Any allergic reaction is the immune system’s response when exposed to foreign substances or antigens. The saliva produced by bed bugs contains harmful toxins that may lead to an allergic reaction. Blood-sucking insects such as bed bugs pierce and inject their saliva into the skin in order to delay blood clotting.
Most people will develop a mild reaction such as inflammation while others will develop severe reactions – the most common being painful and itchy red welts. Bed bug bites may often look like mosquito bites or other insect bites. They are red, swollen, tender to the touch and sometimes have a brandy-like smell. However, unlike mosquitoes they do not transmit diseases when they bite. You may experience an allergic reaction, but that doesn’t mean you have contracted a serious illness because of the bite.
Can Anyone Experience Severe Allergies to Bed Bug Bites?
If you are allergic to bed bug bites, it is likely that your immune system will also produce a similar response. The reaction time to a bed bug bite also depends on how the immune system will react once it is exposed to the antigen or toxin in the bed bug’s saliva. Though most allergic reactions are harmless, some may develop more serious reactions that can eventually affect important body systems.
Secondary infections may happen to those who keep scratching the bite marks or bitten areas, as scratching introduces bacteria to the area. Some who develop a severe reaction from a bacterial infection may develop pus or mild-to-serious skin irritation that can result in scarring. Anaphylaxis, panting, or hives are considered life-threatening reactions that require medical attention as soon as possible.
Other Allergic Reactions
Keep in mind that bed bug bite allergy symptoms may not always show up right after being bitten. Aside from red spots and welts, other allergic reactions that one must take note of include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Irregular heartbeat
- Swollen tongue
Any unusual body reactions after noticing bed bug bites must be treated right away. For mild reactions, you can use any bed bug bite allergy treatment to reduce itchiness or discomfort. However, if the reaction worsens over time, it is ideal to go to a doctor and ask for the right treatment.
Quick Remedies for Bed Bug Bites
When it comes to alleviating the discomfort associated with bed bug bites, there are a few quick remedies that you can try. Some of them include:
- Soap and water
Not only does soap and water clean the bitten area, but this combination can also help to reduce the itchiness and swelling accompanied by the bites.
- Aloe Vera Gel
Whether it’s the gel you can buy over the counter or straight from the plant, both can relieve itchiness and soothe the burning sensation.
- Baking soda and water
Make a paste with water and baking soda and apply it to the affected areas. Leave it on until dry then wipe the dried mixture off with a damp cloth. It has the same effect as the other remedies mentioned above.
All of these are readily available or accessible in your home. You can use these to temporarily soothe the discomfort prior to consulting a doctor for any serious reactions that you may develop in the following hours.
The Best Way to Avoid Bed Bug Bites
You can only confirm that you were bitten by bed bugs if you find proof of a bed bug infestation. One way to confirm that you have an infestation is to search for signs of bed bugs. They are probably hiding on pieces of upholstered furniture, cracks and crevices, and of course, your mattresses, box springs, bed frame, and other items near your bed or any area where you tend to spend hours napping or sitting.
Once you find the bed bugs and confirm their presence, you should act fast to set up bed bug products to control the infestation. This is highly recommended for those with a low-level infestation. On the other hand, those with a full-blown infestation should contact a pest control professional to deal with the problem.
The only way to put a stop to getting bites and avoiding any bed bug bite allergic reaction is to stop the root cause - that is to get rid of the bed bug infestation. It is true that it may take time, but it’s possible to get the best results with the collective efforts of everyone in your household.