Abdominal Pain - Female
Abdominal Pain - Male
Acne
Animal or Human Bite
Antibiotics: When Do They Help
Arm Injury
Arm Pain
Asthma Attack
Athlete's Foot
Back Pain
Bed Bug Bite
Bee or Yellow Jacket Sting
Blisters
Bottle-Feeding Formula Questions
Breast-Feeding Questions
Bruise
Burn
Chest Pain
Chickenpox
Circumcision Problems
Colds
Constipation
Cough
Coughs: Meds or Home Remedies
Cracked or Dry Skin
Cradle Cap
Croup
Crying Baby - Before 3 Months Old
Crying Child - 3 Months and Older
Cut, Scrape, or Bruise
Diaper Rash
Diarrhea
Diarrhea Diseases From Travel
Dizziness
Drinking Fluids - Decreased
Dry Skin
Ear - Congestion
Ear - Discharge
Ear - Injury
Ear - Pulling At or Rubbing
Ear - Swimmer's
Ear Infection Questions
Earache
Earwax Buildup
Ebola Exposure
Eczema
Emergency Symptoms Not to Miss
Eye - Allergy
Eye - Foreign Body or Object
Eye - Injury
Eye - Pus or Discharge
Eye - Red Without Pus
Eye - Swelling
Fever
Fever - How to Take the Temperature
Fever - Myths Versus Facts
Fifth Disease
Finger Injury
Fire Ant Sting
Flu
Fluid Intake Decreased
Food Allergy
Foreskin Care Questions
Frostbite
Genital Injury - Female
Genital Injury - Male
Hair Loss
Hand-Foot-And-Mouth Disease HFMD
Hay Fever
Head Injury
Headache
Heat Exposure and Reactions
Heat Rash
Hives
Human or Animal Bite
Immunization Reactions
Impetigo - Infected Sores
Infection Exposure Questions
Influenza - Seasonal
Influenza Exposure
Insect Bite
Jaundiced Newborn
Jellyfish Sting
Leg Injury
Leg Pain
Lice - Head
Lymph Nodes - Swollen
Medication - Refusal to Take
Mental Health Problems
Molluscum
Mosquito Bite
Mosquito-Borne Diseases from Travel
Motion Sickness
Mouth Injury
Mouth Ulcers
Neck Pain or Stiffness
Newborn Appearance Questions
Newborn Illness - How to Recognize
Newborn Rashes and Birthmarks
Newborn Reflexes and Behavior
Nose Allergy Hay Fever
Nose Injury
Nosebleed
Penis-Scrotum Symptoms
Pinworms
Poison Ivy - Oak - Sumac
Puncture Wound
Rash or Redness - Localized
Rash or Redness - Widespread
Reflux Spitting Up
Ringworm
Roseola
Scabies
Scrape
Sinus Pain or Congestion
Skin Foreign Body or Object
Skin Injury
Skin Lump
Sliver or Splinter
Sore Throat
Spider Bite
Spitting Up - Reflux
Stomach Pain - Female
Stomach Pain - Male
Stools - Blood In
Stools - Unusual Color
Strep Throat Exposure
Strep Throat Infection
Sty
Sunburn
Suture Questions
Swallowed Foreign Body or Object
Swallowed Harmless Substance
Swimmer's Itch - Lakes and Oceans
Tear Duct - Blocked
Teething
Thrush
Tick Bite
Toe Injury
Toenail - Ingrown
Tooth Injury
Toothache
Umbilical Cord Symptoms
Urinary Tract Infection - Female
Urination Pain - Female
Urination Pain - Male
Vaginal Symptoms
Vomiting With Diarrhea
Vomiting Without Diarrhea
Warts
Wheezing Other Than Asthma
Wound Infection

Resources

Is Your Child Sick?TM


Bed Bug Bite

Is this your child's symptom?

  • Bites from bed bugs

If NOT, try one of these:


Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites

  • Usually cause itchy, red bumps in a group or line
  • Often they look like a hive or mosquito bite
  • Bite may have a red dot (puncture) in the center. This is where the bed bug bit through the skin.
  • Occasionally, a small blister can occur in the center
  • Bites are usually on exposed skin (arms, legs and face)
  • Bites are usually first noted in the morning

Diagnosis of Bed Bug Bites

  • Live bed bugs hide and are not usually seen. Close inspection of the mattress may find some.
  • They are ¼ inch (6 mm), flat, oval shaped, reddish-brown bugs.
  • Suspect bed bugs if over 3 red bumps in a row are on exposed skin. The bumps or bites are very itchy.
  • Bed bug waste is found on bedding or mattress seams. It looks like dark brown flecks or coffee grounds.
  • A blood stain on the sheet may sometimes be found. This is from a bug smashed after feeding.

