Do you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night because of irritation of the skin or maybe an insect bite? If so, the chances are that your home is infested with bed bugs.
These creatures tend to leave behind marks that resemble an insect bite. They feed on your blood when you are not-so-soundly sleeping. They deprive you of the one thing you need the most – peace when you sleep.
The question arises, can you get allergic reactions to bug bites? Yes, you can.
Allergic Reaction or Bug Bites
If you get an allergic reaction, you might notice big red bite marks on your skin. The difference between those who have an allergic reaction and those who don’t is the intensity of the itching. If you are not allergic to bed bugs, the itching will be mild.
However, if you are, it will become unbearable to the point that you might develop swelling and blisters. In extreme cases, it may also lead to breathing troubles.
One problem of getting an allergic reaction to bug bites is how easily it can be misdiagnosed. Usually, the symptoms lead to a diagnosis of a horsefly bite or a flea.
One thing that is advised if you have this allergic reaction is that you don’t scratch it. Scratching may lead to you developing a skin infection, which is a mess on its own.
Bed Bug Allergy Symptoms
If you are allergic to their bites, you are bound to experience the following symptoms:
- Redness of the skin, which may feel itchy at times.
- Swelling and development of hives.
- A burning sensation on the skin.
- Trouble breathing in extreme cases.
No Signs of Bed Bugs, But I Have Bites
If you are not experiencing any symptom mentioned above but have bites on your skin, the chances are that the bite might be from another insect. Hence, it is important to be able to differentiate between the different types of bites.
Bed Bug Bites vs Flea Bites vs Mosquito Bites
Flea bites tend to look like a group of dots compared to bed bug bites that appear as swollen and hard bites. While flea bites might look random, a bed bug is known to bite linearly. Also, flea bites are concentrated on the legs and ankles, while a bed bug strikes anywhere.
Like flea bites, mosquito bites also occur at random places and do not follow a linear row. Since mosquitos don’t bite through clothing, only exposed places are targeted as compared to bed bugs that crawl under your clothes.
How Long Do Bed Bug Bites Last?
If you don’t get a severe allergic reaction to bed bugs, they are likely to last for about one or two weeks. However, if your skin is sensitive and has a harsh reaction, the bites might last for more than three weeks.
What Attracts Bed Bugs to Bite You?
Bed bugs are attracted to three things: blood, carbon dioxide, and warm temperatures. Sadly, a human has all of these things. Humans are warm-blooded creatures with blood pumping through the veins and carbon dioxide being exhaled out of the lungs. You can see how humans are the perfect targets.
Home Remedies to Stop Bites from Itching
The question arises if your house is infested, is there nothing you can do to stop these tiny pests? The good news is that there are multiple home remedies available that allow you to wage war against bed bug bites.
1. Use Soap and Water
It doesn’t matter how strong or how mild your reaction is. If you see any bed bug bites on your skin, the first thing you should do is wash the affected area with soap and water.
Try to use mild soap. A strong soap is equipped with harsh chemicals, which can further aggravate the problem rather than solve it. Hence, the first thing you need to make sure is that the soap you use does not have any strong chemical. Check the ingredient list to be sure of your choice.
After you have found the right soap, the actual combat process has to begin. You must use the soap and create as much lather as possible. Rub the affected area with the soap until such a lather is formed. Once the soap dries off and stops producing lather, wash it with water and dry your skin.
2. Baking Soda
Another item that is easily found in homes and works well on bug bites is baking soda. The chemical name of this product is sodium bicarbonate. Since it is an alkali, the product works by neutralizing the chemicals produced by a bed bug bite, which are known to be acidic.
Additionally, baking soda is an anti-inflammatory product. Since bed bugs are known to cause swelling, this property of the product plays a role in reducing the occurrence of both swelling and redness.
In order to use baking soda on the affected area, begin by mixing one teaspoon of the product in 3 teaspoons of water. Then, apply it to the bed bug bitten area and leave it be for 10-15 minutes. Rinse it with water.
Toothpaste is quite an invention. Not only does it clean your teeth, but it can also be used to soothe your skin after a burn or bite! This is why it is considered as a home remedy for an array of things.
Toothpaste, regardless of which one you have, always has menthol. Menthol is a known cooling agent, which is the reason why your mouth feels fresh after you use the product. The fact that it is a cooling agent means that it can be used to reduce both irritation and itching, which are characteristic of bed bug bites.
Thus, whenever you feel uncomfortable because of an itch, all you need to do is apply your toothpaste right on the bug bite. Wash it off after 10 to 15 minutes. Do so every day until the itching and swelling go away.
4. Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is a product you can easily get your hands on by visiting a drug store. You might even use it or have seen people use it as a facial cleanser. This is the official usage of the product, but cleaning your face isn’t all that it does. You can also use it to treat the bites.
This liquid astringent is equipped with tannins that help soothe the itchiness felt due to the bites. Also, if you have severe itching, you can use the product to mildly numb the area. This effect is achieved by witch hazel because of its anesthetic properties.
Don’t directly apply the product to the bug bite. Make use of a cotton ball. Soak the cotton in the product and place it on the bitten area. Leave the cotton ball in place for 10 minutes. If you still experience itching, redo the process.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar serves to be an excellent remedy for those who have swelling and a severe reaction to bed bugs. Not only does it play a part in reducing the feeling of itching, but it also helps minimize the swelling.
Apple cider vinegar is accompanied by acetic acid, which is popular for its anti-inflammatory properties. Hence, it is the perfect solution to treat the swelling and burning sensation.
In case you don’t have apple cider vinegar, you can make do with white vinegar. The results might not be as fast, but you will eventually see the magic.
Unlike other liquid home remedies, you have the liberty to use the raw and unfiltered product on the bitten area. Just go for it with the bottle, rather than dabbing it with a cotton ball. Let the area dry and rinse it thoroughly.
6. Cinnamon and Honey Paste
The chances are that you have both cinnamon and honey paste in your house. These two make the perfect concoction for treating a bed bug bite. Cinnamon is the perfect item to help you since it works as an anti-inflammatory agent and can cause a reduction in swelling. At the same time, honey paste helps keep the skin moisturized and less likely to be infected.
In order to make the mixture, you need to mix cinnamon and honey paste until you get the consistency of a paste. Apply it on the affected area and let it dry off. Once it has dried completely, you can wash it off. Do so regularly to see the effects.
Make sure you mix both products well and in equal proportion. Both cinnamon and honey play an integral role and need to be added in enough quantity to ensure that the benefit is reaped.
Oatmeal is also equipped with anti-inflammatory properties. Combine that with the soothing it can provide, and it makes a great remedy for bug bites. These features also make it usable for diseases like eczema and psoriasis.
Since it is a solid product, it is obvious that you can’t use it on its own. You must mix a few teaspoons of the product in water so that it forms a paste. Then, apply the paste to the areas affected by the bug bite. Leave it be for 15 to 20 minutes and then wash it off.
If the bites are present throughout your body, you might want to save the hassle of applying the mixture separately and opt for an oatmeal bath. For this, mix 1/2 cup of oatmeal in warm bath water. Get in for 15 minutes and then take a shower to wash away the residue.
We know what you are thinking. Mouthwash itself is quite stingy. How can it be used to cure an itch?
Well, a mouthwash is equipped with ethanol, which is a type of alcohol that is known to have antiseptic properties. This antiseptic function renders the product capable of healing bug bites. Unlike other products, it is not meant to provide temporary relief. It is meant to cure the bite once and for all.
You might find it to sting a bit depending on your mouthwash and its composition. This doesn’t mean that your skin is acting up. It just means that the mouthwash is doing what it is supposed to do.
Rather than pouring the product on the affected skin generously, make use of a cotton ball. Dip the cotton ball in the mouthwash and apply it to the bitten areas.
9. Tea Bags
Tea bags are not just for making tea. You can also use them to soothe your skin. Confusing, right? After all, how can tea bags possibly be the answer? Well, tea bags tend to have tannins and astringent. Both these elements are well-known for their anesthetic properties.
This doesn’t mean that you have to buy a separate box of tea bags for this purpose. Go ahead and enjoy your tea and use the moist tea bags to prevent swelling.
To do so, put the used bags in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes. Then, place it on the bitten area for 15-20 minutes. Continue doing so until the irritation disappears.
While this might not be perfect for curing open wounds or reducing the chances of infection, it does take away the discomfort associated with the bites.
If you ever went to a spa, you would know it offers mud baths. As gross as that sounds, mud is actually great for your skin. It can also be used to treat bug bites. Rather than just numbing your skin, it can cure the problem.
Mud has silt and clay in its composition. Natural clay is known for its antibacterial properties. Since bug bites tend to develop infections, the best way to combat this is by applying mud to the affected area and let the anti-bacterial element of mud do its magic.
Use wet mud and apply it to the bitten areas. After it completely dries off, remove it by washing it with water.
Sometimes, to cure things, you need to get dirty – in this case, literally. Don’t let your initial disgust of mud stop you from reaping advantages of this naturally occurring remedy.