How to Treat Bed Bug Rash & Bites

What are the symptoms of a bed bug rash? Find out how to recognize bed bug bites rash and what remedies can help treat the itch and clear the skin rashes.

A person who is bitten by bed bugs may develop symptoms such as bed bug rashes that can be extremely itchy however the rash itself is not detrimental to anyone's health.

While the reddness and swells does not clear easily, the discomfort and itchiness can be easily treated with remedies that include medications as well as natural remedies.

What Are the First Signs and Symptoms of a Bed Bug Bite Rash?

It is very common for a bed bug rash to be mistaken for common household insects bites rash since a bed bug rash can look almost identical to those caused by other parasitic blood feeding insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, ants and lice.

In fact, most people do not know that they are bitten by bed bugs and may assume the rash as skin allergy without further notice. However the bites of bed bugs can be easily recognizable once you know what are the symptoms to look for.

The first tell tale signs of bed bug bites are the multiple small or raised red bumps on the skin that will always appear in a clustered pattern or in a row because of the tendency of the bloodsucking bugs to feed on the same location more than once.

The next tell tale sign to look for will be that you will get bitten every night while you are sleeping and develop large amount of these rashes every day, especially on the back, legs and arms which are common sites for bed bug bites.

Either way, for many people, these red bumps will often manifest hours or days after the actual biting. The bitten spots may soon begin to itch and if scratched, the bite area can become severly infected and inflammed.

How Long Does the Bite Rash Last?

How long a bed bug rash last is really dependent on the individuals being bitten. Some people will not have any reaction at all while for others who are skin sensitive to allergies, they may develop a skin rash together with the bite welts that can become extremely itchy as they get bitten repeatedly.

Bed Bug Rash On Hand
Image credit: unforth

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Typically bed bug rashes will show up a few hours after the actual biting but there are some cases whereby the skin rash does not appear until a few days or even two weeks later since this is dependent on the allergy reaction to the person that is being bitten.

Skin Reaction to Bed Bug Bites
Image credit: afpmb

Generally, the rash of bed bugs will last for two or three days and then slowly fade away. However the rashes can last much longer if the person is more allergic prone. Often it will require some medical intervention to finally clear up the skin rash completely.

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How to Treat & Stop the Itch?

Typically, steroid creams or oral antihistamines can be use to treat the bed bug rash to help alleviate the itchy feeling.


Topical steroid creams such as hydro-cortisone Cortaid Intensive Therapy can be very effective in helping to stop the itch and resolve the rash quickly.

Other oral steroids like Prednisone can also be use to treat the itch of a beg bug rash. Oral antihistamines like Benadryl can also be effective but may cause drowsiness so they should be use only at night. Other oral antihistamines that can be use during the day are Zyrtec and Claritin.

There are also other topical lotions and creams that can be applied to the rash to stop the itch. The best ones contain a mix of diphendrydramine to stop the itch and pramoxine to help with the pain. Similarly, creams and lotions that have benzyl alcohol can be use to treat pain and itching too.

Other natural remedies you can try to treat the rash include:

  1. Applying lukewarm water (preferably over 120 degrees F or 50 °C) immediately to the bites area is also known to provide relief to some people.

  2. Simply washing it regularly with antibacterial soap to keep bacteria from growing and causing infection.

  3. Calamine lotion will help protect the skin as it heals. It will also speed up the drying of the rash and help the area heal faster.

  4. Powdered oatmeal can be added to a lukewarm bath that is soaked in. It will provide relief from not only itching but reduce inflammations and irritation as well. It can also be made into paste and applied directly to the affect areas.

  5. A mixture of salt and baking soda can also be applied to the affected areas to relieve inflammation.

  6. A cotton ball dipped in Alka-Seltzer solution can be rubbed on the bed bug rash to help clear it up but should not be used if you are allergic to aspirin.

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