Cause of Bed Bug Bite Reactions

  • The skin bumps are the body's reaction to the bug's saliva.
  • While the bug is sucking blood, some of its secretions get mixed in.
  • Bed bugs are small visible blood-sucking bugs. They are about ¼ inch (6 mm) in length.
  • During the day, bed bugs hide in the corners of mattresses. They may also be found in bed crevices, floors, and walls.
  • At night, the bed bugs come out of hiding. They feed on humans for about 5 minutes.

Prevention of Getting Bed Bugs

  • Over half of bed bug infestations within homes start after recent travel.
  • Avoid hotels and hostels where bed bugs have been reported. (see bedbugregistry.com)
  • When you check into a hotel room, look for signs of bed bugs. Look for flecks of their waste (like coffee grounds) in the bedding and mattress. If present, ask for another room.
  • Keep your luggage and clothing on a luggage rack off the floor.
  • When you return from a trip, place all travel clothing into the clothes dryer. Run the dryer for 20 minutes. (Reason: The heat will kill any bed bugs or their eggs that are present). One pregnant bed bug can spread bed bugs to an entire house.

Frequent Questions (FAQs)

  • Can bed bugs transmit HIV or hepatitis? This is highly unlikely. It has never been reported.
  • Do bed bugs like dirt? Not really. What bed bugs like is the warmth of the human body. Dirty and cluttered spaces just give bed bugs a place to hide.
  • Are bed bugs too small to be seen? No. You can see adult bed bugs. They are about the size of an apple seed (4-7 mm; ¼ inch).
  • Are bed bugs scared of the light? They do prefer darkness. But keeping the light on will not stop bed bugs from biting you.

When to Call for Bed Bug Bite

Call 911 Now

  • Life-threatening allergic reaction suspected. Symptoms include sudden onset of trouble breathing or swallowing.
  • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Spreading red area or streak with fever
  • Spreading red area or streak that's very large
  • Your child looks or acts very sick

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Painful spreading redness started more than 24 hours after the bite. (Note: Any redness starting in the first 24 hours is a reaction to the bite)
  • More than 48 hours since the bite and redness gets larger
  • You think your child needs to be seen

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • Severe itching not better after 24 hours of steroid cream
  • Scab that looks infected (drains pus or gets bigger) not better with antibiotic ointment
  • After 7 days, bites not better
  • After 14 days, bites not gone
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Normal bed bug bite

Call 911 Now

  • Life-threatening allergic reaction suspected. Symptoms include sudden onset of trouble breathing or swallowing.
  • You think your child has a life-threatening emergency

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Spreading red area or streak with fever
  • Spreading red area or streak that's very large
  • Your child looks or acts very sick

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Painful spreading redness started more than 24 hours after the bite. (Note: Any redness starting in the first 24 hours is a reaction to the bite)
  • More than 48 hours since the bite and redness gets larger
  • You think your child needs to be seen

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • Severe itching not better after 24 hours of steroid cream
  • Scab that looks infected (drains pus or gets bigger) not better with antibiotic ointment
  • After 7 days, bites not better
  • After 14 days, bites not gone
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Normal bed bug bite

Care Advice for Bed Bug Bites

  1. What You Should Know About Bed Bug Bites:
    • Bed bug bites cause itchy red bumps.
    • They are usually less than ½ inch (12 mm) in size.
    • Some are larger (like a hive). These are normal reactions to a bed bug.
    • A large hive does not mean your child has an allergy.
    • The redness does not mean the bite is infected.
    • Bed bugs do not carry any infectious diseases.
    • Don't panic: You can get rid of bed bugs from your home.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Steroid Cream for Itching:
    • To reduce the itching, use 1% hydrocortisone cream (such as Cortaid). No prescription is needed.
    • Apply 3 times a day until the itch is gone.
    • If you don't have, apply a baking soda paste until you can get some.
  3. Allergy Medicine For Itching:
    • If the bite is still itchy, try an allergy medicine by mouth.
    • Benadryl is a good one. No prescription is needed.
  4. Try Not to Scratch:
    • Cut the fingernails short.
    • Help your child not to scratch.
    • Reason: Prevent a skin infection at the bite site.
  5. Bed Bug Repellents - Not Helpful:
    • Insect repellents do not keep bed bugs from biting.
    • Repellents containing DEET (used on skin) and permethrin (used on clothing) do not help.
  6. Removing Bed Bugs from Your Home:
    • Getting rid of bed bugs requires a licensed pest control service.
    • Look in the phone book or on the internet under Pest Control.
  7. What to Expect:
    • Any pinkness or redness usually lasts 3 days.
    • The swelling may last 7 days.
    • The itch may last for 2 weeks.
  8. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Bite looks infected (redness gets larger after 48 hours)
    • Large red bumps last more than 7 days
    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • Your child becomes worse

And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Copyright 1994-2017 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC. All rights reserved.

Select from over 100 symptoms to learn about managing your child's illness.