Dealing with bedbug bites

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Bedbug bites has similarity with other insect bites, including mosquito bites. They are characterized by a raised, reddish bump but also happen as a blister. Bites of bedbugs have a unique pattern. Some bites appear alone, but most bites happen in a row of 3 to 5 bites or can appear as a cluster of red bumps. They can also happen in a zigzag formation and can be a straight line if they bite in the morning.

The bites usually happen in the exposed areas of the body such as the face, neck, arms and feet. The rashes usually heal within 2 weeks. Bedbug bites have a long incubation period. Symptoms of the bite appear up to 10 days after initially bitten such as a red and itchy bump.


Bed bug bites
A bite or multiple bites that left a red, swollen area with a dark red center.
  • Immediately wash the affected area using soap and water. Rub the lather over the affected area liberally until the whole affected area is covered. Leave on place and allow the lather to dry over the bitten area to lessen the itchiness of the area. Washing the area using soapy water lessens and prevents infection of skin.
  • Apply a cold compress or ice pack for at least 10 minutes at a time. After the 10 minutes of application, let it rest for another 10 minutes and reapply again. Perform this rotation for at least an hour. The cold temperature numbs the nerve endings and lessens the itching sensation and swelling caused by bedbug bites. Wrap ice packs using a towel before placing on the area to prevent further damage and worsen the condition.
  • Avoid scratching the bite to prevent an infection.
  • Baking soda neutralizes the acidic chemicals that cause the itching due to bedbug bites and has anti-inflammatory properties that lessen the redness and swelling. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda and 3 teaspoons of water and apply over the affected areas. Leave it on for at least 10 minutes before rinsing it. If symptoms persist, reapply again after 30-45 minutes.
  • Apply the prescribed steroidal anti-itch over-the-counter cream that contains 1% hydrocortisone
  • Apply calamine lotion to lessen the itching, dry the rashes and protect the affected area as it heals.
  • Take the prescribed oral antihistamine to control an allergic reaction such as rashes and swelling


  • Wash exposed clothing, cushions, beddings and fabric in hot water. Use a color-safe bleach.
  • Vacuum and mop the carpets and floors. Apply bleach on the floor and use a water/alcohol solution.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on bedbug bites is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage reactions from bedbug bites by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.

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