slowly until they r all gone also make sure to wash where ever you have been bitten in cold water and use a lot of soap wash them good then use the medicated cream just some tips i have bed bugs and i have been bitten and it sucks it itches bad but i have found that this works!
The bites usually last about 7 days, even if they are treated correctly. However, if you have sensitive skin like myself, they can last a couple weeks or in my husbands case, they last only a few days. As mentioned, if you scratch the bites its going to make things worse and besides running the risk of a bacterial infection, they will also take longer to heal so keep your nails away from them!
"In the past, bedbugs have repeatedly shown the ability to develop resistance to products overly relied upon for their control. The findings of the current study also show similar trends in regard to chlorfenapyr and bifenthrin resistance development in bedbugs," study researcher Ameya Gondhalekar, research assistant professor at Purdue's Center for Urban and Industrial Pest Management, said in the Entomology Today statement. "With these findings in mind and from an insecticide resistance management perspective, both bifenthrin and chlorfenapyr should be integrated with other methods used for bed bug elimination in order to preserve their efficacy in the long term."
Our place is pretty cluttered so I was freaking out. Luckily we have hardwood floors and not carpet. We tried different things. It gets really hot here, so I loaded up any nearby sheets, pillows, comforters, clothes, etc into trash bags and tied them off so nothing could get out. I put those in the car so the sun could beat heat into them all day. Never thought I’d be so thankful for Texas summers… Still got bites. We bought a mattress cover. Still got bites. We thought, okay, maybe they’re coming from the wall socket from a neighbors or something. We couldn’t close it so we kept the bed away from furniture and walls and put sticky traps on the legs. Caught NO bed bugs but STILL GOT BITES. I was losing my mind.
No two people react to bites in the same way, although some reactions are similar. Because of the saliva that they leave behind, the first reaction is usually severe itching and irritation. This is often followed by a raised appearance on the contacted area. Some people, however, react by having welts and hives all over the body. Still others will have small, pinkish bumps that are concentrated in one area.
Bed bugs infestations can be treated by pesticides (make sure it specifically treats for bed bugs) or call a professional. Clean laundry and bedding by washing in hot water and drying with high heat. Steam cleaning can be effective, but be sure to check for bugs in a week or two. Concentrate in the areas they like to hide such as the seams. Bed bugs are sensitive to heat, so putting your mattress in a tight plastic bag and leaving it in the heat for several days can kill adults and the eggs. Vacuum your mattress and the areas around it. Be sure to immediately empty the vacuum cleaner and throw it out. If your mattress is infested, you may also consider getting a new mattress, but be sure to take care of the rest of your home so that your new mattress doesn’t get infested.

I don’t think my infestation is very extreme RIGHT NOW. i know for a fact they aren’t in or on the mattresses so that only leaves the crevices along the sides of the carpet. i got on my hands and knees to look but i still didn’t see anything. I KNOW THEY’RE THERE, WE HAVE THE BITE MARKS TO PROVE IT!!!!!! the little blood suckers are excellent at hiding.
If you know that you have the bugs. Get sealing covers the kind that encloses completely, one for the mattress and one for the box spring. That will trap those critters inside and they will eventually die in there. Next you will need to decide of what combination of treatments you wish to use. Its a job that you will have to keep up with for some time. Do your research online first.
My husband and I recently stayed at a Scottish Inn, off I-75 in Florida, on our way back from NJ. We needed a room on the first floor. The only thing they had was a $32.00 room + tax. Since we were tired from driving, we took it. During the night, I woke up and I felt like something had bitten me. When we got up to get ready to leave, I noticed both my arms, left leg, one on my face, left ear and one bite on my neck had been bitten. I immediately took a hot bath, but I still can’t stop itching. I’ve never had bed bug bites before so I visited this site. I definitely will be trying the baking soda and water mix. My husband has two bites on his arm, but they’re not as bad as mine. He thinks he received them at the prior motel we stayed at.
If, after everything is thoroughly taken apart and cleaned, you still have an infestation, other measures may need to be taken. If you have an infestation of bats, you may also have a serious infestation of “bat bugs” which are very similar to the common variety. Often, the infestation is not as strong as those caused by their cousins as they are more apt to wander and relocate.
Great stuff to use. My former girlfriend gave me a parting gift of bedbugs she got while staying at her parents house. She was good enough to leave me some cortisone though which I needed for the first time this morning. I had being seeing bedbugs and routinely treating them for about 2 months and I had laid diatomaceaous earth around my bed and didn’t have any itching or real issues. The layer had been wearing thin and I was too lazy to respreads. Last night I slept in the nude and woke up with the worst itching and now a rash all over my body. I had been seeing bedbugs and killing them for a month or two on and off and thought what’s the big deal. Now if know!!! This is the worst case of itching I’ve ever experienced!! Luckily I have the cortisone but it’s not helping too much. I’m blasting off a bed bug bomb my brother gave me 2 months ago that I never used and respreading the diamo earth. I checked my mattress and found literally only 2 bugs a very small nymph and an adult but they must be somewhere else because my body is covered in a rash. Maybe I finally reacted to bites I had been getting in the past or more are hiding elsewhere but I’m going to rid myself of these pests. Wish I could rid the world of them!!! This itching is the worst!!

