What to Put on Bed Bug Bites: Stopping the Itch

For most people, a bed bug bite causes an intense reaction. Red welts appear and quickly become irritated and itchy. Bed bug bites may appear on your limbs, torso, and neck. The itch is similar to that of a mosquito bite. In homes with a large infestation, and thus a lot of bed bugs, bites may cover the entire back. This may make one wonder what to put on bed bug bites to quickly alleviate the irritation.

Since the itch is often quite similar to that of a mosquito bite or a flea bite; it’s helpful to know exactly what bit you before determining how to treat the bite. Bed bug bites look generic and are commonly found in patters of three to four welts, usually in a line. Bed bug bites typically have a blood dot in the middle, like mosquito bites do. Some people may not even develop a reaction, but those who do will have an easier time deducing if they have bed bugs in their home.

The most immediate temporary alleviation for a bed bug bite is a hot shower, which will naturally calm the irritation. Cold water, ice cubes, and ice packs also help.

Some common items around the home can be used as treatment as well. Baking soda with a little water will make a paste that can be applied to itchy areas. Baking soda, a base, will neutralize any acidic chemicals that irritate your skin. Aloe vera gel or lotion can be used effectively to soothe bed bug bites. Calamine lotion can also be used for temporary relief.

Over-the-counter creams such as ammonium lactate and hydrocortisone reduce swelling and calm the itch. Some allergy medicines like Benadryl and Atarax, and even anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen and aspirin, may work for some people as well.

Bed bug bites, along with their itch, usually disappear in a few days, sometimes a week. Bed bugs themselves do not. If you have a sizable infestation in your home, you will get continually bitten. The above methods might work, but the best relief–and this should be your first priority–is to completely eradicate the infestation. If you are being bitten incessantly, a professional chemical or heat treatment takes priority over what to put on bed bug bites.

Photo source: Flickr

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