After being born, your baby becomes the most precious being on the planet. You wouldn’t hesitate to give him your best and protect your baby from bedbugs and every other insect. When he’s sick, you do whatever it takes to make him feel better, and if this is your first child, you may even feel frightened and worried about every sound and movement he makes. Then, bed bugs start biting your child at night and leaving marks all over his skin.
Are they really bed bugs? How can you tell? What will happen to your child and what can you do to solve the problem?
Baby Bed bug bites
Bed bugs are very small insects with an oval shape and brownish, yellowish, or reddish color. They suck blood from humans and animals, and their size is similar to that of an apple seed. You can see them clearly without any visual aid, unless you have visual acuity problems. They do not fly. Instead, they move rapidly and crawl through walls and ceilings without any problem.
The reason why you only see bites and not bed bugs is because they only crawl out of their hiding places at night, when everyone is asleep. This is the perfect moment to suck blood from humans lying in their beds, or babies in their cradle.
Bed bugs biting your baby can be hiding in their cradle or inside the mattress. Anywhere that is dark and has cracks or crevasses will be a perfect hiding place for bed bugs. Once in their hiding place, bed bugs can lay eggs, and hundreds of new bed bugs will continue to appear and reproduce in no time.
They can last up to 1 year without biting or sucking on blood, but there could be thousands of these little crawlers in your house without leaving any notice. Only leaving biting marks in your body and that of your child.
You can recognize bed bug bites in your child because they are often located in clusters. They are rarely found in distant places of the body because they cannot fly. Instead, they crawl in the skin and leave marks wherever they go. Sometimes you can also see reddish or brownish stains in your bed sheets if you suddenly turn over in your dreams and crush them against your skin and the bed.
Home remedies to protect your baby
In most cases, bed bug bites can significantly improve with home remedies. If you or your children are suffering from bed bug bites, you can use the following home remedies:
- Cold temperatures: Using cold temperatures can make the skin reduce inflammation and swelling. It is also useful to relieve itching. If you’re applying cooling creams or cold temperatures to your baby, we recommend applying them to yourself first or warm them a bit by rubbing your hands before applying to their skin.
- Soothing creams: Soothing creams are fantastic to relieve itching and reduce the irritability your baby feels after being bitten. One of the best active ingredients in creams is calamine, but you can also use hydrating creams for that purpose.
- Oatmeal baths: This measure is fantastic for babies and small children. Prepare an oatmeal bath or apply oatmeal directly to the skin. It has a soothing effect and reduces inflammation and swelling.
Remember that not everything will be solved by using home remedies. Even if you see significant improvements, we urge you to consider talking to your pediatrician to get useful guidance according to your particular case. Avoid using topical steroids or any other topical drug that may change the configuration and characteristics of the lesions. Dermatologists and pediatricians need to examine the lesions without any change to diagnose the problem and give you an appropriate solution.
Are they dangerous for your baby?
New parents are often worried about every change they see in their baby, and insect bites prompt many questions at the same time: Is it dangerous? Are these bed bugs carrying an infectious disease to my baby? Is he allergic to these bites? How can I recognize a dangerous lesion in the skin?
First off, we need to know that bed bugs are known to carry microbes around, but they do not transmit any infectious disease. They are not like mosquitoes and other insects that inject microbes into the body when they are biting. This type of insects are known as vectors because microbes and parasites use them to reach the human body and infect. Still, bed bugs have certain risks associated to their bites.
The most common adverse event associated with bed bug bites in your baby has to do with allergic reactions. This allergic reaction looks like a bump similar to that of a mosquito bite, but they last for a longer time, sometimes 2 or 3 weeks. If your child has sufficient motor control and scratches the bitten area, he may also break the skin and introduce infectious organisms. An infected bitten area is much more dangerous than a simple bite.
So, there are a few warning signs and symptoms you should look out for:
- Trouble breathing
- Hives and intense itching
- Anxiety and irritability
- Blue or pale skin
- Reddened scratch lines on the skin
- Red lesions oozing a yellowish or whitish substance
If you find any of the signs and symptoms above, talk to your pediatrician as soon as possible.
