Bedbug bite reactions are self-limited and typically resolve within one to two weeks without intervention.15 There is no evidence that any treatment alters the natural history of bedbug dermatitis.8 If pruritus is present, nonprescription topical antipruritic preparations containing the active ingredient doxepin, or intermediate potency corticosteroids may be beneficial. Mupirocin (Bactroban) and/or systemic antibiotics should be considered in the treatment of superinfected bites.8
Bed bugs are a growing problem in schools and daycares. Typically they are introduced by students or staff living with an infestation at home. Pinpointing where the bugs exist can be challenging in such environments since there are no beds or sleeping areas for the insects to congregate. (Similar challenges occur when bed bugs are found in offices, libraries and retail stores.) Usually only small numbers of bed bugs are spotted, often on a student’s clothing, backpack, chair or desk. While this does not necessarily confirm that the child’s residence also has bed bugs, the parents should be notified that the home should be inspected, preferably by a professional. Teachers, nurses, and staff should be educated about the bugs and what they look like. Bed bugs should also be considered if a student frequently has reddened itchy welts --but keep in mind such reactions can be for reasons other than bed bugs. 
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.
However, always remember that these simply treat the problem and do not get down to the root cause. You will still need to take steps to get rid of them! Here are a couple home remedies to get rid of bed bugs that have been extremely helpful to the community. I encourage you to take a look at that article if you are serious about removing them properly.
I spent the night at my boyfriends house 5 nights in a row, knowing that his family owns a couch infested with bed bugs. I find it weird that I’m the only one, out of 7 family members, that gets bit by the bed bugs! Its crazy! I get bit during the day when I sit for a few mins, or even sleep on the bed at night, but it still baffles me that I’m the only one who is suffering from the itch of the bites. My son who I share the bed with does not get bit at all, which is great, but I’m curious, “why only Me?”
The diagnosis of a bedbug bite can sometimes be difficult, as bedbug bites may appear similar to the bites of other insects. A health care professional will ask detailed questions and perform a physical exam, focusing on the skin. Other organ systems will also be examined to assess for any signs of an allergic reaction or for signs of infection. No blood tests or imaging studies will be necessary. If someone is able to bring in a specimen of the insect that may have bitten them, this can be helpful in making the diagnosis.
It was stated in 2012 that no truly effective insecticides were available.[6] Insecticides that have historically been found effective include pyrethroids, dichlorvos, and malathion.[4] Resistance to pesticides has increased significantly over time, and harm to health from their use is of concern.[3] The carbamate insecticide propoxur is highly toxic to bed bugs, but it has potential toxicity to children exposed to it, and the US Environmental Protection Agency has been reluctant to approve it for indoor use.[33] Boric acid, occasionally applied as a safe indoor insecticide, is not effective against bed bugs[34] because they do not groom.[35]
If you arrive home and discover that you have brought some unwanted guests home with you, immediately notify the hotel of your discovery. Having a possible infestation in hotels and motels can be a public relations nightmare for the owners. Politely ask them to pay for any and all costs incurred to rid your clothing and home of a possible new infestation.
Medical treatment is usually not needed for bedbug bites. If required, medical treatment is aimed at relieving the symptoms (like itching) caused by bedbug bites. In the rare cases of a systemic allergic reaction or a secondary skin infection, evaluation by a health care professional may be necessary. Individuals may also want to seek medical care if they are unsure of what is causing their skin lesions.

Most bites will have a small clear area in the center surrounded by redness that may or may not be raised. People tend to become more sensitive and have larger reactions after each episode. Reactions can include itch, swelling, rash and wheals (large round red area on the skin). Severe reactions can cause skin blisters and trouble breathing, although these reactions are very rare. 

I use witch hazel with aloe vera (from Thayers). Apply with Q-tip or cotton ball. WORKS VERY WELL for me, especially when applied soon after bite is detected. Found that if it stings a bit when applied, it is likely that bite was recent, and more likely to reduce the itch. If I apply soon after a bite, I feel a little sting from the astringent, and the itch if often eliminated (although not sure how large the bugs are that bit me).

