The very thought of being fed upon by bed bugs is enough to make most of us squirm in our seats as we reflexively scratch at some phantom itch, When it comes to unwanted pests bed bugs have certainly earned their place at the top of just about everyone’s hit list. But like it or not bed bugs are here to stay, and as infestation rates continue to spike around the country more and more people are being bitten and fed up by these blood-sucking parasites.
The Side Effects of Bed Bug Bites
The bed bug’s bite affects each victim differently. For most of us the bites result in a moderate irritation, typically accompanied by clusters of red welts often referred to as a “bed bug rash”. The bites are typically accompanied by an itching sensation that can last for days if steps are not taken to alleviate the condition. It’s unpleasant, and it’s irritating, but it’s only temporary and usually easily managed.
Other people, however, can have very different reactions. For some the bed bug bite causes a rather severe allergic reaction, often resulting in a more virulent bed bug rash and a much greater degree of itching and irritation. For these people the rash and the irritation can last for much longer intervals, becoming so severe that it takes prescription strength antihistamines to control the itching as well as pain relievers to address the accompanying pain and swelling.
Bite Marks and Scarring
For most of us the effects of a bed bug bite subsides over time. The rashes fade and the irritation dissipates until there is little or no sign of the attack. However, those that may be prone to suffering a more severe reaction to bed bug bites often find that, left untreated, the bite marks can linger and inevitably lead to scarring. That scarring acts as an advertisement for the victim’s bed bug infestation, and can lead to feelings of embarrassment, anxiety and agitation.
Bed bug scars can be avoided, however. But it is important for bite victims to take a proactive approach their condition, and actively treat the bite marks before they turn into lasting scars.
3 Tips for Treating Bed Bug Bite Marks and Avoiding Scars
There are a number of different options you can take to diminish the effects of bed bug bites and avoid any potential scarring. These tips are meant to help people manage their own bite symptoms. However, if your reaction is particularly severe it is advisable that you consult your family physician for help and advice in treating the rash and accompanying irritation.
The following tips will help to mitigate the effects of bed bug bites and ward off any potential scarring issues:
- Topical Ointments – Among the most popular treatments for bed bug bites are topical creams and ointments, including hydrocortisone and calamine lotion. These may be used to alleviate the discomfort associated with bed bug bites while reducing the duration of the rash. Ointments and creams typically need to be applied daily over a span of several weeks to achieve the desired results.
In addition to over the counter creams and ointments silicone scar treatment sheets can be used to avoid scarring. The silicone sheets are applied to the affected areas causing the bite marks to lighten and removing any moderate scarring. Silicone scar sheets can be found in most pharmacies and drug stores.
- Massaging the Affected Areas – One of the easiest ways to prevent scars from forming in the wake of bed bug bites is to regularly massage the area. This helps to break up nascent scar tissue, reducing its visibility and causing any lesions to fade more quickly.
Massage the area in a circular motion. This helps to keep blood circulating to the area to keep the skin nourished and healthy.
- Consult a Dermatologist – In some cases it may be necessary to consult a dermatologist to more effectively prevent any potential problems you may be having with scarring from bed bug bites.
A dermatologist can provide more advanced solutions, including prescription strength creams and lotions designed to fade scars and reduce any long term marring of the skin. For those people who develop scars of a deeper and darker nature a chemical peel may be recommended.
In extreme cases, where the scarring is especially severe, your dermatologist may advise you to consider laser treatments to break down the scar tissue and rejuvenate the skin. However, this is an expensive proposition and is really only suitable for those people who are suffering an extremely harsh case of scarring.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
Bed bug infestations are on the rise throughout the country, and infestation rates show little sign of easing any time soon. While most victims of bed bug bites survive their ordeal with little or no ill affect, others often struggle with the linger impact of scarring from their bites and rashes. Those scars can be debilitating if left untreated, and can be the cause of embarrassment, anxiety and depression.
As always, the best defense against bed bug bites is the elimination of the infestation itself. If you fear your home or office has been invaded by bed bugs now is the time to call in a bed bug removal expert. The sooner you address the infestation the better.
In the meantime, if you’re currently the victim of bed bug bites treat the rash and bite marks with care. Avoid scratching the affecting area and take any necessary steps to reduce any potential scarring that may result for the attack. If necessary, consult your family physician or a dermatologist for additional advice and treatment options.