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Bed Bug Allergic Reactions: Signs and Treatment

Since the 1990s, bed bug infestations have soared, a much unwelcome revitalization. The reasons for this re-emergence include an increase in foreign travel and the purchase of second-hand upholstered furniture. Unfortunately, infestations are not the only troubling bed bug issue, as along with this comes bed bug bites or, even worse, a bed bug allergic reaction.

How to Identify Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites are one of the many insect bite types. These bites resemble those from mosquitos. However, such bites occur when a tiny, reddish-brown parasite leaves itchy red bite marks on your skin. While they are hard to distinguish, one key identifier is that bed bug bites occur in zigzag form and clusters, unlike mosquito bites.

That’s not all. Another common trait is that most people notice bite marks after being bitten by bed bugs. For others, the bites occur weeks later, and others not at all! Also, these bites occur in unexposed areas such as the back, legs, and arms.

Signs of a Bed Bug Allergic Reaction

As with all insect bites, there’s a potential risk of experiencing bed bug bite reactions. A bed bug allergic reaction occurs when your immune system tries to fight the saliva toxins that bed bugs release. Usually, three toxins cause a skin reaction: a 17-kDa anticoagulant, 40-kDa enzyme, and nitrophorin.

Signs of an allergic reaction to bed bug bites include inflammation around the bite marks, painful and highly itchy bed bug bites, and irritation. For many people, these symptoms do not require medical care as they go away after some time. To treat such mild reactions, you’ll need to avoid scratching, clean the bite areas with unscented soap and water, and request an antihistamine at your local pharmacy. It would help if you considered buying antiseptic bandages to prevent you from scratching these bites.

As mentioned earlier, bed bug bites do not present themselves the same way in every victim. While some people notice the bites immediately, others experience complex skin reactions.

Such reactions occur days after a bed bug bite in the form of hives. These rashes may also develop into abscesses that get infected. Most times, these secondary infections occur because you can’t refrain from itching.

Besides complex skin reactions, you may experience a systemic allergic reaction from bed bug bites. These reactions occur because of regular bed bug exposure and may lead to asthma and anaphylaxis. According to a study stated in the Physician’s Guide to Arthropods of Medical Importance, a man presenting asthma symptoms was also suffering a bed bug infestation at the time.

Strikingly, these symptoms disappeared once he changed his infested beddings. Also, in the same book, another individual got treated for bed bug bites due to hypotension. Months later, he participated in an experimental bed bug bite study. This time his symptoms were so severe that he required epinephrine.

What Happens When You Exhibit Severe Bed Bug Bite Symptoms?

While severe allergic reactions from bed bug bites are rare, they may still occur. The most common signs of serious bed bug allergic reactions include:

  • Serious swelling
  • Severe irritation
  • Lethargy
  • Trouble breathing
  • Cramping
  • Excessive sweating

If you experience such symptoms within minutes of the bed bug bite, this means that you could be going into anaphylactic shock, which can be fatal. Typically, you would know that you are allergic to insect bites from past medical tests. Therefore, there’s a high chance that you carry an epinephrine injector with you. If you experience anaphylaxis, you must administer the injection then seek immediate medical attention.

How to Check for a Bed Bug Infestation

If you’ve suffered bed bug bites, then there’s a high chance that you may be dealing with a bed bug infestation. There are simple ways to find bed bugs in your home.

  • Look for blood stains on beddings.
  • Check your mattress, bed frames, and box springs for any signs of bed bugs, bed bug feces, and eggshells.
  • Examine whether there’s a musty odor coming from your bedroom or any space with upholstery furniture, curtains, and wallpaper.

Preventing Future Bed Bug Bites

To prevent future bed bug bites and possible allergic reactions to bed bugs, you need to deal with your bed bug infestation problem. McDonald Pest Control has a team of professional exterminators trained to offer unmatched bed bug treatment in Clearwater. Our program includes thorough inspections, a comprehensive report, and an effective bed bug heat treatment.

Remember, if you’ve experienced a bed bug allergic reaction in the past, another infestation could lead to a severe systemic reaction that could be fatal.

Thankfully, this is preventable. To prevent future bed bug bites, let us provide the best bug-free solutions. Ready to try our services? Call us at 727-734-0963 today for a free consultation.