Hi there! Honestly, if you have checked properly (like really well) and you don’t see any signs of bed bugs, it might be another insect. Unfortunately, there are so many little insects that could be biting you (such as fleas, etc.) but maybe start with giving all your laundry a good hot wash. Once that is done, see if you continue getting the bites and then we can investigate. Good luck, if you appreciated my help, please share my blog with your friends and family.
We had an exterminator check our mattress and he found old dried remains of a bed bug. Never had any bites. Sometimes I will get a small welt that itches for a few minutes then nothing. I have checked the bed ten thousand times and never saw anything. Please don’t say we have bed bugs. I’m losing my mind. Am a senior so if there’s anything I can use that’s household and low cost please let me know. Thank you.

The decline of bed bug populations in the 20th century is often credited to potent pesticides that had not previously been widely available.[44] Other contributing factors that are less frequently mentioned in news reports are increased public awareness and slum clearance programs that combined pesticide use with steam disinfection, relocation of slum dwellers to new housing, and in some cases also follow-up inspections for several months after relocated tenants moved into their new housing.[66]

Insect and spider bites and how to deal with them Insect and spider bites can occur almost unnoticed, or they can be painful. Either way, home treatment is usually enough for most symptoms. However, some bites can spread serious disease, such as Lyme disease and malaria. Find out how to protect against bites and what to do if someone has a severe reaction to a bite. Read now
After a few minutes of hot water therapy, use cool water on the bites. You may alternate hot and cool water several times until itching is minimal or gone. Finish with cool water and apply aloes to bites. You will have several hours of relief. My doctor told me the hot water releases the histamine in the skin glands and it tales several hours to refill the glands. About bee stings: I had a extreme reaction to one wasp sting several years ago. Last year I was attacked and suffered over 60+ bites on my face, neck and upper body. I raced into the house and jumped into to shower and opened the hot water full blast.
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.
Some of the dusts that are available to consumers, such as diatomaceous earth, can help in this regard. Pest controllers will put dusts in wall voids and other places where pesticide won't reach. What happens is the bugs will wander through the dust and pick up particles and be more vulnerable to desiccation after that exposure. But dusts will not solve the problem if deployed incorrectly, and if they are applied at too high a level they can cause breathing difficulties in some people.

One trick to make this disposal easier involves using the cut-off end of a nylon stocking (or a knee-high nylon stocking) and a rubber band. Insert the stocking (toe first) into the end of the vacuum suction wand/tube, leaving the opening of the stocking protruding out of the end of the suction wand. Then fold the stocking opening back over the end of the wand and use the rubber band to secure it there. When the vacuum is turned on and the bed bugs are sucked into the tube, they will be trapped in the stocking. Afterwards, carefully remove the rubber band and retrieve the bug-filled stocking. Then secure the end of the stocking with the rubber band and dispose of it. 

Hi, I am at a loss about what to do. I have been getting bitten day and night, but I don’t know if they are bedbugs. Whatever it is, seems to get under my clothes and bite me along the waist, bra line, posterior, and chest. They only itch when I first discover them, afterwards they don’t bother me…. But I am the only person in the house getting bitten! I washed and steamed everything and everyone! What else can I do?!
They will starve but not die off completely. That’s why you need to sweep, vacuum, and steam the floors daily. If bed bugs don’t feed on you then they can’t lay eggs. Eventually the numbers will diminish. They might even consider relocating. If you share an apt, it would speed up the process if your housemates do the same thing. It may take months to fully get rid of them but at least you won’t be their meal if you follow me bed proofing instructions.

