picutre of bed bug bites

There is nothing worse than waking up with bed bug bites that send you into a non-stop scratching marathon, which ultimately breaks the skins and subjects you to bacterial infections.

Most of the time bites will go away within a few days but there are those who are more allergic to the saliva of a bed bug bite. The saliva can cause inflammation, irritation and in some cases blisters depending upon an individual’s sensitivity.

From years of answering the calls of bed bug victims, we compiled a few natural and safe ways of treating bed bug bites that people who have experienced bites have shared with us.


Clinical trials for medicines given to the public have to prove that the benefits outweigh the risks before allowed on the market. Some side effects may be mild while others may be serious. It is always difficult to know or predict the side effect one may get from using a particular medicine because everyone’s reaction is different.

Analgesics and topical steroids are not proven for broken skin lesions. There is little evidence supporting the efficacy of commercial preparations for insect bites, including antihistamines and topical corticosteroids says the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (2) yet Mayo Clinic (3) suggests you might speed your recovery by using:

•A skin cream containing hydrocortisone (Cortaid)

•An oral antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl)

Secondary Skin Infections

If you develop a skin infection from scratching bed bug bites, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic. Try not to scratch at bed bug bites. Constant scratching can cause open areas, which become susceptible to secondary bacterial infections.

Bacteria can cause different types of skin infections. Three common skin infections that you may encounter are cellulitis, folliculitis, and impetigo. Watch for and treat any secondary bacterial infection immediately. Staph, MRSA and Hepatitis B Transmission is possible and in appropriate settings might be considered.

Medical care depends on the clinical picture. Always consult your health care provider or doctor. Keep wounds clean at all times and wash all infected areas with Hibiclens (an antiseptic, antimicrobial skin cleanser), keep all wounds covered, and practice very frequent hand washing.

Hot and Cold Compresses

The receptors that respond to heat are the same ones that respond to cold. In many cases, people use both for other types of injuries including sprains, etc. Hot and cold helps bring down inflammation and swelling.

Taking a full body hot shower may exacerbate the itch, yet applying hot compresses directly on the bites themselves helps to relieve itch. A spoon run under hot water can be applied directly to bites. Be careful not to make it too hot.

One woman shared a trick she used by taking an old sock and filling it with rice; placed in the microwave and then laid on her bites for relief.

Cold is also a way to help lessen itchiness. Soak a metal tablespoon in a glass of ice and a little water; using the backside of the spoon, apply to bite area.

Safe Natural Remedies Shared by Callers

The following are ingredients that many of our callers have used successfully to bring down swelling and relieve itchiness.

Aloe Vera– Often used for severe sunburns, it contains amino acids for healing.

Cinnamon- Has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Chamomile-Has tannins that are very soothing when applied to the skin. A tea bag placed over bites, acts as an astringent to help reduce swelling.

Apple cider vinegar: A few cups added to a bath.

Raw organic honey

Witch Hazel-Mixed with baking soda paste to relieve swelling.

Basil- Fresh leaves crushed or essential oil to relieve itching.

Cucumbers are helpful for reducing swelling.

Tea Tree oil- Has antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties to help against infections.

Peppermint—Provides a cooling sensation in essential oil or crushed leaves.

The most important thing to remember if you should have to deal with bed bug bites is NOT TO SCRATCH!!!

Disclaimer: This article is aimed at providing helpful and informative material on the subject of bed bug bites. With the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering any professional services other than awareness and education. The reader should consult his or her medical practitioner before adopting any of the suggestions or drawing inferences from it.

(1)   http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/ice-is-nice-for-insect-bites-12-04-16/

(2)   http://dtb.bmj.com/

(3)    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bedbugs/basics/treatment/con-20026119

Article courtesy of Denise Donovan, founder of IBBRA.org