Bedbugs | Treatment

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How can I treat a bedbug bite?

Bedbug bites should go away within 2 weeks. In the meantime, you can try an over-the-counter (OTC) hydrocortisone cream or lotion on the affected skin to relieve the itchiness and swelling. An OTC antihistamine pill or cream called diphenhydramine (brand name: Benadryl) may also relieve itchiness caused by bedbug bites.

It’s important to avoid scratching your bites as much as possible. Scratching can damage your skin, which makes it more likely to get infected.

When should I go to the doctor?

If an OTC cream doesn’t relieve your itchiness, you may need to ask your doctor about a prescription-strength medicine to treat your symptoms.

If your bedbug bites become infected, talk to your doctor. You may have an infection if the skin around your bites becomes red and swollen, you have a fever, or your bites blister or become sores. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to treat your infection.

If you have a severe allergic reaction to a bedbug bite, see your doctor right away.

How can I get rid of bedbugs?

If you have bedbugs in your home, wash all of your pajamas and bedding in hot water and dry them in a hot dryer, or freeze them for at least 24 hours. Vacuum all of your furniture, especially your mattress and its seams. If your mattress is infested, either replace it or cover the mattress and box springs in plastic covers. Fix any cracks in your furniture. Fill and seal any cracks or holes in the walls or floors.

If your infestation is severe, you may need to contact a pest control professional. Ask questions about what chemicals they use, and be sure to keep children and pets away during spraying.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/11
Created: 10/09

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