It is not uncommon for bed bug bites to go unnoticed or misdiagnosed. Literature suggests that between 60-85% of the population is NOT sensitive to bed bug bites and so they may miss the signs of an infestation. It is not uncommon for people to say they never knew they were bitten during the night. However for the 15-40% of the population that IS sensitive, they may not feel the actual bite in the night, but they will wake up one morning to red bumps or welts which initially may not itch. Overtime, if sensitive, one might start scratching and cause larger welts and sometimes infections.
There tends to be a staged
reaction for those sensitive to bed bug bites. First, you may notice small raised red bumps, usually in a
row. Different parts of the body react differently to the bites –
typically the face, hands, and feet reacting the most. You might
initially dismiss the bumps as mosquito bites or a rash.
Eventually, the bite sites may blister after exposure to perspiration, scratching, hot water baths, etc. Often this is the stage which prompts a
medical opinion. The medical profession is just becoming aware of bed
bugs. If a doctor or nurse has not been educated on bed bug bites
they may miss the signs. Conversely, they may over-diagnose bed bug
bites in an over reaction to community hysteria. Two important tips when faced with such unexplained bites:
1. Seek medical attention if welts worsen. Don’t
let a secondary infection set in. Avoid scratching bites. Guard against infection.
2. Learn how to inspect your home for bed bugs. When in doubt
call in an expert to confirm or rule out bed bugs so the
source of the welts can be identified as soon as possible. Swift action can help you avoid a costly large-scale infestation.
See picture below for an example of bed bug bites: