Bed bugs are blood-feeding insects whose bite can cause allergic reactions and skin rashes. They measure approximately 1/5 of an inch and are red/brown in color and wingless. Bed bugs are usually nocturnal. The preferred environment for bed bugs is a warm location, like the type found in or near beds.
What are the symptoms?
Bed bug bites are often mistaken for other types of rashes, which serves to delay action toward their eradication. Because bed bug bites are painless due to an anesthetic used by the pest, some bites go unnoticed for long periods. Typically, a bed bug bite is small, less than ¼” in size and may be either flat or slightly elevated. Bed bug bites usually result in reddening of the skin, swelling and itching.
Who gets it?
Bed bugs are a ubiquitous insect that can survive in any area that is warm. Particularly at risk are people who travel frequently and who share beds or sleeping areas with others. Travelers are more prone to attract bed bugs due to their ability to survive in luggage, folded clothes, and furniture. Travelers are rarely aware they are transporting bed bugs.
Because bed bugs pose no serious medical threat, the treatment options include topical creams or lotions, as well as avoiding scratching the affected area. Skin creams for bed bugs usually contain hydrocortisone. An antihistamine will be effective in reducing the effects of bed bugs. If a skin infection develops from bed bug bites, an antibiotic may be prescribed.