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Don't Let Those Annoying Bed Bugs Bite

Feb 7, 2008
"Good night, sleep tight; don't let the bed bugs bite". If you have bed bugs in your home, this simple sentiment seems much more like a faraway dream.

The history of bed bugs goes back centuries. These creatures have been documented as far back in as medieval times and classical Greece.

It's certainly uncomfortable trying to sleep in an infested bed, but the real discomfort happens when you wake up. The bites can cause redness, swelling and itch, but bed bugs are not able to transmit disease. Perhaps the greatest amount of grief comes with the shameful stigma associated with having bed bugs in the home. Many people believe that a bed bug infestation is detrimental to a relationship and may cause psychological strain.

There is no question that bed bugs are the cause of both mental and physical anguish. The mystery lies in the best way to deal with the bugs and treat their bites.

Bite Me

The bite of a bed bug will first appear as a welt, not unlike a mosquito bite. This will eventually become a red mark. The marks last for up to five days and, unlike the random appearance of mosquito bites, will appear in an orderly pattern.

Characteristics of Bed Bug Bites:

* Orderly pattern of bite marks

* Inflammation, irritation and destruction of localized tissues

* Allergic reactions, either immediate or delayed

Bed bugs bites cannot transmit harmful diseases, and their medical significance is limited to the basic itching and inflammation. Immediate treatment for the affected areas should involve a thorough washing with soap and water. Scratching is strongly discouraged, as this can lead to an infection that may require more advanced medical aid. Another recommendation is to treat the affected area with ice or an herbal remedy to help speed the healing process.

Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies can be successfully used to control infection and treat pain and itching. These applications can also help to improve symptoms, correct imbalances, increase energy and boost the immune system. Of course, keeping your body strong is important in promoting better overall health and quality of life.

Chinese herbs are advantageous when used in conjunction with other herbal remedies, depending on the status of the bed bug bite. Treatments that combine an optimized herbal mixture are highly effective in treating illnesses and addressing symptoms.

Here are some herbs that can be used to treat bed bug bites:

Wild Plantain: Known as the band-aid plant, pig's ear and ribwort, this common herb can be found growing wild in parks, playgrounds and even driveways. To characterize this herb, look for a series of five parallel veins that run on each leaf. Narrow leaf plantain has longer, thinner leaves and a small flower head that resembles a flying saucer. Broad leaf plantain has long and thin leaves, but a taller seed head. The seeds and leaves of some members of the plantain family may be eaten as food and used as medicinal treatments.

Common Mud: Plain old mud is the simplest and oldest poultice known to mankind. Bed bug bites can be soothed with powdered white clay that has been mixed with herbal tea. This type of clay may be successfully stored for a prolonged period of time with little chance of having fungal spores. Painful and severely itchy bites caused by bed bugs and other insects may also be treated with bland starchy substances. Arrowroot powder, grated potato and mallow root or finely ground grains such as oatmeal or rice can soothe the bite of the bed bug.

Fresh Herb Poultices: These can be more complicated to prepare than other herbal treatments. Fresh herbs are chewed and then applied directly to the bed bug bite. For maximum effect, cover the poultice with an adhesive bandage or large leaf to keep it in place.

Some popular choices for fresh herb poultice are:

* Chickweed - Stellaria media

* Comfrey - Symphytum uplandica x

* Wild Geranium - Geranium maculatum

* Wild mallow, or Malva neglecta

* Yellow dock - Rumex species

Herbal Leaves: The best herbal leaves to treat bed bug bites are those that come from willow, maple, oak or hazel trees. Be sure that you are able to positively identify these leaves before you chew them. The most recognizable and safest are maple and oak leaves. If a leaf has a slick or shiny appearance, it should be avoided. If you're not sure of the source, don't use the leaf as a treatment. Any leaves that taste bitter should be spit out immediately.

If bed bugs bite, you can still have a good night. Try one of these remedies to help take the itch and pain out of the bite.
About the Author
Contributor Sadie Bedgegood is an essayist for numerous web sites, on family life and family matter subjects.
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