Bed bugs might be almost invisible when compared to mosquitoes or cockroach that we always want to get rid of. However, when bed bug strikes it will be one of the worse experience for our skin. Learn more about bed bugs, so we can avoid for having them on our house and find out how to get rid of bed bug bites , so we know how to handle it when needed.
Bed bugs are living with human and live out of our blood over centuries and unfortunately it’s almost impossible to keep our home free of bed bugs. Even though bed bugs don’t carry diseases or viruses, but when we got bitten, the parasite will leave us with stingy yet itchy skin that can be very disturbing.
Bed bugs are troopers. They come in a flat- shaped body that allows them to survive most physical conditions. Even though they can’t fly, but they could crawl about 30 meters a night, allowing them to crawl into human body and left. Some bed bugs only take human blood, but some others also take animals’ blood. They feed themselves by stabbing a sharp proboscis into the skin and stay there about 10 minutes to suck the blood that will keep them full for the whole day.
Identifying if bed bugs live in our mattress or not is actually quite easy. Check on the mattresses, carpet or sofa where bed bugs might live. We might be able to find their traces from their papery skins or some tiny blood spots from the blood deposit. Take a water soaked towel and tap it on the spots. If the towel runs a reddish or rusty color, then we might have fresh bed bugs feces.
Even bedbugs are not nocturnals, but they are mostly very active at night. They like moist and warm environment and they track their prey by following the carbon dioxide released human or animals. Until now, there’s no specific itchy reactions of bed bugs bite because the reaction might be different from one person to another. Even though most people who got bitten by bed bugs only feel itchy on the skin, but a medical record shows that there was a patient treated because of anemia from bed bugs. There’s also a research shows that someone with asthma will be more sensitive of bed bugs. Check these 10 ways on how to get rid of bed bug bites that are safe for family.
1. Clean and Wash The Affected Surface
There’s no other ways to get rid of bed bugs other than washing the affected fabric with hot water. It’s the most basic thing to do if we want to get rid of bed bugs. We can just change the sheet and wash it in hot water if the bed bugs attack is not that severe. However, we are highly recommended to call a professional to do deep cleaning to our bed and cushioned furniture at least once a year to prevent and get rid of bedbugs thoroughly. Bedbugs could lay over 200 egs a night, so expect them to come again and again.
To kick off the bed bugs even more effectively from the fabric, we can also add essential oils when we wash them. Choose essential oils like thyme or lemon oil. These oils have antibacterial and anti bugs ability to get rid of the bugs and let it flushed away by water.
2. Diatomaceous Earth ( DE)
DE comes from a microorganism called diatoms. We can find this on the chemical store as it’s usually used for cosmetic, water filter products or food manufacture. DE is usually sold on a form of powder and used to eliminate virus, free radicals and parasites. This ingredient works by dries the bed bugs inside out. It’s proven to be more effective and safe than using toxic or abrasion method.
Using DE is very simple. We just need to sprinkle the powder and let it sit for about 12 hour before we clean it up with vacuum. Cleaning the bed, sofa or other area with DE is highly recommended as it’s safe and effective. Do the process once a week for a month and we don’t need to worry about bed bugs anymore.
3. Apply Ice Packs
The most disturbing effect of bed bugs bite is the itchy sensation. Most people also experience skin rashes and swelling. It’s not recommended to scratch them as it will cause skin infection. The fastest way to overcome this disturbing sensation is by putting ice packs to make the infected area numb.
Take ice cubes and put them in a towel or sealed plastic. Put it on the affected area until it feels numb and repeat it until the itchy feeling gone away. Put thyme oil if needed. It will help to recover the area. It has active properties that recover and protect the skin. Rub it on the skin and leave it there.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is basically the cure of everything. It’s something that we need to have on our household as it could be a treatment for common problems in our house and it also gives us a good health and beauty solution. It’s not so surprising to find that apple cider vinegar is also the champion on how to get rid of bed bug bites.
Thanks to its anti – inflammatory property, apple cider vinegar would help us to treat the affected skin area. if we don’t have apple cider vinegar, the regular white vinegar would do the work. It won’t be as effective an skin- nutritious as apple cider vinegar, but it would be a good replacement.
