Bed Bug Rash
bug rash is an allergic reaction to a bed bug bite. A
person's reaction to bed bugs can get progressively worse each time
they are bitten. The rash area can also itch. The rash should resolve
itself within a week."
Bed bug rash can vary between people. A minority
will show no symptoms when bitten by a bed bug other than a small
puncture at the site of the bite.
Most people will have develop a small red bump (called pruritic
maculopapular or an erythematous lesion), at the area where the bedbug
bite occurred. A common symptom is itch. Each bed
bug that feeds on the human host will leave behind a bump or red area.
Picture Bed Bug Bites
(Source: CT Gov)
The time it takes to develop a reaction to the bed bug bite varies
between people. It can range from an hour to 14 days later.
The size of the red bumps could vary from 3/8 of an inch to 2
to 3 inches.
Highly allergic or people that are repeatedly bitten may have a more
pronounced reaction such as a wheal (welt) and even blisters.
Bed Bug Bites Blister
In many people, the skin reaction that appears each time they are
bitten gets progressively worse.
Bites are most often seen on the head, arms, shoulders and neck.
Bite marks can appear on other areas of the body.
Bed Bug Rash
Some individuals get a rash which can occur days after a bite.
Often the rash area is scratched which causes the area to
become infected. Infections could last on the skin for weeks.
Infection (known as a secondary infection since it was caused by
another condition), can result in folliculitis (inflammation where the
skin meets each hair), cellulites (bacterial infection just below the
Other Reactions to Bed Bug Bites
In some cases, an individual can suffer from asthma, urticaria
(elevated patches on skin, swelling) and in some cases anaphylaxis.
(immediate and severe life threatening allergic reaction including
constriction of the throat which restricts breathing.
Treatment of Bed Bug Rash
Over the counter anti-itch and anti-biotic ointments are usually all
that is needed. If rash areas are infected and are
not healing on
their own, be sure to see a Doctor as an oral anti-biotic or
prescription cream may be needed.
A homeopathic anti-itch cream may also help such as Itch
Dr. which is made to soothe the symptoms of itching and
A Doctor will treat chronic reactions with medications such as
epinephrine, corticosteriods and antihistamines.
What Else Could it Be?
Bed bug bites are often misdiagnosed. Common mistakes include:
- Mosquito bites
- Flea bites
- Food allergy
- Antibiotic reaction
- Skin infection
The only way to make a diagnosis is to find and identify a bed bug in
your home or apartment.
Goddard, Jerome PDH, deShazo, Richard MD
London Pest Group
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