Most times, it is hard to tell if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug unless you find bed bugs or signs of infestation. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from realizing they are being bitten. Most people do not realize they have been bitten until bite marks appear anywhere from one to several days after the initial bite. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea — a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line. Other symptoms of bed bug bites include insomnia, anxiety, and skin problems that arise from profuse scratching of the bites.
Because bed bug bites affect everyone differently, some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites. These allergic symptoms can include enlarged bite marks, painful swellings at the bite site, and, on rare occasions, anaphylaxis.
Most people do find that bed bug bites are not actually painful. Instead, they are annoying, irritating, and bothersome. When bed bugs bite people, it can lead to a small amount of swelling around the bitten area. In some cases, a slight lump or bump will also develop directly on the bite area. If you have ever experienced a flea bit or mosquito bite, then you will find that a bed bug bite is roughly the same experience.
The swelling, slight redness, and tiny lump may be a source of irritation. You may find that you have an urge to scratch. Giving in to this urge can actually cause the bite to become painful when it wasn’t in the first place, because irritating the bite site and possibly breaking the skin with vigorous scratching is simply not a good idea. What can make bed bug bites even more annoying is the fact that the nature of a bed bug infestation will bring the victim into the bugs’ vicinity over and over. This means that the bugs will have a frequent opportunity to inflict even more bites, and over time the sum total of all of these can be quite bothersome for people, even if it never reaches the level of actual pain.
Some people find that while the bites are not causing them any physical pain, they are more than sufficient to inflict great psychological distress. Since the bites are unsightly, people who suffer them may feel self-conscious. Even worse, they may begin to feel ashamed of being a bed bug bite victim. This is due to a common but completely false impression that bed bugs are a sign of poverty. This is simply not the case. Bed bug problems are the sign of a bed bug infestation and nothing more. Bed bugs do not hunt out the poorer areas in town and then decide to take up residence there. They can, in fact, be found in the middle-class and even rich neighborhoods as well.
In addition to psychological distress, bed bug bites can in rare cases be responsible for an extreme physical reaction. If you happen to be allergic to the substances a bed bug injects into the bite to make the blood flow more easily, then you can experience a severe reaction known as anaphylactic shock. This is quite rare, but if it happens to you or a loved one, it may require the intervention of trained medical personnel or even a visit to the local emergency room.
The possibility of an allergic reaction is just one more reason, as if anyone needed more, to take steps today to eradicate bedbugs from your environment.