The most irritating part of a bed bug infestation is dealing with the bites they leave behind. Those itchy, unsightly welts can be a source of physical discomfort and mental anxiety.
How long a bed bug bite lasts depends on a person’s sensitivity to the bite. Some people won’t ever develop a bite mark at all, while others might develop very serious skin reactions.
The average time it takes for a bed bug bite to heal naturally is 1 to 2 weeks, though more sensitive individuals won’t see full healing for up to 3 weeks.
To help the body’s healing process along, you can ask your doctor to prescribe you an oral antihistamine. Antihistamines help reduce the inflammation and burning associated with bed bug bites, allowing temporary relief from an itching sensation. Anti-itch creams and over-the-counter painkillers are also effective treatments.
If a bed bug bite becomes infected, then a doctor will prescribe you antibiotics. Infected bed bug bites can lead to cellulitis, a skin infection with the following symptoms:
- Severe inflammation
- A large rash at the afflicted area
- Fever or chills
- Nausea and lethargy
- A pus-filled abscess at the site of the infection
Antibiotics used to treat cellulitis, along with any other bite-related infections will typically heal the infection between 7 to 10 days.
If you don’t want to go with medical treatments but still want to relieve the pain of the bed bug bite, there are plenty of DIY methods that make use of common household objects.
- Cold compresses are a quick and easy solution that soothe inflammation and reduce itching.
- Astringents like witch hazel and citrus juice are also effective home remedies. They are natural anti-inflammatories and carry some antibiotic properties.
- Calamine lotions and aloe vera gels produce a similar effect.
Even if your body starts to recover from older bites, you need to make sure your infestation is dealt with permanently. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with reoccurring bites after you’re rid of the old ones.
Below is a library of resources to help you learn the fundamentals of bed bug treatment
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