Bed Bug Rash Or Not
The one sign most commonly associated with bed bug infestations has to be the bed bug rash. However, before making the assumption that any rash has been caused by bed bug bites it is essential that you consider other possible causes. There is a wide range of skin conditions and illnesses which will present in the form of a rash which can be similar in appearance to a bed bug rash. Such conditions include psoriasis, eczema and even chicken pox. There are also a number of other insects which suck blood causing itchy, red welts to appear such as mosquitoes and fleas.
As you can imagine then, for a doctor making an accurate diagnosis an prove to be extremely difficult. Therefore, if you suspect that these blood sucking pests may be the cause of your itchy, inflamed skin problem finding evidence in your home is a vitally important first step.
What should you look for?
Bed bug poo, cast skins, tiny blood smears, bed bug eggs and perhaps even live bugs. Uncovering any of These will allow your doctor to make a very simple diagnosis. If you find none of these bed bug signs you can at least rule out such an infestation and your doctor can begin looking for an alternative cause. Remember though, there is really no cure for a bed bug rash other than getting rid of the bed bugs!
What will a bed bug rash look like?
Most often a bed bug rash appears as a series of random bumps or welts on the skin. The skin surrounding the bite is often inflamed and itchy. You must avoid scratching at all costs because this will often cause the area to become infected.
It is usually parts of the body which are left uncovered during the night which are targeted by the bugs so the face, neck, arms, legs etc. It can take anything from one to several days for the itchy welts to appear following a bed bug bite however, the more a person is bitten the more sensitized they become and the bites will appear much more quickly.
There are some individuals who will have no allergic reaction to the anticoagulant or mild anaesthetic found in the bed bugs saliva. The bed bug injects the mild anaesthetic to prevent the victim feeling the bite and the anticoagulant to allow the blood to flow more freely, making feeds easier. The one BIG disadvantage of having no reaction is that an infestation can get out of control before it is even noticed.
Some less fortunate individuals may suffer a severe reaction and in a few cases may even develop anaphylaxis which requires immediate medical attention.
What is the treatment for a bed bug rash?
The vast majority of cases do not require medical attention. Antibiotics will be required if a bacterial skin infection sets in – often caused by scratching.
Itching can be soothed by using topical creams such as hydro-cortisone or by taking oral antihistamine tablets, both of which are available from drug stores. The rash itself will fade in time.
As well as the physical rash etc. associated with an infestation of bed bugs the psychological effects can be even more distressing. Many suffer from panic attacks, anxiety and even insomnia long after any infestation has been irradiated.