BED BUG BITE post thumbnail image


Bed bugs are insects from the genus Climex they are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood. Their bites can result in a number of health impacts including skin rashes, psychological effects, and allergic symptoms. While they are a public health concern, bed bugs are not known to transmit infectious disease through their bites. Bed bugs use a small tube-like structure called a proboscis to pierce the skin and drink a person’s blood. Bed bug infestations are caused by two species of insects from genus CimexCimex lectularius (the common bed bug) and Cimex hemipterus (the tropical bed bug). These insects feed exclusively on blood and, at any stage of development, may survive up to 70 days without feeding.

Bed bugs can bite on any part of the body where there is skin and is exposed. Typically, bites tend to occur on exposed areas of the body, such as:

  • Neck
  • Face
  • Hands
  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Legs


Symptoms may take between a few minutes to days to appear and itchiness is generally present. Many people do not feel the bite itself or develop clear symptoms other than the dots where the bug bit and some minor, surrounding inflammation and irritation. Some other people are considered hypersensitive to bites and develop more severe symptoms. Almost all bed bug bites will produce some degree of discomfort, typically itchiness and inflammation. It is quite rare but some people have or develop severe reactions and severe symptoms from bed bug bites.

Some basic signs that a person has been bitten by bed bugs include the following:

  • Slight fever
  • Nauseating felling
  • Irritation, itchiness or sore
  • Burning painful sensation
  • Red itchy bump with a dark center and lighter swollen surrounding area
  • Small red bumps
  • Small red bumps surrounded by blisters
  • Small spots of blood from bites often dried or stained onto clothes or bed sheets
  • Swollen tongue

Living with bed bugs can cause additional health complications:

  • Increased likelihood of skin infection
  • Severe sleep deprivation
  • Decreased wellbeing
  • Lowered immune function
  • Anxiety and general body fatigue


One way to help prevent exposure and potential infestations by bed bugs is to be able to recognize bed bugs and distinguish them from other pests. Controlling bed bugs needs the identification and complete removal or destruction of the pest’s eggs. Another key measure is to stop bed bugs from entering, feeding and breeding in human environments. To prevent bringing home bed bugs, travelers are advised to take precautions after visiting an infested area. Additional preventative measures include sealing cracks and crevices (which are often the sites of bed bug harborages), inspecting furniture, and for exposed travelers to decontaminate clothes and luggage upon returning home.


Treatment of bedbug bites requires keeping the person from being repeatedly bitten. There are relatively few treatments options when it comes to uncomplicated bed bug bite. The first recommended line of treatment involves cleaning the wound, ideally with soap and water.

For itchy bites, the following measures  may relieve minor symptoms:

  • Use of hydrocortisone
  • Anti-itch creams
  • Antihistamines

If the symptoms worsen, seeking a doctor’s attention is the best option


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