All we need to do is to apply raw vinegar on the affected skin area, let it dry and rinse it. We can also leave it overnight and rinse it on the next morning if we want. If we still feel the itching sensation, we can always re apply the liquid and leave it air dry.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Another treatment that’s worth to try to treat bed bug bites is tea tree oil. Just like apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil has so many benefits for the skin, including relieving the skin from itchy feeling and calm it down. All we need to do is wipe the affected area with water and apply tea tree oil. It will reduce the itchy feeling, prevent rashes and redness, inflammation and finally treat the skin until it’s healing. If we have a very sensitive skin, it’s highly recommended to mix tea tree oil with coconut oil. It will smoothen the direct effect of tea tree oil and keep the skin moist.
6. Aloe Vera
Besides apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil, we know that we can always count on aloe vera. Aloe vera gel contains properties that will calm down the skin, which will automatically reduce redness and inflammation on the skin area. It also high in vitamin and antioxidant that will heal the skin and prevent scar. We can get aloe vera gel by open the leaf or to make it simple, we can buy the gooey aloe vera gel in the market. Keep the product on the fridge to get the cold refreshing sensation.
7. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a perfect ingredient to treat bed bug bites. It has a property called sodium bicarbonate, which will help neutralize the acidic chemical that causes itchy. With its inflammatory agent, it will also reduce both swelling and redness.
To use baking soda on how to get rid of bed bugs bites, all we need to do is to mix a teaspoon of baking soda powder with 3 teaspoon of water. Apply the thin layer to the affected area and leave it for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off. If we still feel the burning and itching sensation, make sure to apply it again after 30 minutes until it feels better.
8. Lemon Oil or Juice
The natural acid found on lemon oil or juice is a natural astringent for the skin. It will help to dry out the rashes that caused by bed bugs bites. Lemon and other citrus fruits have antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties that helps a lot when it comes to reduce swollen skin, redness and also infection.
Squeeze a lemon and dip a cotton ball in it. Dab the affected area and let it dry. Do this few times a day until the discomfort is gone. Lemon juice might give a bit of burning sensation. This is very normal especially on the itchy or rashing area. Let it dry or reduce the burning sensation by cooling it down with a fan. I the affected area is exposed to the sunshine, we might want to be a bit careful as it may cause sunburn under the sun. Keep the area covered or don’t leave the house after applying lemon juice to the skin.
If the itching on the skin is very bad and we are thinking about taking over the counter medication, then antihistamine would be a good choice. Antihistamine will help us reducing inflammation and redness, as well as cover the itchy sensation. Before we put antihistamine on the affected area, it’s best to wash the skin and compress it with ice packs. It will make the skin numb and soothe the affected area. After that, we can apply antihistamine.
Antihistamine has some active agents such as diphenhydramine, loratadine or diphenhydramine. When applying, spread a thin layer of the cream, it will help to relieve severe allergic reaction. Some people need to see doctor if they have severe reaction from bed bugs and doctor will usually give oral antihistamine.
Another alternative for bed bug bites treatment is hydrocortisone. This OTC cream is able to reduce itching and inflammation. If we don’t have sensitive skin, we just need to apply a thin layer of the cream onto the affected skin and let it sit until we apply it again after few hour. The cream is very mild, so it doesn’t usually affect sensitive skin. The hydrocortisone sold in the market are usually 1% hydrocortisone. Therefore, if we think we need a stronger one, we are recommended to call our doctor.
Some people can have allergic reaction from bed bug bites. This is cause by the effect of bed bugs’ saliva toxin. Most people won’t have this reaction, but if we do, doctor would give us epinephrine injection. Bed bugs bites are usually recover overnight, but different person might get different reaction.
We might though that bed bugs will only bite during night time and only able to live during the hot summer season, but actually be bugs are just like mice or cockroach that stays in our home for all seasons and conditions. Therefore, getting rid of bed bugs could be all seasons job, we can’t wait until summer or end of summer to start the cleaning.
Another thing that might be useful is that bed bugs are attracted to specific color, in this case; red. Bed bugs are attracted to red not because red is the color of blood as their main food, but because they tend to live in a group. Bed bugs color is red, so when they see red color, they thought that red is their colony. Therefore, changing our sheet into brighter color like white would be quite helpful because bed bugs are not so attracted to something bright.
Even though the name bed bug itself makes us think that they only live in our our bed, but bed bugs can actually live in various areas like pillows, sofa, rugs, office chair, luggage and many other places. Make sure to learn how to get rid of bed bug bites because we never know when we might get it, especially when we are travelling and sleep in different hotels. Keeping aloe vera gel or tea tree oil on our bag might be beneficial someday. It can be an instant relief from the inflammation and itching sensation of bed bug bites.