Bed bug bites are often the first sign of a large-scale infestation. You may go to bed one evening perfectly happy and healthy only to wake the next morning covered in small, itchy, red welts. Relieving the irritation caused by those bed bug bites quickly becomes job number one. In fact, the itching and irritation can make it hard to think about much of anything else.
Of course, there are plenty of over the counter remedies that you can use to soothe the itch and reduce the inflammation that comes with a rash of bed bug bites. Unfortunately, however, those over the counter medications aren’t always available and running to the corner drug store may not be an easy option. But have no fear, when over the counter creams and salves aren’t available you can always employ some good old fashioned do-it-yourself home remedies.
Top 7 Home Remedies for Bed Bug Bites
Long before topical antihistamines and corticosteroids people relied on homemade remedies to treat minor wounds. More often than not bed bug bites and rashes would be treated with do-it-yourself ingenuity, and families would rely on their own good old-fashioned know-how to treat the itching and swelling that accompanies a bed bug bite.
So, let’s look at seven of our favorite home remedies, sure to ease the irritation and inflammation that comes with a bed bug attack.
1 – Soap and Water
First on our list is the simplest home remedy of them all – soap and water. Cleaning the affected area with simple soap and water can help to relieve the itch that is so commonly associated with a bed bug bite. It also works as a mild antiseptic, keeping the area clean to prevent infection.
A simple tip:
To make the soap and water remedy even more effective try applying the soap to the affected area and letting it dry before washing it off. This will help to reduce the constant itching and provide some much needed relief.
2 – Ice Packs
The pain and swelling that accompanies a rash of bed bug bites can certainly be annoying, but applying an ice pack to the area can often help to relieve the irritation. The cold pack numbs the nerve ending in the affected area, alleviating the itching and reducing the swelling.
Always wrap the ice in a towel or cloth before apply to the skin. Do not apply ice directly to the affected area.
3 – Oatmeal
One of the most common old-time remedies for all sorts of simple insect bites is oatmeal. The phenol found in oatmeal has been proven to be an effective treatment for the simple irritation and inflammation so commonly associated with bed bug bites. Simply apply a layer of cooked oatmeal to the affected area and the let the natural phenol do its work.
Be sure to allow the oatmeal to cool before applying to a bed bug rash. You don’t want to burn yourself.
4 – Lemon Juice
Lemon juice has been used as a natural antiseptic and to fight inflammation for centuries. It’s one of the most widely used natural anti-inflammatories in history. It not only helps to reduce swelling it can relieve the itching that comes with so many insect bites. Simply apply some fresh lemon juice to the affected area and wait for it to dry. It may take a few minutes before the affects are noticeable. Be patient.
Avoid applying lemon juice to an open wound. That can result in unwanted pain and irritation.
5 – Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is rich in acetic acids that have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Applying apple cider vinegar to a rash of bed bug bites can help to ease the burning and itching, ultimately bringing about some much needed relief. Apple cider vinegar can be applied every few hours as needed with no troublesome side effects (apart from the smell of vinegar).
Always use raw and unfiltered apple cider vinegar in this application.
6 – Baking Soda
This is one of the most popular home remedies on our list. It’s cheap and effective and can be used to alleviate the itching of bed bug bites, mosquito bites and spider bites. Simply make a paste by mixing regular baking soda with water. Spread the paste on the affected area and let dry. Rinse with cool water and repeat periodically as needed.
If the affected area becomes overly dry use a moisturizer to keep the skin from flaking or cracking.
7 –Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera gel is rich in amino acids and other active compounds that make it a go-to home remedy for a wide variety of skin irritations ranging from sunburn to insect bites. Simply apply a natural Aloe Vera gel to the affected area and work into the skin. The Aloe Vera will help to sooth the burning and itching, helping to heal the bed bug bits while moisturizing the surrounding skin.
A small Aloe Vera plant can be easily maintained as a houseplant and used as needed to treat minor burns and abrasions. Simply pull off a leaf and squeeze out the gel as needed.
Home Remedies to the Rescue
These simple home remedies provide much needed relief from the irritation and inflammation of bed bug bites. When over the counter treatments are unavailable, or when if you simply prefer to rely on a more natural approach to healing, these DIY remedies should see you through.