Most bites resolve within one to two weeks. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms, and include:
· Applying a topical cream, such as cortisone to relieve itching.
· Avoid scratching as this can cause infection.
· If infection does occur an oral antibiotic may be prescribed.
· If there is a severe allergic reaction oral corticosteroids may be prescribed.
· Antihistamines may also help relieve allergic reactions.
As soon as the symptoms are treated it will be necessary deal with the infestation (see belowControlling infestations of bed bugs)
Controlling infestations of bed bugs
A bed bug nymph ingests a blood meal from a human host
Since they can hide in so many places, they are not easy to eradicate. Unless you have a lot of time at your disposal, and limitless patience, it is advisable to get a professional in pest control. Experts know where to look for them, as well as how to get rid of them.
You can help the pest control professional by removing excess clutter form your house. If your stuff is strewn about rooms the bed bugs will have many extra places to hide, making inspection and eradication that much more difficult.
Some pest control companies may ask you to move furniture away from walls and mattresses and box springs stood on edge before they come in, while others prefer everything to be left where it is so that they can check before moving them themselves.
If you live in an apartment or a house that adjoins another one, it may be necessary to inspect adjoining dwellings to. Bed bugs can easily disperse throughout a building.
The following procedures are advised:
· Bedding and garments which are prone to infestation need to be bagged and laundered at 120 F minimum, because these items cannot be treated with insecticides. Or....
· Place these items in the clothes drier. Set it to high heat for ten to twenty minutes. "Dry-clean only" clothes may be placed in the drier as long as they are completely dry beforehand and are set at moderate heat (less than 160 F). It is possible to send your stuff off to be dry-cleaned - this will kill the bugs; but you may be passing your problem onto the dry-cleaning establishment. When the dry-cleaners open your bags and sort them the little bugs may get away and infest their new home.
· For things that cannot be treated by washing or placing in the drier, wrap them in plastic and place them outdoors in a very hot and sunny location for at least 24 hours. For best results pack each bag loosely. The aim is for an internal temperature of at least 120 F.
· Freezing may also work, but may take several days. It may be an option during winter months when finding hot and sunny locations may not be possible.
· Do not try to kill them off by ramping up the heating in your house - it won't work. Some pest control companies have special heaters for this.
· Although thorough vacuuming may not catch every single bug and egg, it will help get rid of some of the infestation before treatment with insecticides. When vacuuming make sure you include cracks and crevices. Dislodging eggs is extremely difficult - scraping as you vacuum along infested areas, such as fabric folds of beds and sofas and the perimeter edge of wall-to-wall carpets, is more effective. When you have finished make sure you place the vacuum cleaner contents in a sealed bag.
· You may find it is best to throw some infested items away. A pest control professional will help advise you. Make sure you bag these items carefully before moving them.
· Insecticides are a crucial part of getting rid of bed bugs. Do not use baits for ants and cockroaches, they will not work with bed bugs. A good pest control professional will treat all areas where bugs are found, as well as areas bugs tend to like. Depending on the size of your home and the severity of the infestation, this may take several hours. Follow-up visits may also be necessary.
· If you have recently got rid of bats or birds in and around your home it is possible that the bed bugs that fed on them may have switched to human hosts. Bat and bird nesting sites must be treated too.
Scientists at Ohio State University have determined that combining bed bugs' own chemical signals with a common insect control agent makes that treatment more effective at killing the bugs.