Discovering that overnight you have been bitten by a dreaded bed bug can be very unsettling. However, treating a bed bug bite is relatively simple. With a few of our natural remedies and ‘old wives tales’ you’ll be able to help reduce and relieve some of your symptoms.
The first step to treating a bed bug bite will be washing the affected areas with soap and warm water. They can often also be relieved by applying an ice pack to reduce the swelling. If you’re finding the itching extremely uncomfortable then you could also take an antihistamine to help fight the irritation.
Treating bed bug bites: ‘old wives tales’ and natural remedies
- Calamine lotion: Calamine lotion is ideal when it comes to the treatment of bed bug bites. It relieves itching and also helps to dry rashes and protect the skin.
- Baking soda and water: Using these ingredients you should make a paste and then apply it directly to the skin. Let it dry before wiping it off with a cotton pad.
- Toothpaste: The menthol contained in toothpaste is a good anti-itch remedy. Apply a generous amount to the bite to soothe the burning sensation and itching.
- Witch Hazel: This plant provides a mild anaesthetic affect that assists in calming itching after a bite. You can find Witch Hazel In form of an infusion, capsules or mother tincture.
- Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera (either “fresh” or as a gel) works well against insect bites. The active substances and amino acids present in aloe vera helps relieve itching and burning sensations you can receive from a bite.
- Lemon juice: It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It is also a natural astringent. Lemon juice can help dry rashes and itchiness while also reducing the redness and calm down the swelling.
Preventing a bed bug infestation:
Here are five tips to help ensure you don’t bring an infestation home with you:
- Before you travel, check sites like TripAdvisor for customer reviews.
Has your hotel had a problem with bed bugs in the past? If so, there’s a fair chance guests will have taken the time to share their story to warn others. It’s always best to check ahead of time so you don’t encounter any unwanted guests.
- Check your case and hotel room when you arrive.
When you enter a hotel room, make sure you check for signs of bedbugs before you start unpacking. The usual signs to look for are live insects, shed skins or blood spotting around your bed frame, mattress or headboard. In hotels, they’re usually found on the bed, but can also be found behind skirting boards, under loose wallpaper, pictures, mirrors and furniture.
- Don’t put your case on the bed when you arrive.
It’s the first thing many of us do when we arrive somewhere new, but if you suspect that there’s an issue, put your case in an empty bath or shower. This helps to reduce the risk of ‘bed bug hitchhikers’- bugs crawling from the bedding inside your bag or case and on to your clothing and vice versa.
- Ask to change rooms.
If you suspect bed bugs are present, then ask to change hotel rooms and request one on a different floor, which is not directly above or below the suspected room. This is because bed bugs can travel up and down between rooms.
- Search and wash your belongings as soon as you get home.
When you get back home after a trip, make sure you do the same as when you arrived at your hotel: put your case in a bath and check for signs of bugs as you unpack your clothing. Even if you don’t find any evidence of bugs, it’s always good to wash any clothing you took with you on a 60-degree wash to help kill any live bugs or eggs.
If you are unfortunate enough to have a bed bug infestation then it is advisable to seek the help of a pest control professional. They will know how to treat your problem quickly and efficiently with specialised solutions, such as heat treatment, that successfully eradicate bed bugs as well as their eggs.