Bed bugs are challenging to eradicate. Since they can hide in so many places, inspections must be thorough and elimination is not always a certainty. Whenever resources allow, it’s prudent to enlist the services of a professional. Experienced pest controllers know where to look for bed bugs, and have an assortment of tools at their disposal. Nonetheless, owners and occupants can assist the professional in several important ways. Affording access to all living areas is crucial, and excess clutter will need to be removed. Belongings strewn about rooms offer many places for the bugs to hide, and impede inspection and treatment. Since bed bugs can disperse throughout a building, it often will be necessary to inspect adjoining rooms and apartments as well. 
Its important to note that bed bugs can easily be transferred from other locations (such as hotels, friends, etc.) into your bedroom, something your definitely want to avoid! Its important to always check your skin, clothing and bags for any signs of bed bugs (and their bites) before entering your bedroom after sleeping away from the home. If you have been bitten a couple times, there is usually no urgent need for medical care. In fact, there are a number of effective home remedies that you can use to treat these insect bites. However, sometimes medical assistance is required. When is this the case and how can you identify when professional help is needed?

Luckily we were at the tail-end of our trip and once I arrived back home I immediately soaked in a hot-hot Epsom Salt bath. I used 3 cups of Epsom Salt, repeated that twice…and shazaam! The bites reduced in size and the itch was “almost” completely relieved. I had an extremely severe reaction going on and at one point considered going to a dermatologist or hospital to get some professional care.
However, low-level infestations are also much more challenging to find and correctly identify. Other insects, such as carpet beetles, can be easily mistaken for bed bugs. If you misidentify a bed bug infestation, it gives the bugs more time to spread to other areas of the house or hitchhike a ride to someone else's house to start a new infestation. Learn about identifying bed bugs.
Just an FYI – We steamed ALL of our leather reclining living rm furniture to get rid of bedbugs. In short only the single glider/recliner was saved. The large sofa and loveseat were “sacrificed” to the firepit “gods”!!! HA Ha ha!!! Really wasn’t funny AT ALL!!! Watching quite a bit of $$$ that was hard earned just goin’ up in flames. Hate them damned bugs!!! What their purpose I wonder???!!!