Fumigation using a penetrating gas is another way to de-infest dwellings or furnishings, but the procedure is only offered by certain companies. True fumigation is not the same as setting off a total release fogger or ‘bug bomb.’ (It should be noted that bug bombs are considered ineffective in the treatment of bed bugs, and can be quite dangerous if misused.) The fumigation process is technically complex and requires vacating the building for a period of days. The building is then sealed and injected with a lethal gas, usually sulfuryl fluoride. Because the entire building must be vacated, structural fumigation is logistically more challenging with multi-unit buildings such as apartments, than for single family homes. Bed bug fumigations tend to be more common in southern and western states, where the procedure is also used to control certain types of wood-dwelling termites.  


Treatment is symptomatic.[2] Eliminating bed bugs from the home is often difficult.[2] Part of this is because bed bugs can live for a year between feeding.[2] Repeated treatments of a home may be required.[2] These treatments may include heating the room to 50 °C (122 °F) for more than 90 minutes, frequent vacuuming, washing clothing at high temperatures, and the use of various pesticides.[2]

The only way to stop getting bedbug bites is to eradicate them, but it will be difficult and time-consuming. You can try to address the problem yourself, but It is best to enlist a professional pest control service that can use nonchemical and chemical measures. If you are renting, notify your landlord as other units should be inspected and the landlord may be required to assist in the eradication.
Conventional insect repellents, like those used to deter ticks and mosquitoes, do not appear to be as effective against bed bugs. Therefore, attempting to avoid being bitten by applying insect repellent at bedtime is not recommended. Sleeping with the lights on is also not likely to deter hungry bed bugs, as they will adjust their feeding cycle to the host’s sleeping patterns. 
Mechanical approaches, such as vacuuming up the insects and heat-treating or wrapping mattresses, are effective.[3][6] An hour at a temperature of 45 °C (113 °F) or over, or two hours at less than −17 °C (1 °F) kills them.[6] This may include a domestic clothes drier for fabric or a commercial steamer. Bed bugs and their eggs will die on contact when exposed to surface temperatures above 180 degrees and a steamer can reach well above 230 degrees.[31][15] A study found 100% mortality rates for bed bugs exposed to temperatures greater than 50 °C (122 °F) for more than 2 minutes. The study recommended maintaining temperatures of above 48 °C for more than 20 min to effectively kill all life stages of bed bugs, and because in practice treatment times of 6 to 8 hours are used to account for cracks and indoor clutter.[32] This method is expensive and has caused fires.[6][15] Starving them is not effective as they can survive without eating for 100 to 300 days, depending on temperature.[6] One expert recommends not trying to get rid of bed bugs exclusively on one's own.[29]
Many chemical pesticides are available, with more than 300 registered by the EPA. Pesticides should be applied to walls, floors, cracks in furniture, and seams and buttons of mattresses.21 The EPA’s Bed Bug Products search tool (Web site: http://cfpub.epa.gov/oppref/bedbug/) allows users to search by product name, company, EPA registration number, location of intended use, and pesticide type. The National Pesticide Information Center (Web site: http://npic.orst.edu/; telephone: 800-858-7378) is another useful resource. Silica gel dusts are a safer alternative to traditional pesticides, because they are less concentrated and less toxic.21 Plastic mattress and pillow encasements can help trap bedbugs and restrict spread.42 Regardless of the integrated pest management strategy used, a follow-up inspection 10 to 21 days after extermination is advised to detect and manage a persistent infestation.42
I am apparently allergic to these things. My bites swell to huge sizes and I get red marks running up my arms and it itches like crazy, almost like a burning itch. However, doing some research I found an effective way to stop the itch. Its not for everyone, but for someone like me who can’t even touch the shells (my fingers have gotten swollen searching for the damn things), this works for me. Again, not for everyone:
For those concerned about bedbug infestations in hotels, an important tip is that you can inspect any hotel room for the presence of the telltale signs of bedbugs. It is important to check the mattress and headboard, and luggage racks. In hotels, keeping your suitcase away from the bed and on a luggage rack can help prevent bedbugs from infesting your luggage. When you return home, inspect your luggage and put clothes immediately into the washer. While washing clothes in hot water does not kill bedbugs, drying clothes at a high temperature can eliminate them.

