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What are the symptoms and signs of bedbug bites?

Bedbugs bite and suck blood from humans. Bedbugs are most active at night and bite any exposed areas of skin while an individual is sleeping. The face, neck, hands, and arms are common sites for bedbug bites. The bite itself is painless and is not noticed. Small, flat, or raised bumps on the skin are the most common sign; redness, swelling, and itching commonly occur. If scratched, the bite areas can become infected. A peculiarity of bedbug bites is the tendency to find several bites lined up in a row. Infectious-disease specialists refer to this series of bites as the "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" sign, signifying the sequential feeding that occurs from site to site. In some people, the bites can take several days to develop. The signs may become apparent up to 14 days after the bite has occurred.

Bedbug bites may go unnoticed or be mistaken for flea or mosquito bites or other types of rash or skin conditions, since the signs of bedbug bites are difficult to distinguish from other bites or skin conditions. Bedbugs also have glands whose secretions may leave musty odors, and they also may leave dark fecal spots on bed sheets and around places where they hide (in crevices or protected areas around the bed or anywhere in the room).

Bedbugs have not been conclusively proven to carry infectious microbes. However, health researchers have implicated bedbugs as possible vectors of American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) in areas where this disease is endemic, and studies are ongoing to determine whether bedbugs may serve as carriers of other diseases.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: johngo, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: December 22

I have been experiencing itching in a few different places on arms and legs. The itching is always those same few areas and it itches like crazy and won't stop for a couple of hours. But when I check out the itchy areas I don't see anything but a little redness where ive been scratching. It's been consistently in the same areas and I just found out someone I know has bedbugs and I have sat on their couch! I hope I am wrong but ive never had this kind of itching experience before.

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Comment from: slhall61, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 28

My first symptoms of bedbugs were rashes that got worse as the day wore on, small and large red raised lumps, (some looked like mosquito bites, some like hives, and some like allergic patches) up to 3x4 inch areas. And the itched like crazy for days! (Up to 10 days each.)

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Comment from: bb1985, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: August 19

My initial sign was odd bites on my neck, then noticed the trail of blood on my tile floor from my bed post to under the baseboard on the wall facing the apartment they originated in. People say they are harmless and just an annoyance, but they are mentally damaging, and scar your body from the bites. I still have scars over a year later from them. And had to be on steroid and anti-itch creams for a good while. I can't travel for fear of being in a hotel room at night, where they are often found the most. It has scarred me in many ways.

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