Skin Reactions to Bed Bugs
Symptoms, Treatment, Healing, Marks, Duration & more
Bed bug bites are well documented visually on many websites and in the media. The only confirmation that a skin reaction is a bed bug bite is if there is confirmation that there are viable insects accessible to humans. It is impossible to look at a welt or rash and positively identify it as a bed bug bite. Even trained physicians cannot diagnose skin reactions as bed bug bites just by examining the bites.
Bed bug bites are not visible on all people. People react differently and some have no visible reaction at all. Others react with hive-like symptoms. There are documented cases where two people spend the night in the same bed and one is bitten and covered with welts and the other has no reaction. Generally, if there is a skin reaction, it can lead to itching with the degree of itching varying from person to person.
Bed bugs harbor nearly thirty human pathogens; however, there is no indication that bed bugs spread disease. There are recorded instances of bed bug bites becoming infected due these are due to extreme itching and lesions caused by scratching.
One worthwhile note about bed bug bites is that the bites can take days to manifest into welts or reactions when the human is not regularly bitten. After the antigen is generated from repeated bites, then bed bug bites manifest into welts or irritation from just about immediate to a few days. This is worth noting since welts might appear days after being bitten with the blame placed on the previous night’s location when the bites occurred at a totally different location days prior.
What Bed Bug Bites Look Like:
Do Bed Bugs Leave a Mark?
Bed bug bites can be irritating, itchy, or even become open lesions from scratching. However, bed bug bites are not the source of any known disease. Several years ago, a paper was published reporting on a study in The Gambia in Africa in the 1990s. The study examined whether bed bugs play a role in transmission of Hepatitis B. After control measures were performed, the incidence of Hepatitis B did not change so it was concluded that bed bugs do not transmit this disease either through biting or by contacting skin broken by itching.
There are situations where scratching a bed bug bite to the point of bleeding may result in scarring. This is pretty rare; however, if possible, people should be discouraged from scratching bed bug bites, especially to the point of causing an open wound. Open wounds should be treated by an antibiotic topical cream or other product suggested by a physician or pharmacist.
The elderly are particularly susceptible to scratching and if they are predisposed to bleed easily, wounds can occur. Children are also likely to scratch to the point of abrasion.
Psychological problems are generally temporary but it is commonly found that people who have experienced bed bugs can have symptoms resulting in depression, frustration, and even thoughts of suicide. While suicide is not common, the frustration level is such that some victims readily talk about deep depression and suicide suggesting that bed bug marks are a symptom of deeper concern.