Ways & How

How to Treat Bed Bug Bites on Infants

How to Treat Bed Bug Bites on Infants

“Don’t let the bed bugs bite” may just be an expression, but for some parents, it becomes a mantra for their kids and infants. Bed bugs are tiny, flat blood-sucking insects belonging to the family Cimicidae. The most common culprits are Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus, reddish brown insects approximately the size of an apple seed. Bed bugs burrow into bed sheets, mattresses, couches and even wall cracks or wallpaper. They aren’t usually out during the daytime, but at night, they come out to find food in the form of a blood meal. They prefer feeding on humans and other mammals, and after feeding, usually hide in other nearby places.

Bed bugs infestations have been reported to be on the rise, probably due to the increase of international travel. Many parents concerned with their child’s health have to take extra precautions, especially when traveling, to prevent the transfer of bed bugs from hotels to the home. Other than preventing bed bug infestations and keeping your sheets and bed clean, you may need to know how to deal with bites for worst-case scenarios.



g bites can be very uncomfortable for children and infants. They appear as small, red, raised bumps and are very itchy. The itchiness may persist for several days until the redness subsides. However, there is no need for worry as bed bugs do not pose any serious threat and do not carry any other diseases. Below are some tips on how to treat bed bug bites on infants.

  1. Calamine lotion. This topical preparation consists of calamine and zinc oxide and comes in a light pink. Some commercial preparations contain medications like diphenhydramine for its anti-itch effect. Dab some of the lotion lightly on the area of the bed bug bites. Re-apply every 4-6 hours or as necessary to relieve itching.

  2. Over-the-counter topical steroid creams. There are creams that contain very low doses of corticosteroids, which prevent further inflammation and redness and help keep itching at bay. Some are 0.5 and 1 percent hydrocortisone creams that you can directly apply on the bug bites.

  3. Oral antihistamines. Antihistamines, or medications used to treat allergies, are often useful to treat conditions associated with itching, redness and swelling. You can give hydroxyzine (Atarax) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) to your baby. These medications may cause a bit of drowsiness, which can be advantageous in helping your child sleep despite the itching.

  4. Oatmeal baths. Oatmeal bath preparations are usually available at the drugstore, or you can simply prepare your own using powdered oatmeal. Just pour oatmeal into a separate tub of lukewarm water, and bathe your baby with it. Gently pour small amounts of the oatmeal water over the area with bed bugs bite. Rinse, then pat skin dry.

  5. Aloe vera gel. Mild aloe vera gel formulations can help soothe skin and ease itching. It also has antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help prevent further infections. Aside from aloe vera gel formulations, a freshly cut aloe leaf tip is an even better way to get the soothing gel.

Infants can often be irritable from the itchiness that bed bug bites cause. Try out the treatments above on how to treat bed bug bites on infants and see if they work well for your little one.

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