How do you get rid of bed bugs?
If you want a long-term solution for your problem, you don’t want to focus only on improving the symptoms and the lesions in your baby. You may also need to find where bed bugs are hiding and get rid of them as soon as possible. If this is the first time that you’re having this problem, it is likely you don’t have a very severe infestation. With that in mind how do you get rid of bedbugs fast? So its basically a combination of these home measures may be useful in your case:
- Inspect and clear the clutter: If you have stacked newspapers and magazines, unused items, a messy environment or a locked room with old furniture and objects, you need to inspect all of this and probably get rid of most of it. Bed bugs can use any small crack or dark corner to hide and reproduce.
- Clean thoroughly: It is very important to clean your spaces at home, and do it thoroughly. It is the only way to find cracks in the walls, folds in the wallpaper, and other potential hiding places that bed bugs are probably using. After washing your clothes, you may also need to seal them in plastic bags. Keep everything clean, washing your floors and vacuuming your carpets. After doing so, double-bag the vacuum bag and throw it to the trash can.
- Inspect your furniture: Bed bugs can be hiding in any dark crevice or cracks in the furniture. Inspect your bed, the baby’s cradle, and similar places in your room and outside of the room. Give special attention to old furniture and second hand furniture you’ve recently acquired.
- Change your bed linens: It is also important to change all of the beddings in your home. Sheets, pillowcases, bed linens, everything should be inspected to the detail, washed, dried, and sealed in bags.
These changes and inspections in your house should be accompanied with one or a combination of the following extermination methods:
- Steaming: This is one of the best methods to kill bed bugs in your clothes and your carpets. Make sure the steam reaches 120 ºF, which is the threshold temperature bed bugs can handle. You can also use boiled water to the same temperature and above.
- Insecticides: There are many insecticides, and most of them are effective against bed bugs. We recommend those that contain IGR, an active ingredient also known as Insect Growth Regulator. These insecticides are especially effective if you’re starting to see signs of bed bugs in your house and do not have a very severe infestation at home. Just be sure to apply insecticides using precautionary measures to prevent affecting your baby with these dangerous substances.
- Diatomaceous earth: This is a safe method, at least compared to insecticides. It is not toxic and what it does is drying up bed bugs. You can find it in powder form, but also as a spray you can apply to suspicious areas in your home.
But even if you use all of the methods above, there’s a chance you won’t get rid of bed bugs. If that’s the case, and if you consider your bed bug infestation is severe, consider hiring a professional. They have the appropriate tools and precautionary measures to exterminate bed bugs while maintaining your family and pets completely safe.
The Irony of Baby Bed Bugs biting your Baby is real……
Bed bugs are a pest by themselves, but they become a hideous and despicable adversary when they start affecting your baby. Bed bug bites can be recognized in your children because they are found in clusters, and not dispersed in distant areas of the skin. They are usually red spots, sometimes a bit swollen, but you need to stay on guard about a series of warning signs, such as severe swelling, irritability, vomiting, and difficulty to breathe.
If this happens to you or your children, you can use home remedies like calamine and cooling creams. It is also important to solve the problem by inspecting your house, cleaning thoroughly, and using different substances to kill bed bugs, always carefully to avoid affecting your baby.
If you feel you can’t handle the situation, we urge you to call for professional help to get rid of bed bugs. It is also important to talk to your pediatrician about the skin lesions in your child in order to rule out other causes and prevent any health complication.
Dang, K., Doggett, S. L., Singham, G. V., & Lee, C. Y. (2017). Insecticide resistance and resistance mechanisms in bed bugs, Cimex spp.(Hemiptera: Cimicidae). Parasites & vectors, 10(1), 1-31.
Scarupa, M. D., & Economides, A. (2006). Bedbug bites masquerading as urticaria. Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 117(6), 1508.
Goddard, J., & deshazo, R. (2009). Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) and clinical consequences of their bites. Jama, 301(13), 1358-1366.