Bed bugs are little pests that can easily sneak into the bed or any other furniture and bite you. They can even get into a rug or carpet. A person who has been bitten by a bed bug usually wakes up red and feeling itchy the next morning. They are tiny, oval shaped and flat. They depend on us humans to carry them from one place to another as they do not have the wings to do so. They are brownish red in color and can be anywhere from 1 millimeter to 7 millimeters in size. Bed bugs are active mostly at night and feed on the human or animal blood while they are asleep.
Unlike the other bugs they don’t transmit diseases. The biggest concern of their bite is that they cause skin infection due to excessive itching and scratching. These bugs feed on the blood and it is their source of nutrition as well. In order to become adult they have to feed on blood once. The female bugs need to feed on blood to produce eggs.
The size of bed bug depends on a few factors. They inject the anti-coagulant with their saliva when they feed on the blood. The anti-coagulant decides how a person will react to the bite. It also depends on the people’s sensitivities and the number of times a person has been bitten.
Where are bed bugs found?
In the recent years the bed bugs have become a big problem and have increased dramatically in number. They would mostly be found in areas with a lot of people in closed spaces. They usually hide at places where people sleep. Other places where they can be found are:
- Hotels and hospitals
- Shelters for the homeless
- Prisons and military barracks
- Dormitories of the college
- Commercial and residential areas
- Bed skirts, bed Frame and headboard of the bed
- Box springs, pillows and mattress
- crevices of furniture
- carpets and curtains
A lot of people do not experience the immediate after effects of the bug bite. Some do not experience a reaction at all. However, there are people who do go through the following symptoms:
- swelling and redness on the affected area, with a dark red center.
- blisters or hives
- bites usually take place on the part that has been exposed such as arms, hands, legs, feet, neck and face.
- The symptoms can take a long time before they start showing
- A sensation of burning and itchiness
- Urge to scratch which if not controlled can give more infections causing bleeding and swelling
- Red bumps and rashes on the area that has been affected
- Swelling and skin inflammations that look like blisters.
- Bite marks and anaphylactic response. The bite marks are in a typical pattern, unlike other bites which may be haphazard.
- Unexpected little blood spots on bed sheets
Getting rid of these bugs
To get rid of the bugs at home or in office you can take the help of pest control. If you try to solve this on your own chances are that you might get infected. The bugs can be found hiding in certain places for months. It is very important to have proper air and sunlight to keep the area free from pests.
Excessive scratching can cause a secondary infection further causing swelling and bleeding, especially among the Children, elderly, and people with weaker immune systems. People who are bed ridden are the most vulnerable. Anti-itching ointments, antihistamines and ice packs can be used to treat the itching and burning. Antiseptic creams and lotions can be used in case you get an infection.
Essential Oils like lavender, tea tree, coconut, mustard or neem oil have excellent properties that can cure any kind of bug or insect bite. These oils have traditionally been used to ease the discomforts associated with bed bugs like itching, redness and swelling. They can even heal the blisters. Other products such as the ones containing baking soda, hydrocortisone, colloidal oatmeal, pramoxine or lidocaine can also be used to treat the pain. Apart from antihistamines pain killers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be taken.
DEET: Best Bug Repellent
Some medical groups consider chemical DEET as a ‘gold standard’ with very rare cases of a health hazard that too because of its overuse. If used wisely and according to the directions, it is safe for adults. However babies who are a few months old need to be kept away from this chemical.
Does the bite call for an emergency care?
It is extremely rare but in case you have the following symptoms, you need immediate medical help:
- Problem in breathing
- Swollen lips, eyelids or throat
- Nausea, Dizziness, or confusion
- Increased heartbeat
- Too many hives
- Flu, cramps or vomiting