Bed bug bites can leave you with painful inflammation and since they love to hide in beds, you may be bitten a number of times before you wake up in the morning! If you have a severe allergic reaction, its recommended that you seek professional medical assistance as soon as possible. Besides medical creams and pills, things like tea tree oil, baking soda and even lemon juice can also give you relief at minimal cost. I highly recommend that you try these first as they work really well.
The first thing is you have to be able to recognize and distinguish a bed bug from any other insect. Everything starts to look like a bed bug if you start to worry about them. An adult bed bug is about the size and shape of an apple seed. If it has not fed recently it will be flattened and brown. If it has fed it will be round in circumference and reddish. Immature bed bugs have a similar appearance to adults, with the smallest being the size of the head of a pin. You can then learn to look for their fecal spots, which can be easier to detect than the bugs themselves. Check your hotel rooms when you travel. And think twice before bringing home used furniture. If you are purchasing used furniture, ask the furniture store how they deal with bed bugs. If they have no plan whatsoever, that's probably not a good sign. If you purchase used clothing, put it through a clothes dryer on a medium to high setting for a cycle as soon as you bring it home. And before you move into an apartment, ask the landlord whether there has been a bed bug infestation, or whether the building has ever been treated for bed bugs.
Hello there Trish from Reno we found bed bugs oh my gosh, I am am the only one who has been getting bit last yr on my feet this yr on my hands. My husband saturated our mattress with rubbing alcohol baseboards and I am washing everything tomorrow should we spray our entire you’re house too even our cloth furniture? What else should we do. Thanks you for this site. Sleepless in Reno…
The new plague has an old name: bed bugs. They’re in all 50 states, and can be found everywhere, from airports to motels to mansions. They feed silently in the dark, and leave behind a distinctive calling card: a cluster of itchy red bites. If you believe that you’re suffering a bed bug infestation, you’ll want to take action against the bugs right away, but while you’re fighting them, you may also want to treat the bites.
Hi Natasha !! I recently saw a bed bug crawling on my bed. So, I immediately cleaned all clothes in my room with hot water and put in high heat in the drier. I also sprayed the whole house with bed bug spray. Now on closer look of the mattress I found some bug remaining like its cover/shell, 2-3 blood stains but I did not find a colony/cluster of the bugs (which I was sort of expecting). So I bought a steamer and steamed my mattress and box spring. I also bought covers for the mattress and the box spring so that in case I missed any, they might get suffocated (at least I hope so). After all this, the next morning I woke up and found some sort of bite marks on my face. Also since I could not find any cluster of bugs, could they still be somewhere in my room ? where should I look for them ?
NO you cannot contract HIV from Bed bugs in fact as far as I know they haven’t been found to transmit ANYTHING they are just a nuisance and if your allergic to the bites its worse otherwise they are not dangerous. However there is always the danger from infection I mean the bites becoming infected if you don’t take care of them like any wound not HIV. And they are creepy but ultimately mosquitoes could be more dangerous if u there is west nile around or something.
In addition to the physical manifestations of bedbug bites, patients can experience significant psychological distress. The stigma that bedbugs are related to poor hygiene (however inaccurate) can lead to poor self-esteem, avoidance of family and friends, and suspension from work.37–39 Management of an infestation can be stressful, costly, and disruptive to everyday life. Worry can lead to insomnia, depression, anxiety, and even delusional parasitosis.37
Bed bugs are active mainly at night. During the daytime, they prefer to hide close to where people sleep. Their flattened bodies enable them to fit into tiny crevices--especially those associated with mattresses, box springs, bed frames and headboards. Bed bugs do not have nests like ants or bees, but do tend to congregate in habitual hiding places. Characteristically, these areas are marked by dark spotting and staining, which is the dried excrement of the bugs. Also present will be hatched and un-hatched eggs, the tannish shed skins of maturing nymphs, and the bugs themselves. Another possible sign are rusty or reddish smears on bed sheets or mattresses from crushed engorged bed bugs. Although it’s often stated that bed bugs have a telltale “buggy” odor, the smell is seldom evident except in extreme infestations and should not be relied upon for detection.
This pair of bed bug bite photos below show the immediate (left) and next day (right) reaction after feeding a colony of bedbugs from a container in the lab. (That's why they are contained in a small circular area).  The hive-like immediate symptoms are replace by dark red rash type reaction the following day with inflammation and less severe redness radiating out to a larger area.  
A variety of low-odor sprays, dusts, and aerosol insecticides help with bed bug control. People must apply these pesticides to all areas where the bugs are observed as well as hiding places or spaces where they may crawl. The pest control company can help you determine if an infested mattress can be disinfected or must be discarded. Since beds cannot readily be treated with insecticides, it's often necessary to discard infested mattresses and beds.
Dusts have been used to ward off insects from grain storage for centuries, including plant ash, lime, dolomite, certain types of soil, and diatomaceous earth or Kieselguhr.[60] Of these, diatomaceous earth in particular has seen a revival as a nontoxic (when in amorphous form) residual pesticide for bed bug abatement. While diatomaceous earth performed poorly, silica gel may be effective.[61][62]

