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Are Bed Bug Bites Dangerous?

According to the CDC, bed bugs are rarely dangerous and do not spread disease. They can still be devastating to deal with. Keep an eye out for these physical and emotional symptoms, especially allergic reactions, if you think you have bed bugs.

Symptoms of Bed Bug Bites

Itching and Welts

Itching and welts are the most common symptoms of bed bugs. The severity of the reaction can very widely. Some people get tiny spots that hardly itch. Others get large welts that itch regularly and can impact their quality of life.

Resist the urge to scratch bed bug bites. Constant scratching can tear the skin and lead to infections. It is always a good idea to see a doctor if you notice and struggle with these symptoms. Topical creams and oral antihistamines are common solutions to the itching.

Sleep Loss

Sleep loss related to bed bug infestation can come from two things. Itching from the bites can easily keep you awake, and treating the itching may be necessary. Anxiety and frustration from dealing with the infestation can also cause sleeplessness. The lack of sleep can lead to difficulty concentrating during the day, have a negative impact on your emotions and affect your coordination.

Allergic Reactions

The only instance in which bed bug bites are dangerous is in the case of a severe allergic reaction. Signs of a severe allergic reaction include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tightness in the chest and lungs
  • Weak, rapid pulse
  • Wheezing
  • Swelling of the face, lips, throat or tongue
  • Nausea, with or without vomiting
  • Dizziness

While rare, these reactions require immediate medical attention. If you suspect you or a member of your family is having a severe allergic reaction, call 911 immediately. It may be necessary for the affected person to stay elsewhere while the infestation is cleared up. Take proper precautions to avoid spreading the infestation, such as having them shower immediately and launder their clothes when they reach their destination.


Research performed by New York University suggests that coping with bed bug infestations can cause anxiety and depression. It can affect self-esteem, and the upheaval of having your home turned upside down can be difficult to handle. Some people can also suffer from tactile hallucinations, experiencing the sensation of bugs crawling over their skin even once the infestation has been taken care of. Speak with a doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms during or after an infestation.

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