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A 46-year-old member asked:

What do a bed bug bite look like and what do you do?

6 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Joseph Bouvier
Pediatrics 25 years experience
See below: Most insect which draw a blood meal though a bite will cause a local reaction with redness, swelling, warmth and itch. It is often impossible to tell these apart, but bedbugs will often leave a straight line or repeat bites whereas other bugs like mosquitos, fleas, etc. May look scattered. However, there are treated in the same way - wound care, steroid creams and antihistamines.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Bed bug bites may: Cause no sx's or signs in some except for 2 small points where skin was punctured by bedbug. When there's a reaction, it may show as fast as an hour or it may not show for several days after being bitten. It can cause itchy, pink, swollen, lesions which are clear in center. In cases of hypersensitivity blisters may develop. A telltale sign is a linear track of lesions from sequential feedings –.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Provided original answer
but that doesn't always occur. Bites are usually in areas that are exposed while sleeping-arms, shoulders,neck & legs. You can take antihistamines if you feel itchy. Topical steroid creams can be used on lesions. For a severe allergic reaction to bites – please seek medical evaluation and treatment.
Sep 20, 2013
Dr. David Hettinger
Podiatry 36 years experience
Red spots or bumps: These happen most often while you are alseep, so when you wake up you may find red spots or bumps that itch. They aren't dangerous, but they aren't pleasant either. They stop itching and go away within a week or two. No treatment is generally necessary except anti-itch measures.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Bed bugs: Bed bug bites may cause no symptoms or signs in some people. When there is a reaction, it may not show until several days after the bed bug has bitten. It can cause pink, swollen lesions on the skin. What can be telltale is when there is a linear track of lesions from sequential feedings – but that does not always occur. Here are some tell tale signs that your bites are being caused by bedbugs.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Provided original answer
First you may notice blood smears on your bedding (yes this is your blood). Remember that the blood smears usually turn black over time. Second you may see amber colored “shells” which occurs when the bed bug sheds it's exoskeleton. A third sign of infestation is bug feces on your sheets (brown- black dots). The fourth sign can occur with a heavy infestations – an odor that is described as “musty sweet” due to the bug's secretions. Don't expect to “see” the eggs. They are is small crevices, translucent and about 1/16th of an inch in length. You normally don't see a bed bug (they are nocturnal). The adult is 1/4th inch long & flat.
Aug 6, 2013
Dr. Sarah Kohl
Travel Medicine 35 years experience
Red bumps in a line: Bed bugs bites look like red bumps or welts. They are often in a line. They are very itchy.
Dr. Heidi Fowler
Psychiatry 25 years experience
Bites: Bed bug bites may cause no symptoms or signs in some people. When there is a reaction, it may not show until several days after the bed bug has bitten. It can cause pink, swollen, itchy lesions on the skin. What can be telltale is when there is a linear track of lesions from sequential feedings – but that does not always occur.

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Similar questions

A 40-year-old member asked:

Could you describe how does a bed bug bite look?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. David Hettinger
Podiatry 36 years experience
Red spots or bumps: These happen most often while you are alseep, so when you wake up you may find red spots or bumps that itch. They aren't dangerous, but they aren't pleasant either. They stop itching and go away within a week or two. No treatment is generally necessary except anti-itch measures.
A 40-year-old member asked:

What other bugs make bites that look like bed bug?

1 doctor answer1 doctor weighed in
Dr. Joseph Bouvier
Pediatrics 25 years experience
Many: Most insect which draw a blood meal though a bite will cause a local reaction with redness, swelling, warmth and itch. It is often impossible to tell these apart, but bedbugs will often leave a straight line or repeat bites whereas other bugs like mosquitos, fleas, etc. May look scattered. However, there are treated in the same way - wound care, steroid creams and antihistamines.
A 30-year-old member asked:

What does bed bug bits look like?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Joseph Bouvier
Pediatrics 25 years experience
See below: Most insect which draw a blood meal though a bite will cause a local reaction with redness, swelling, warmth and itch. It is often impossible to tell these apart, but bedbugs will often leave a straight line or repeat bites whereas other bugs like mosquitos, fleas, etc. May look scattered. However, there are treated in the same way - wound care, steroid creams and antihistamines.
A 42-year-old member asked:

What do bites from bed bugs look like?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Joseph Bouvier
Pediatrics 25 years experience
See below: Most insect which draw a blood meal though a bite will cause a local reaction with redness, swelling, warmth and itch. It is often impossible to tell these apart, but bedbugs will often leave a straight line or repeat bites whereas other bugs like mosquitos, fleas, etc. May look scattered. However, there are treated in the same way - wound care, steroid creams and antihistamines.
A 38-year-old member asked:

How does bed bugs bite look like?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Joseph Bouvier
Pediatrics 25 years experience
See below: Most insect which draw a blood meal though a bite will cause a local reaction with redness, swelling, warmth and itch. It is often impossible to tell these apart, but bedbugs will often leave a straight line or repeat bites whereas other bugs like mosquitos, fleas, etc. May look scattered. Spiders often leave a pair of small puncture wound in the center of the area of the bite-this is a diff.

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Last updated May 8, 2019

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