First and foremost I think the wisest course of action to take is to get rid of your bed. the whole shebang…the mattress and box spring and all your linens, blankets, pillows and articles of clothing you use to lay in bed with (robes, pajamas and underwear). It’s just not worth it. Get a temporary air mattress for a few weeks if need be. You will be better off in the long run.
The diagnosis of a bedbug infestation should be based on the clinical history and appearance of bites. A thorough inspection of sleeping quarters by the patient, a family member, or a pest control expert may demonstrate the telltale signs of an infestation15 (i.e., specks of blood-tinged insect feces and exoskeleton casts [Figure 5]). With the aid of a magnifying glass, special attention should be given to cracks and crevices of furniture, baseboards, electrical boxes, curtains, carpet, luggage, bed frames and headboards, picture frames, wall hangings, mattress and box spring seams, peeling wall paper, clothes, and linens.37 Live bedbugs can sometimes be caught by turning on a flashlight just before dawn, when bedbugs are most active, larger in appearance, and slower to scatter because of recent feeding.40
Bed bugs are an increasing cause for litigation.[69] Courts have, in some cases, exacted large punitive damage judgments on some hotels.[70][71][72] Many of New York City's Upper East Side home owners have been afflicted, but they tend to be silent publicly in order not to ruin their property values and be seen as suffering a blight typically associated with the lower classes.[73]
I had bed bugs last June (I live in Chicago and apparently bed bugs are a huge problem here). I’m dreading going through the whole process of exterminating them again. Do you know of any other kind of bugs that bite during the end of winter? Could these bed bugs be from last year? Maybe it’s a new infestation?? I’m going crazy over here! I don’t know what to do
According to textile experts (Drycleaning & Laundry Institute, Laurel, MD), most garments designated as ‘dry-clean only’ (e.g., cotton, wool, silk, linen, rayon, nylon) will not be harmed provided they are dry before being placed in a clothes dryer at a moderate temperature setting. Dry cleaning procedures also kill bed bugs, but there is a risk of infesting the establishment when buggy items are tagged and sorted. 
I am 60 .My only knowledge of bed bugs had been tbe old tune don’t let the bed bugs bite. I am having a serious reactionn to their bite . I have red blotches which turned into deep red pus filled holes . I am embarassed about going to the doctor. The bites are painful. I have them just about everywhere. I did just a bout everything . The purchase of high priced bed bug insecticides did nothing except poison me. I was bitten while treating a second time. These pests are horrible . They feel like stickers in my clothing. I am losing my mind. I stay in my room letting no one in. I dont want to spread these creatures to anyone. I do not kniw what to.do . I am becoming sick physically. How can I heat my home to the temputure required to kill them? Does anyone know about the product Bed Bug Barrier? They are not that much but it didnt say how many would be needed
Most bites will have a small clear area in the center surrounded by redness that may or may not be raised. People tend to become more sensitive and have larger reactions after each episode. Reactions can include itch, swelling, rash and wheals (large round red area on the skin). Severe reactions can cause skin blisters and trouble breathing, although these reactions are very rare. 

Firstly, its important to remember that, despite their daily diet of blood, bed bugs will not transfer blood based diseases (such as AIDS, etc.). However, in very rare cases, these bites have been known to cause Anaphylaxis, which is an adverse allergic reaction that covers the entire body in a rash. After being bitten by a bed bug, be alert for any of these potential complications:


I don’t get to see our kids; I can’t protect them from the little monsters; my own body is being eaten alive; the constant itching and scratching is embarrassing, as is the fact that I have bites and scars in visible places, and that my blood no longer clots properly, so if I get a paper cut, I’ll be bleeding a good half hour; we’ve sprayed, washed, dried and the bites keep coming; I’ve used prescription strength cortisode cream, Benadryl (which makes me tired and stupid at work), Zyrtec, Aveeno shower soap and even used my DOGS anti-itch shampoo. And I an still itching till they bleed, scarring, and finding new ones every day. I just…a part of me has totally lost hope that there will EVER be an escape and I’m so depressed I just want to go to sleep and not wake up
These bloodsuckers love exposed areas of flesh such as closest to their nest such as the face, forehead, arms and known to attack babies.. Those repeatedly bitten over time are more likely to become sensitive. You may even find the person sleeping next to you does not show any signs of bed bug bites while you do. In fact, the person next to you may not have been bitten at all – a good sign that the infestation is closest to you.

Im staying with these people in another town going to school I am mid fifties, I always bring home like these brown bag like “dinners” my room got infested with ants and I cleaned it up, ever since then i have developed these very sore 1/4 in bumps on back near my right armpit its also very major on the back of my upper arm, it dose not itch but is sore, What the heck is it! Should I be concerned,Will it go away!Should I get some benedryl?My friend said it will go away in five days or so,Any suggestions?


Some friends brought me a gift, bed bugs. After some research I discovered cedar oil. I have been using it as a repellent. I spray around my mattress at night and it seems to keep the bugs at bay. It is harmless to me and my pets and I can even use it on them to repel fleas. Has anyone else tried it? It works on the same principle as a cedar chest is used to keep bugs away from your valuable clothing or bedding items. It does have a cedar odor which I find mildly enjoyable.

