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DO BED BUG BITES ITCH AND HOW SHOULD THEY BE TREATED?

03/12/2015

Do bed bug bites itch? Not everyone reacts to a bed bug bite, but itching is one of the most common reactions for those who do. As with most insect bites that itch, it can be hard not to scratch where a bed bug has chomped down. But don’t scratch.

The following articles answer questions such as “Why do bed bug bites itch?”, “How do I treat them?” and “What should I do and not do if I’ve been bitten?”

BED BUG BITE BASICS

The Centers for Disease Control’s FAQ sheet on bed bugs explains that as it bites, a bed bug transfers both an anesthetic and an anticoagulant through a straw-like mouth that it uses to feed.

The anesthetic prevents the bite from immediately itching. The anticoagulant stops the blood from clotting at the site of the bite, ensuring your blood flows freely for a quicker feeding. When the anesthetic wears off, a bite may begin to itch as the body reacts to the saliva left behind.

Scratching a bed bug bite can cause a secondary skin infection and should be avoided if possible.

TREATING BED BUG BITES

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends a simple treatment plan for most bed bug bites:

‟Wash the bites with soap and water. This will help prevent a skin infection and help reduce itchiness. If the bites itch, apply a corticosteroid cream to the bites. You can get a weak form of this medicine without a prescription at your local drugstore. Stronger corticosteroids require a prescription.”

TREATING EXTREME CASES

If a person is hypersensitive to insect bites, or over-scratching causes an infection, the AAD recommends seeing a dermatologist to help treat the symptoms.

Some skin infections can be difficult to treat at home. Signs you should seek treatment include blistering, a lot of bites, bites that have pus or discharge, or welts that become hives.

So, do bed bug bites itch? Indeed, they can. Just try not to scratch them while you call Terminix®, and make sure the biting stops today.

 

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