How Do You Treat Bed Bug Bites?

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Treatment for routine bed bug bites includes washing the bites with soap and water to prevent infections and applying either over-the-counter or prescription corticosteroid creams to bites that itch, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The CDC recommends not scratching the bites, using antiseptic creams or lotions and taking an antihistamine.

Some people do not react to bed bug bites at all and do not develop itchiness or red marks, while others who have allergic reactions develop large red marks, swelling and even anaphylaxis, notes the CDC.

Severe allergic reactions can be treated by a doctor with an injection of antihistamine, corticosteroid or adrenaline, and with prescription antihistamine pills or liquid, states the AAD. Bites that are infected from being scratched are treated with over-the-counter antiseptics if the infection is mild and antibiotics if the infection is more severe. Signs of infection include bites that are tender and ooze pus.

Bed bugs do not transmit disease and are not a serious health threat, notes the CDC. Their bites usually clear up within one to two weeks, according to Mayo Clinic, but preventing further bites requires eradicating the infestation. Bed bugs are found around the world, according to the CDC.