Ask A Skin Doctor: Bedbug Bites

Dear Doctor

Okay, so for about 3 months now, I get around 4-7 itchy, swollen bumps in different places on my body per week. They stay for about 3-4 days, then disappear. There is no bite places on the bumps. No pus comes out. The diameter of the bumps ranges from an inch to two. I normally get them on my legs or arms.

I have cleaned for bed bugs in mine and my boyfriend’s house. My family doctor didn’t know what they were. She just prescribed some steroid cream. They go away within 2-3 days using the cream as directed.

They are very irritating and I would appreciate some kind of explanation to what they might be, coming from an expert in the field of skin. Please and thank you for your time!

bedbug bites

Dear Patient

Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites

The symptoms of bed bug bites include red swellings which tend to be in a line with 3 to 5 bites like those seen in your picture.

But bed bugs tend to be on the face, neck and hands, though if you live in a hot place where you sleep with your legs uncovered they can also bite there.

To confirm that they are bed bug bites, look for other signs of their presence like red spots of blood in the beddings which occur as a result of the bug being smashed as it was feeding or as a result of bleeding from the bite site.

Black spots may also be seen on the beddings which represent bed bug feces. A sweet, musty odor may also be smelt on the beddings.


Treatment of Bed Bug Bites

Treatment of bed bug bite includes:

  1. Washing the area with soap and water.
  2. Applying a clean cloth dipped in cold to reduce the swelling.
  3. Applying a mild corticosteroid cream like 1% Hydrocortisone.
  4. Calling an exterminator to assess your home and get rid of the bed bugs.

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