Bed Bug Bites on Babies and Children- Health Risks and Treatment
Parents love their kids the most in this world; nothing can replace their love for them. And, seeing their kid in pain is like a nightmare for parents. But sometimes bed bugs get the better of your kids and may ruin the beautiful smile on their face. The good news is that the problem can be handled. One only needs to be patient and know how to go about the problem.
What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are blood-sucking parasites, scientifically called Cimex lectularius. It is a common bug that is primarily found in warm places such as mattresses, thus the name bed bugs.
Generally, bed bug bites do not require medication as these are known to be painless, but the discomfort and itchiness caused by these parasites can give your kids sleepless nights. Bed bug bites can easily be distinguished as they form red spotty lines or clusters on the skin, unlike the mosquito bite.
What are the Causes of Bed Bug Infestations?
Bed bugs are tiny insects that feed on blood and especially show up mostly in the night. They generally hide in the warm parts of the house such as unclean corners or mattresses.
Bed bugs do not have an association with how clean or dirty your surroundings are. Instead, they may emerge in places where a large number of people have been visiting, such as train stations, airports, hotels, etc. Hotel rooms become common breeding grounds, and sources of infestations and bed bugs can easily be brought home from the hotel room with your luggage! Carpets, furniture, linen, etc. become secondary sources of infestations.
What are the Signs of Bed Bug Bites on Babies and Kids?
Sometimes you may confuse bed bug bites for mosquito bites. Read the following symptoms to make sure that it is a bed bug bite that has been bothering your kid. These are the signs of a bed bug bite:
- Small clustered red bumps on the skin
- Small red bumps in a row or a line
- Puncture at the centre of the bump (this is where the bed bug may have bit your kid)
- Frequent itching and irritation
- Red patches on bare skin surfaces such as on the arms, legs or face
Can Bed Bug Bites on Children Cause Health Risks?
Bed bug bites do not call for medical assistance. But, a bed bug bite causes itchiness, and when your little bundle of joy scratches the site of the bite, it may lead to other infections. But then again, this situation may vary from kid to kid. Not everyone has to suffer from infections; some may have painless reddish blotches that may go away with time, without intervention.
The only side effect of a bed bug bite would be itching accompanied by irritation that may, in turn, give your child sleepless nights.
What are the Causes of Bed Bug Bite Reactions?
Bed bug bites rarely cause severe allergic reactions. However, there have been some cases where it has caused asthma attacks, anaphylactic shocks and severe skin infections. Your baby may suffer from a reaction to bed bug bites sometimes due to the following reasons.
- An anti-coagulant injected into the body during the bite determines the nature of the reaction to a bed bug bite.
- The number of times you’re bitten is also a factor in how the skin reacts.
Reactions also tend to vary based on the sensitivity of each person.
How is Diagnosis of Bed Bug Bites Done?
Diagnosis of a bed bug bite is not much of an issue. The following is considered to rule out a bed bug bite:
- The red bumpy appearance of the bed bug bites in clusters or in a line.
- Presence of rashes on the affected area.
- Presence of bed bug droppings and exoskeletons, i.e. tiny brown or red material and pale yellow empty skins.
Treatment for Bed Bug Bites
Treatment for bed bugs differs for babies and kids, depending on the age and severity of the bed bug bite.
Treatment for Babies
When looking for bed bug treatments safe for babies, you can try the following:
- Applying antiseptic creams
- Cleaning the area that has been bitten with water and soap
- Applying an ice pack on the affected area in intervals
- Applying baking soda paste on the bitten area
Treatment for Kids
When treating bed bug bites in kids, you can try these measures:
- Applying antiseptic creams
- Applying corticosteroid ointments
- Using oral corticosteroid prescribed by your physician
- Giving your kid oral antibiotic would be helpful in case of infection
Home Remedies to Treat Bug Bites on a Child
As discussed, bed bug bites don’t cause severe medical conditions. They can be managed easily and adopting certain home remedies can help your kid find some relief from those itchy bumps. Here are some that you can try:
- Mix baking soda in water and blend it well to form a paste. Apply it on the affected area.
- You could also apply sandal paste mixed with a tinge of turmeric. Sandal would trigger the cooling effect whereas turmeric would imitate the job of an antiseptic.
- Apply ice packs to provide a cooling effect to the affected area.
- Crush neem (Azadirachta indica) leaves and apply its paste on the affected area for rapid recovery.
How Can Bed Bug Bites be Prevented?
Do the following to prevent bed bug bites:
- Use bug resistant sprays around the home.
- Keep your kids well covered and avoid taking them outdoors for a long time.
- Keep windows and doors closed, especially during evening time.
- Apply mosquito repellant creams on bare body parts.
- Use hot water to wash your kids’ clothes to get rid of bed bugs.
- Check strollers that you rent when on trips.
- Vacuum clean the mattresses and carpets whenever possible.
When to Consult a Doctor?
Over-itching as a result of bed bug bites may lead to swollen or liquid filled scars that may require medical attention. Consulting a doctor, in the following cases would be a good option.
- If the size of the red bumps increase
- If your baby develops a fever
- If he develops respiratory issues due to allergic reactions
Bed bug bites on the baby’s face and on the body may lead to a lot of irritation. You can prevent these bites by following simple measures to keep your house clear of these pests. However, if your baby ends up getting bitten and the problem persists, consult a doctor immediately.
Also Read: Dog Bites in Kids