Bed bug bites

Bed bugs (Cimex Lectularius) are red-brown parasites that feed on human blood. They are 7mm in size, thin, non-flying, easy to hide, so they are hard to spot and find. They are called bed bugs because they can hide in bed and furniture cracks, in suitcases and bags for months. The biggest problem with bed bugs is to find and eliminate them. That’s why there is a saying “boring as a bed bug”. Bed bug bites can cause redness, swelling and unpleasant itching in some people. The symptoms can develop 2 weeks after the bite. They feed on human blood during night, and are attracted by exhaled carbon dioxide and body heat. They suck blood for 3 to 10 minutes, and after that they are calm and hidden for days. They inject anticoagulant and anaesthetic into the skin, so their bite is painless. It can cause unpleasant itching, and in people with allergic reactions, redness and swelling are observed. They attack exposed parts of the face, neck, arms, and some people have red marks on the skin of the entire body.

How to recognize the presence of bed bugs?

In hypersensitive people, after bed bug bites, redness and swelling develop followed by unbearable itching. If you suspect bed bugs, you should check the cracks of the mattress, furniture, and luggage for their presence. Lately, bed bugs are often introduced into the home with luggage upon return from travel. It is recommended that after travel you vacuum your luggage and wash your clothes at temperatures from 60 to 90C. An indicator of the presence of bed bugs can be small blood stains on the bedding or a black ink-like stains on the mattress from their faeces.

How to get rid of bed bugs?

If your skin itches and lesions develop, and you suspect bed bugs, you need to exterminate them with professional chemical treatment. For their extermination, professional chemical pesticides are used, as well as non-chemical methods of room heating to 50C for 4 to 6 hours. Infected mattresses are best disposed of.

How to relieve itching caused bed bug bites?

If redness and itching are present, you can try applying boric acid compresses and gels. In case of extended lesions, it is advisable to take antihistamines and apply corticosteroid creams. Bed bugs can be carriers of infectious diseases, so if there is a disorder of general condition with the spread of skin lesions, it is necessary to contact a physician.
Svetlana Đurišić specijalista dermatovenerologije

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