Since bed bugs can be found throughout the world, many people have suffered from their bites. Since you are reading this, you have also most likely been a victim but don’t worry, you are not alone. Their primary diet is blood, which makes humans their meal of choice, definitely not good news for us! Based on personal experience, they can leave a rather nasty, red mark which can itch like mad. No wonder people say “Goodnight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!” What do these bites look like (and what to do if you are bitten) and what are some ways that you can get rid of them?
Scabies is very common in shelters. Permethrin. Cream applied head to toe then wages off in the shower the next morning should clear it up. Also ALL bedding must be washed in hot borax and ammonia water the best day. All surfaces must be wipe down with 50% water and 50% rubbing alcohol. Thorough vacuuming of the bedroom washing curtains and miniblinda. All clothes must be washed in hot water. Good luck

Although treating bedbug bites isn't difficult, actually getting rid of the bedbugs is another story. A professional exterminator can help. You will need to discard infested mattresses, box springs, and pillows. You can heat treat or cold treat items such as clothing by laundering or freezing. However, the room itself will need to be treated to eliminate bedbugs that can live in cracks in walls, floors, and furniture.
Avoiding bed bugs is most challenging in hotels, apartment buildings, and other places where there are many people, high turnover and ongoing opportunities for introduction of the pests. Periodic, preventive inspection by tenants, housekeeping/maintenance staff, or pest control firms is the best way to detect infestations in their initial stages when they are easiest to control. Visual inspections can be supplemented by using various monitoring devices to capture and reveal bed bugs that may have been overlooked by occupants.   
If I go to an infested apartment, then when I leave I check my shoes very carefully for bugs that may have crawled onto them. I also keep a change of clothes in my garage and put them on before entering my house. Once inside, I immediately put the clothes I wore to the infested apartment in the dryer, which is located in a room just off the garage.

I can definitely understand. This is has been going on with us for almost a year. My hands and arms look like I have leprocy or something. Horrible blisters, rash, scabs, and bunches of “bumps” especially in my right hand. I wind up with painful blood blisters some times. I am living on benedryl and calamine lotion. I hate going out because of what I look like. I have taken to using cover up and foundation on my hands to make the mess less noticable. i have a long-sleeved summer weight sweater that I wear whenever I do have to go out.


This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP. Contact afpserv@aafp.org for copyright questions and/or permission requests.
Caregivers, firefighters, and other service providers are sometimes required to enter and work in bed bug-infested dwellings. In doing so, there is the potential to transport some bugs home or to the workplace. It should be noted that bed bugs do not fly, nor jump onto people/pets as fleas do. During the day, bed bugs usually remain hidden and immobile, becoming more active at night when seeking a host. Consequently, the chance of picking up bed bugs by merely walking into an infested dwelling during the day is unlikely. The risk may increase while providing care but can be lessened by taking some precautions. 
recently i have gotten an infestation of bed bugs.. i noticed it not long after i got an exterminator to come spray for ants and other outside bugs.. after he sprayed i noticed an increase of spiders(especially black widows) and a lot more bugs coming inside.. i have a fairly new home(5yrs old) and i shouldn’t have this problem… make sure you get a real professional company to come and do the work. ask what they are spraying/laying down, and what they are treating for and research it to be sure.. i think my house was baited rather than treated

Bed bug incidents in schools are best handled by knowledgeable pest control firms. Widespread insecticide treatment of classrooms, hallways, buses, etc. is unnecessary, ineffective and imprudent. Effort instead should be spent checking chairs, desks, lockers, coat rooms, etc. in the vicinity of where the bugs were found, and treatment should be focused on those specific areas. Canine inspections can also be useful in finding small numbers of bed bugs in schools and other establishments where there are no beds.      


Hey there! So I recently stayed in a condo through a timeshare. After two nights of staying there I woke up with about 30 bites all over my boxy (head to toe) throughout the day more and more bites appeared. They have began to itch very, very badly and are now beginning to blister. I did go to a nearby lake as well so it could possibly be something from the lake. I went to two separate physicians and neither one of them could diagnose the bites as anything. I am no longer there to inspect the bedding and furniture, unfortunately. Although I didn’t not see any blood spots, egg shells or any of that matter on the bed sheets. Do you think the bites could be from bed bugs?
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.
×