Those tiny, oval-shaped bugs that live under your mattresses, in your carpets, and around your belongings can cause big trouble. It is not always easy to confirm you have a bed bug infestation, but once you do, you need to proceed in a systemic way to clear that infestation. Something that often compels you to investigate more about the presence of bed bugs in your home is bed bug bites on your body. You do not usually feel pain when these bugs bite you, and that is mainly because they ingest an anesthetic compound in your body when feeding on your blood. Not only do you need to take care of bed bug infestation, you also need to take steps to treat bed bug bites.

Bed Bug Bites and Symptoms

In many cases, you do not experience the effect of bed bug bites immediately. The symptoms may appear in a few days after you are bitten. Another interesting fact is that bed bug can survive for days without eating, and that is the reason why they do not usually come out to feed every single night. This makes it even more difficult to realize that you actually have bed bugs and your bite marks are indeed bed bug bites.


You will develop intense itching along with some swelling around the bite site. If you are sure you have bed bug bites, do not panic. The good thing is that bed bugs are not like other biting bugs that transmit diseases. However, it does not mean you should do nothing to treat your bed bug bites. The reason is that excessive itching around the affected area may result it in constant scratching that can cause a skin infection. Moreover, symptoms can be more dramatic if you develop an allergic reaction – this may result in engorged bite marks and serious swelling at the bite site.

Treating Bed Bug Bites

You may or may not experience severe symptoms, depending on how your immune system responds to bed bug bites. If you experience any itching with swelling around the bite site, you can always try a number of ways and remedies to find some relief.  These bites usually have a varying incubation period, and sometimes can be as long as 10 days.  Check your bed and room for other signs of a bed bug infestation. If you have red bumps on your body but not signs of bed bugs in your room, talk to your doctor immediately to make a correct diagnosis. Follow your doctor’s advice to treat your condition properly. Here is more you can do to treat bed bug bites:

 Use Soap and Water to Wash the Bites

First of all, you should wash the affected area thoroughly. Use water with some mild soap to clean the area properly. Doing this lowers the chances of developing a skin infection. Simply wet the surface of your hand with soapy water and rub the affected area thoroughly. You can also use a bar of soap to make soapy lather – rub it over the bites until you cover the entire area.  The catch is to avoid rinsing the area – let it dry over the affected areas. This prevents infections and also offers instant relief from itching.

Try a Home Remedy for Itching

If you have developed severe itching, you can try home remedies to make things more manageable. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Mix water and soap and apply the paste directly on your bites. Be sure to make a thick paste before applying a coat to your affected areas. Only rinse it off after an hour or so.
  • Soak a cotton ball in lemon juice and apply it on the affected areas on your body. You can also use witch hazel in place of lemon juice.
  • Take some aloe Vera gel and apply it on the bed bug bites. Be sure to use pure aloe Vera gel to make use of its antifungal and antibacterial properties.

Read our How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites with Home Remedies for more info.

Get an OTC Steroidal Anti-Itch Cream

Home remedies are effective but they may not always work. You can save yourself from all the hassle by using a steroidal anti-itch cream instead. Look for a cream with cortisone or hydrocortisone – Cortaid is a good choice. You can also buy a 1% hydrocortisone cream to treat your itching. Be sure to check all the instructions mentioned on the package and use it accordingly to avoid any side effects. Do not use the cream for longer than a week and see your doctor if the problem persists.

Buy Calamine Lotion

Cortisone creams work well to relieve itching, but if you cannot find any or do not get desired results, try calamine lotion. The best thing about these lotions is that they are easily available and help to dry the rash. They are extremely beneficial against the itching and redness.

Try Oral Antihistamine

If you have indeed developed an allergic reaction due to bed bug bites, you may benefit from oral antihistamines. Benadryl is a popular choice in this case, but make sure to check the package and follow all the instructions for proper dosages. It is also a good idea to avoid driving after taking Benadryl because it can cause drowsiness.  OTC antihistamine creams are now also available to help treat your symptoms.

Take Pain Relievers

It is not unusual for people to experience pain after being bitten by bed bugs. If you are experiencing any discomfort, you can consider taking OTC anti-inflammatory analgesic oral medications, such as naproxen, ibuprofen, or aspirin. Ibuprofen is usually more effective for the treatment of inflammation and swelling. Aspirin works like an analgesic, but it also reduces fever. Ensure that you do not give aspirin to children and ask your doctor for advice.

Consult Your Doctor

Be sure to see your doctor if your bites do not clear up after trying home remedies and OTC medication. It is a good idea to see your doctor immediately if you have blisters, multiple bites, signs of skin infection, or hives. Whether you are trying home remedies or following your doctor’s advice, avoid scratching excessively because your fingernails can damage your skin and cause an infection.