Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown parasitic insects that prey on you while you sleep. Although bed bugs aren’t known to spread disease, they can leave you feeling ruffled in your own home. Their signature style is to leave bite marks on your skin, which can be itchy and red.
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To make matters worse, some people may have an allergic reaction that can include severe itching, blisters or hives.
Bed bugs can be fiendishly difficult to capture because they hide in small nooks and crannies.
According to the NHS, typical hideouts include on bed frames, mattresses, clothing, furniture, behind pictures and under loose wallpaper.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to shield your bed from the nasty pests.
According to pest control body Terminix, make your bed an island to help get rid of bed bugs fast by moving it at least six inches away from the wall.
The insect experts also advise washing and drying all bed linens including pillow cases, sheets, comforters and mattress pads at the highest settings allowed by the manufacturer.
“Seal in plastic bags once clean,” it advises.
“Post-treatment, use encasements (bed-bug-proof covers) to cover your mattress and box spring. Ensure they have zippers and are high quality to cut down on tearing,” says Terminix.
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Furthermore, you should check under your bed and discard anything unneeded, advises the pest control body.
It adds: “Items you want to keep should be stored in the same room to prevent the infestation from spreading.”
If the bed bug infestation persists, you may need to hire a professional exterminator.
According to Mayo Clinic, they may use a combination of pesticides and non-chemical treatments.
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“Some professional exterminators use portable devices to raise the temperature of a room to a lethal temperature,” explains the health body.
All stages of bedbugs can be killed at 50 degrees celsius, notes the health site.
“In some cases, you may have to throw out heavily infested items such as mattresses or couches,” it adds.
How can I treat bed bug bites?
Bedbug bites usually clear up on their own in a week or so but there are things you can do to alleviate them.
The NHS recommends: Things you can do include:
- Putting something cool, like a clean, damp cloth, on the affected area to help with the itching and any swelling
- Keeping the affected area clean
- Not scratching the bites to avoid getting an infection
You can also ask a pharmacist about using a mild steroid cream like hydrocortisone cream to ease bed bug bites, says the health body.
If the bites are still very painful, swollen or itchy, or the redness around the bites is spreading after trying treatments from a pharmacist, you should see a GP, warns the health site.
“You may have an infection and need treatment with antibiotics,” it adds.
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