Cutaneous reactions to bedbug bites can vary widely and are easily confused with other conditions (Table 1).15–19 A typical lesion is a 2- to 20-mm, pruritic, erythematous maculopapule with a central hemorrhagic crust or vesicle.5,8 Macules, papules, wheals (Figure 3), vesicles, bullae, and nodules have all been reported,20 as have asymptomatic lesions with a barely visible punctum as the only evidence of a bite.8 Bites vary in number and are preferentially distributed in unclothed areas (e.g., face, neck, extremities). Unlike many other arthropod and insect bites, bedbug bites are rarely located in the popliteal fossae or axillae.21 Lesions can be noticeable immediately when waking up or several days later, with the reaction often progressing from delayed to immediate with subsequent exposures22–26 (Table 2). The classic bedbug rash is referred to as “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” because it commonly presents as several bites in a row or cluster 20 (Figure 4).
Heat treatment: Heat of 120 F for two hours will kill bedbugs. Wash items in hot water (120 F or above). This may not be enough, though, so it's recommended that you place items in a clothes dryer on hot heat for at least 30 minutes. In a hot climate, you can bag items in a black plastic bag and leave them in direct sunlight for 24 hours. For travel or home use, there are portable heating units that can be used for clothing and luggage. A garment steamer can also be used on some items, such as luggage.
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.
My husband works for a garbage company (this is how we think the invasion started) and at the moment they are localized to our bedroom and our bathroom. However, the first place we found them was in our headboard & footboard. It is wood with an intricate carving. We checked the mattress and box spring and didn’t find a thing. But they LOVE that wood.
Some people have no reaction whatsoever to bed bugs. In addition to not having much of an effect on the elderly, some are just not allergic. Since the irritation and welting appears as the result of an allergic reaction, it is possible to not even know that you were bitten at all. It is entirely possible for several people to live in the same house, and have one person not be affected.
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.
After being treated by a dermatologist for nearly 2 mos for red marks all over my body – he stated that I did not have bed bug bites (he even took a biopsy of my skin) and said I had leichen planus. I took pills for 2 weeks and then began ultra violent light treatments – nothing was helping them go away. Finally, I called an exterminator to inspect my home only to find out we have bed bugs and the marks on my body are bed bug bites. I stopped going to the dermatologist and wasted 2 months precious time in getting rid of the bugs. They are driving me crazy – had my first extermination done (2 more needed) and still seeing the bugs and getting bit – can’t sleep a wink – any suggestions to help with the anxiety I’m going through would be greatly appreciated.
Individuals who experience repeated bites over time may have more pronounced symptoms. Some people may also develop scarring or a skin infection from intense scratching of the skin. Rarely, a more severe systemic allergic reaction to a bedbug bite may develop. Some individuals may develop insomnia and anxiety from serious or repeated bedbug infestations.
Around the time I started getting bites, I noticed more and more neighbors throwing out mattresses, furniture… I got suspicious. We live in apartments. I react differently to different kinds of bites so I can always tell the difference between mosquitoes and ants and such. I didn’t know what those bites were until I caught one of the little hellions crawling across the sheets.
Bed bugs are obligatory bloodsucking. They have mouth parts that saw through the skin, and inject saliva with anticoagulants and painkillers. Sensitivity of humans varies from extreme allergic reaction to no reaction at all (about 20%). The bite usually produces a swelling with no red spot, but when many bugs feed on a small area, reddish spots may appear after the swelling subsides. Bedbugs prefer exposed skin, preferably the face, neck, and arms of a sleeping person.
So I just moved into my new place everything brand new I noticed 2 bed bugs I had my house exterminated right away and everything is Double baged I still have to do laundry. But anywho I woke up this morning and got bit on my leg again. My bed isn’t againt the wall the legs to my bed have Lil plastic up with powder. My question is if I use DE will it ruin the 1st treatment I just got done in my home or is it okay…
To avoid getting bed bugs while traveling, make sure to inspect the mattress and sheets on the hotel beds, especially near the seams, mattress tags, and box spring. If you see any rusty stains, dark spots, or pale yellow patches, this could be a sign of bed bugs. Also, never put your suitcase on the bed itself or you could bring them home after your vacation. Most hotels provide a luggage rack, which is much wiser to use.
General housecleaning measures, (e.g. vacuuming floors and surfaces), seldom reach where bed bugs hide. For this reason, repetitive vacuuming by occupants may not be worth the effort, especially compared to other important preparatory activities. Targeted vacuuming of bed bugs and infested harborages, however, can help remove some of the bugs before other treatment measures are undertaken. Bed bugs and especially the eggs can be difficult to dislodge. Optimum results will be achieved by moving and scraping the end of the suction wand along infested areas such as seams and fabric folds of beds and sofas, and the perimeter edge of wall-to-wall carpet. Bed bugs can survive the high speed trip down a vacuum, so it’s important to carefully dispose of the vacuum contents in a sealed trash bag afterwards.
