Can bed bugs cause skin rashes?

Even though bed bugs could not be prevented from biting at night time, a cluster of bed bugs can deliver bites in the form of itchy skin rashes or individually and often hard to differentiate from any other type of insect bites.

Bed bugs have been a problematic issue in various countries all over the world. In addition, the increasing cases of bed bug issues have been attributed to the increased international travel.

What you need to know about bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small-sized, wingless, oval-shaped parasites that feast on the blood of warm-blooded animals. It is important to note that certain types of bed bugs live in the nests of birds and bats while others prefer to live close to humans.

The newly hatched bed bugs have the size similar to a poppy seed and grow up to a quarter inch long. There are two species of bed bugs – Cimex lectularis and Cimex hemipterus which are usually responsible for the human infestations.

Bed bugs

Some individuals do not react to the bites while others end up with a severe allergic reaction characterized by hives and itchiness.

Bites from bed bugs

Always bear in mind that bed bugs are nocturnal in nature and crawl out of their hiding places such as box springs, mattresses and headboards to feed on humans while they sleep. If the individual wakes up with an itch and bed bugs are the last thing on mind, he/she might be well mistaken.

Bed bugs have no regard to cleanliness and can even lurk in clean houses and posh hotel rooms. Once a bed bug delivers a bite, it leaves behind a minimal amount of saliva. Always bear in mind that the bites from bed bugs can present as a line or cluster of miniature, red-colored bites that strikingly resemble a rash. Some individuals do not react to the bites while others end up with a severe allergic reaction characterized by hives and itchiness.

How to care for the bites

The bites by bed bugs appear similar to other insects such as mosquitoes and fleas, thus it is hardly possible to self-diagnose bed bugs just by examining the skin. A doctor should be consulted so that other possible causes of rash can be ruled out and also recommend measures to minimize the urge to scratch the affected area. In addition, scratching should be avoided since this can increase the risk for a secondary infection.


The symptoms of bed bug bites typically resolve without requiring treatment within 1-2 weeks. In most cases, topical hydrocortisone cream or an over-the-counter oral antihistamine can be used to minimize the itchiness. If infection develops due to scratching, the doctor might prescribe an antibiotic.


Once bed bugs are suspected, it is recommended to check the sleeping quarters carefully. Check in the bed linens, mattresses and box springs for indications of the bugs as well as curtains, corner of the dresser or desk and under loose wall coverings.

Always bear in mind that bed bugs are difficulty to eliminate from the house without the help of a professional exterminator since they can live for months without a human host. The home treatment that does not involve the use of chemicals might include proper vacuuming of all areas in the house as well as washing and drying washable items using a hot cycle. In addition, mattresses and other items that have signs of heavy infestation should be discarded.


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