Don’t let the bed bugs bite” is a common phrase that people say before going to bed. Unfortunately, if you have bed bugs, good wishes aren’t enough to get rid of these little biting critters for good. Bed bugs bites can cause itchy red clusters of bumps on your skin. This severe itching creates a strong urge to scratch and is very frustrating. You may even lose sleep scratching through the night and worrying abou
Getting rid of bed bug bites can be very effective with home remedies. Many home remedies help to treat the itchy bites that these nasty bugs cause and also help to reduce skin irritation, reduce redness and swelling as well as prevent infection. Some natural remedies for treating bed bug bites like apple cider vinegar, witch hazel, and oatmeal reduce itching and swelling around the affected skin area. Other remedies include coconut oil, tea tree oil, or aloe vera to soothe the itchy skin and the inflammation.
Before learning about the best home remedies for treating bed bug bites, let’s look at the signs and symptoms of bed bug bites.
Signs and Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites
Bed bugs are tiny parasitic insects that range in size from 1mm to 7mm. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these little pests feed on the blood of humans and animals.1 The bite from a bed bug can cause an allergic reaction that makes the surrounding area inflamed, red, and itchy. Sometimes bed bug bites are confused with flea bites. Flea bites on humans occur at any time you are around the house, bed bugs are mostly active when it’s dark, so you will be bitten while you are asleep.
Dr. Varnada Karriem-Norwood on WebMD says that the red, itchy bites usually occur on the arms or shoulders, but they can also be on the face and be a reason for itchy hands. The red bumps on the skin tend to be in straight rows, although they can be in clusters. Although bed bugs don’t carry disease, scratching the skin irritation can lead to secondary skin infections.2
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that it may take up to 2 weeks for the bite marks to become itchy, inflamed spots. However, you can spot bed bug signs by carefully examining your bed linen. Some of the telltale signs of bed bugs are exoskeletons left behind after molting, tiny blood spots on your mattress or bed sheets, and a sweet musty odor.1
Doctors from the Mayo Clinic recommend checking in the cracks and crevices of beds, headboards, bed frames, and in the seams of mattresses.3 Generally, bed bugs live within 8 feet of sleeping areas.
To eliminate bed bug infestation, please read my article about the top 10 home remedies to get rid of bed bugs naturally.
Home Remedies for Bed Bug Bites
To get rid of bed bug bites, it’s important to reduce the itching and inflammation. This will prevent you from scratching the itchy bumps and rashes that the bed bug bites cause.
The simplest way to stop bed bug bites itching fast is to apply a cold compress to soothe the red rash. The effect of cold helps to calm the nerve endings and take the itch out of the bite.
Many doctors recommend a cold compress to reduce pain and redness of a bed bug bite. Dr. Charles Patrick Davis on eMedicineHealth says to first of all wash the affected skin area. Then place a cold pack or ice wrapped in a towel on the affected skin area.4 Leave on for around 10 minutes. Use the cold compress as needed to relieve the itchy skin and reduce redness causes by bed bug bites.
Apple cider vinegar
Raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a great natural remedy to make bed bug bite go away because its acidic properties relieve itching and redness. ACV contains acetic acid which is a natural anti-inflammatory and also acts as an antiseptic. Applying apple cider vinegar to bug bites can also help to prevent any secondary skin infection.
Scientists have found that topical applications that have a low pH level (acidic) help to relieve pruritus (skin itching).5 Apple cider vinegar has the effect of balancing the skin’s pH level which is higher when inflamed.
The journal PLoS One also found that acetic acid protects the skin from bacterial infections and speeds up the healing process.6
To use apple cider vinegar to relieve the irritation caused by bed bug bites, please do the following:
- Dilute raw ACV with equal parts of water.
- Using a cotton ball, apply the vinegar remedy to the itchy bites.
- Leave to dry before rinsing off with warm water.
- Apply 2-3 times a day for quick relief from itchiness and to reduce redness.
Washing your face with apple cider vinegar is another reason to use ACV to quickly cure bed bug bites around your nose and cheeks.
Another great and easy home remedy to alleviate the discomfort caused by bed bug bites is to apply lemon juice. Because of its citric acid content, lemon juice has medicinal properties that work similar to apple cider vinegar in relieving itchy skin.
To get fast relief from bed bug bites, dip a cotton ball in lemon juice and apply to the itchy rash. Repeat the process 2 or 3 times a day to stop the bites itching.
Use the natural astringent properties of witch hazel to dry out rashes quickly and reduce the urge to scratch. Witch hazel contains tannins which not only help get rid of itching caused by bed bug bites but also have antibacterial properties that prevent infections. Witch hazel is also one of the best home remedies to get rid of flea bites.
Doctors on WebMD say that witch hazel is applied directly to the skin to reduce itching, pain, and swelling caused by insect bites as well as mite bites.7 Studies into the anti-inflammatory effects of witch hazel found that the astringent properties help to reduce skin inflammation and improve its appearance.8
To soothe an itchy bed bug bite, you can apply witch hazel directly to the affected skin area. This is what you should do:
t the bugs in your bed.
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