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…
I dont know if my post was received. I am using a phone its started acting weird and my comment was gone. My problem with bedbugs is so horrible I am trying again. I am 60 years old. I have never seen or even heard of someone having these creatures from hell.I am allergic to the bites. The red blotches quickly turned to deep red pus filled holes . Some arw very painful. I feel like my clothes have stickers in them. None of tje high priced insecticides for bedo bugs have did anything. I am actually losing it. I have used a lot of different chemicals because I am so terrible infected by their bite. I have not put a dent in the problem. I think I have poisoned myself. I have holed up in my bedroom embarassed of the bugs and the bjtes that cover my arms, legs back and toros. My son came by and I quickly rushed him outside. Completely puzzled he asked what’s is going on here ? I felt like the most horrible person. I just didnt want him to carry this curse home. I and in a hopess situation.
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.
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.
These things are the real vampires!!!! Just got bit over my eye, which now is all swollen and hurting, and 3 bites on my upper arm, caught the 2 little bugs on the wall next to my bed. Make sure that your bed is away from the walls. I use tea tree oil it helps to calm the itching down, I have a bad reaction to them. Not sure where the keep coming from and always in twos. Ahhhhhh!!!!!!! Can’t sleep
Known to be international travelers and expert hitchhikers, bed bugs are everywhere. As you travel, you increase your chances of being bit. However, knowing how to identify the bites and what your treatment options are will help you decide your next course of action. Learn more about where to look for bed bugs and how to avoid them with these great blogs:
About a week ago I woke up with bites on my legs starting at my ankle up to my thigh. They were sparse but could be counted as grouped or lined. I have no bites anywhere else and have not gotten anymore bites since this happened. My husband shares the bed and our two small children (3 years and 17 months) are frequent bed joiners and none of them have any bites. I sleep with pj pants on and under blankets so it wouldn’t be the most exposed skin that I have at night. However I have no recall of being bitten and had pants on during the day. The bites were itchy for about two days and then they are just red. I am wondering if they could be bed bugs. I am having trouble sleeping because of the uncertainty. I have pics I could post.
We suggest if you are wanting to use any type of pesticide that you should hire a professional. Bed bugs often hide in places where pesticides can’t reach and pesticides can be very harmful if not used properly. If you are still wanting to treat bed bugs yourself we suggest using food or animal grade Diatomaceous Earth instead. Diatomaceous Earth is non-toxic and will dry out the bed bugs. Also here is a link to our 8-step approach to getting rid of the bed bugs. Please let us know if you have any other questions.
Bed bug bites can look a lot like other insect bites. Some clues that can suggest the presence of bed bugs include finding red, itchy bites upon awakening - especially if the bites line up in a row on the skin. Bed bugs typically bite at night on exposed areas of skin, so the bites are most commonly found on the face, neck, hands and arms. Although some people develop a bite reaction immediately, others may take two to three days before a reaction becomes noticeable, and not all people have obvious bed bug bite symptoms. A bed bug bite can appear as a tiny puncture wound without a surrounding reaction, and can easily be missed. In fact, 30 percent of individuals living in bed bug-infested dwellings report a lack of bites or skin reactions. This appears to be more common amongst the elderly. On the other hand, other people have exuberant reactions, with large, red, raised and itchy welts. This is especially true if one becomes sensitized to bed bug bites, so that with repeated bites there is an increased risk of an exaggerated reaction to bed bug bites.
I can’t wear any of my rings because my fingers have gotten swollen and they hurt. My wrists have become somewhat painful as well. I get blood blisters that hurt like anything. Those are the worst. I’m living on benadryl and calamine lotion. The calamine seems to be helping to dry them out at least. My right hand is a disaster. Especially on the skin between thumb and forefinger. I look like I’m a leper or something.
Visit your doctor. You can also see a doctor for diagnosis if you do not find signs of bedbugs in your bed and cannot identify the source of the bites or rash. However, there is a very good chance that your physician will not be able to firmly diagnose that you have been bitten by a bedbug because the symptoms look so similar to those that result from other insect bites and skin conditions. Nevertheless, you may feel comforted by going to see your doctor, who can confirm for you that bedbugs pose little physical threat to humans.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Wash all the clothing that you brought home in a washing machine. Even clothes that you didn't wear must be washed in hot water. If you cannot wash something in a washing machine, you can either place it in a hot dryer or seal the items in a plastic garbage bag. If you seal items in a garbage bag, leave the bag securely closed in an extremely cold or hot place for a few months.