I recently flew on Airtran Airways, First trip I went well. flying back I had a 30 minute layover in ATL (not enough time to sit down). By the time I got home I was covered in bites from the back of my thighs to my neck. I counted over 100 bites! We have got a serious problem here. these bugs are on planes. I knew nothing about these bugs. Thank you for your stories and remedies. I won’t think twice next time they ask me if I want to upgrade to first class.
Your replies to these questions are great! I have a question for you. I’ve recently returned home after spending a week in a hotel and the day after I returned I noticed 4 red dots which could be bites on my waist line. They don’t itch or hurt but I’ve never had anything like this before. I can send you a picture if you tell me how. I’m worried that they may be bed bug bites.
Just because you can't see bed bugs, does not mean that they are not still there. Bed bugs are rarely seen in the day, out in the open or on the surface of beds or chairs. They have been described as champions of hide-and-seek. So, it is not uncommon to miss the bed bugs altogether. Bed bugs love to hide in the cracks and crevices associated with mattresses, cushions, bed frames and other structures, which is why it is very important to look for telltale symptoms of bed bugs and signs of an infestation, such as shed skins and specks of blood or feces on linens, furniture, mattresses and other areas where the bugs might be hiding.

Items that cannot be placed in a washer or dryer can sometimes be de-infested by wrapping them in plastic and placing them outdoors in a hot, sunny location for at least a day (for example, on pavement or in a closed vehicle parked in the sun). Packing items loosely in garbage bags and elevating objects off the ground helps the heat permeate further, and will make it harder for bugs to find a cool place to hide. Monitoring with a thermometer is prudent to ensure that a temperature of at least 120°F is achieved wherever the bugs may be. 
Bed bugs usually bite people at night while they are sleeping. Hungry bed bugs may also feed during the daytime, especially if this is when the occupant normally sleeps. They feed by piercing the skin with an elongated beak through which they withdraw blood. Engorgement of the bed bug takes roughly three to 10 minutes, but because the bite is painless, the person seldom realizes they are being bitten. Bed bugs normally do not reside on people like head or body lice do; instead, immediately after feeding, bed bugs crawl to a secluded location to digest their meal. Symptoms after being bitten by bed bugs vary from person to person. Many develop an itchy red welt within a day or so of the bite. Others have little or no reaction. Sometimes the reaction is delayed days or even weeks after the actual bite occurs, which can make it difficult to determine where or when bites actually occurred. Studies conducted in bed bug-infested apartments suggest about 30 percent of people do not react even when bitten repeatedly over time, and there is still higher incidence of non-reactivity among the elderly. Unlike flea bites, which occur mainly around the lower legs and ankles, bed bugs feed on any skin exposed while sleeping (face, neck, shoulders, back, arms, legs, etc.). The welts and itching are often wrongly attributed to other causes, such as mosquitoes. For these reasons, infestations may go a long time unnoticed, and can become quite large before being detected. 

Each of the following pictures of bed bug bites shows typical skin reactions to the insect's saliva. Most people  are not hypersensitive to the bites and will show no reaction at all with the exception of two small dots where the bedbug punctured the skin. Other people can develop red papular eruptions (raised inflamed areas) or in severe cases, blisters.
You can identify a bedbug infestation by checking bedding, mattress seams, furniture, and wall fixtures for the bugs or their traces. Each bedbug is about the size of an apple seed, about 1/4 inch long. You will often see their droppings instead, which are tiny brown or red specks. You may also see small blood stains on sheets or mattresses when a bedbug has been crushed after feeding. Eggs about the same size as the adults might be seen in seams or cracks and you will also see their molted exoskeletons.
My bites from two weeks ago are still rough. I have used the window cleaner, cortisone and then for the open areas , antibiotic ointment. I slept in my bed last night with no problem. I will spray again and again and again in the event of new generations. They don’t sell Phantom in my area. That is supposed to kill 95% of the eggs. Wish I could find some. These little bastards are something else. Good Luck to all.
Hey Ruth! If there are absolutely no signs of bed bugs (upon close inspection), its unlikely that they are the cause for the bite marks. I recommend taking another look for dark brown marks (dried blood) and other signs of their presence. Regardless, if you want to kill any bug on that mattress, just get a handheld steamer and blast it. The heat will kill everything and its completely natural. Hope that helps!
The bites usually last about 7 days, even if they are treated correctly. However, if you have sensitive skin like myself, they can last a couple weeks or in my husbands case, they last only a few days. As mentioned, if you scratch the bites its going to make things worse and besides running the risk of a bacterial infection, they will also take longer to heal so keep your nails away from them!
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
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