The first sign that you might have an invasion of vampire pests on your hands is often the bed bug rash. You should however bear in mind that just because you or someone in your household has developed a rash it does not necessarily suggest you have bed bugs!
There are numerous skin conditions and illnesses which will produce a similar itchy, inflamed rash on the skin. Psoriasis, eczema, even chicken pox are a few examples. Remember also, there are other insect bites also which can cause similar symptoms such as fleas and mosquitoes. With all of these possibilities a doctors job of giving an accurate diagnosis without evidence can be a complete nightmare!
With this in mind should you have cause to suspect that bed bugs are the cause of your rash you should endeavour to track the tiny blood suckers down. Search the entire house one room at a time starting with bedrooms and look for clues. These include dark faecal marks, blood smears on bedding and mattresses, cast skins and best of all live bugs which you can then have properly identified. This will allow your doctor to give the most appropriate treatment or rule out a bed bug rash completely if you find none of these signs.
So what does a rash caused by bed bug bites look like?
Most often the rash will take the form of small bumps or welts scattered randomly on areas of the body. The area surrounding the bumps or welts will usually appear red and inflamed and will most likely itch relentlessly. A bed bug rash can usually be found areas of skin which have not been covered during the night. Typically the face, neck, legs, feet and so on – if you wear nothing in bed…… we’ll say no more!
There are many people however, who will not display any symptoms. This is because the anaesthetic and anticoagulant in the saliva injected into the skin as the bed bug bites does not trigger an allergic reaction which causes the itchy bed bug rash to appear.
In stark contrast, there are a small number of individuals who suffer severe allergic reactions and possibly even anaphylaxis and need immediate medical attention.
The rash will in most cases appear within days of the bed bug feeding on the victim, this tends to vary from person to person. Some will react quickly and the rash appear in a single day or it could take several days. The more an individual is bitten the more sensitised they will become meaning the rash and itching will appear much faster.
How do you treat a bed bug rash?
For a large proportion of cases no medical attention is necessary. The inflammation and itching can be calmed and soothed by applying cortisone based creams or taking oral antihistamines. Should the rash become infected – usually due to scratching – antibiotics from a doctor might be needed. Bites will slowly disappear over time, assuming that the infestation of bed bugs has been successfully treated!
Everyone knows about the itching and the rash caused by bed bugs but it is important to also be aware of other effects an infestation can have on health. Many individuals suffer immense anxiety, panic attacks and even insomnia having endured a bed bug infestation all of which can have a long lasting effect on daily life.