If you've seen bedbug bites, you know they can be pretty frightening, and the worst cases of bedbug bites look like a series of angry rashes from head to toe. Worse still, if you are sleeping in the same room with bedbugs, they can add more bites to your collection every night. Bedbug bites are itchy, ugly, and frustrating. But are they dangerous?
When bedbugs bite you, they inject a chemical that acts as an anesthesia in the area of the bedbug's bites; as a result, you likely won't feel a thing while the bedbugs are feasting on your blood, which explains why you can have multiple, even hundreds of bedbug bites and not wake up.
However, unlike mosquitos, bedbugs do not carry and spread diseases through their bites so you don't risk getting a serious illness from being bitten. Still, these bites can get quite annoying and an infestation should be taken care of as soon as its discovered.
Varying Chemical Sensitivity to Bites
People vary in sensitivity to the chemical injected when bedbugs bite, and the amount you suffer is unique depending on your body's reaction.
Some people are very allergic to the chemical, and break out in a rash. The rash—and possibly raised welts that might appear in each spot you received bedbug bites—may last as long as a few weeks before completely clearing up.
If you are lucky, though, you'll only get the raised welts that disappear after a few days. It's important not to scratch these bites, which can expose your skin to infection and, in turn, lead to complications like scarring. Treat the bedbug bites with a topical itch relief cream or oral antihistamine to relieve the itching, and see a doctor for something prescription-strength if you are having a lot of difficulties.
Other Reactions to Bedbug Bites
Bedbug bites and the accompanying rash are not contagious, although you may get a lot of strange looks from people. In fact, victims of bedbug bites report the reaction from friends and family to their appearance and their subsequent paranoia about bedbugs is the worst part of the ordeal.
Bedbugs do not spread disease by their bites, as insects like mosquitoes do, and you can also rest assured that a bedbug infestation, whether in your house or in a hotel, is not caused by dirt. Bedbugs can live in perfectly clean environments, as long as they have a live host to bite.
You can generally identify a bedbug bite in a number of ways. Keep in mind bedbug bites usually happen in groups of three and you'll rarely find a single bite. However, since bites look different on everyone, it's generally hard to pinpoint a bug bite as from a bedbug unless you see groups of bites.
If you're staying in a hotel or concerned that there might be a bedbug in your house because you've woken up with several bites on your body, make sure to check your bites against some images online then check your bedding for small, red bugs.