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Hey! A Bedbug Bit Me!

Medically reviewed by: Amy W. Anzilotti, MD

What's a Bedbug?

A bedbug is a small (about the size of an apple seed), flat, reddish-brown bug. Bedbugs are found all over the world.

Bedbugs come out at night to find food, feeding on human and animal blood. After their blood meal, bedbugs don't stay on a person or animal for long. Instead, they hide nearby, often in clothing or luggage, allowing them to spread when belongings move to another location.

What Does a Bedbug Bite Look and Feel Like?

If a person gets bitten by a bedbug, the bite will feel itchy. Bedbug bites look like little red bumps (similar to mosquito bites) and they can sometimes happen in a line on the body.

Bedbug bites on a hand

What Should I Do for a Bedbug Bite?

If you think you've been bitten by a bedbug, wash the bites with soap and water. To help with the itching, put some calamine lotion or a cold compress (like ice wrapped in a clean towel) on the area. Or an adult can find an anti-itch cream or medicine at the drugstore for you. Try not to scratch the bites too much because this can make them become infected. Bites clear up in 1–2 weeks.

What Do Doctors Do?

If you get an infection from scratching bedbug bites, a doctor will need to prescribe medicine to clear up the infection.

How Can I Avoid Bedbug Bites?

The best way to avoid getting bitten by bedbugs is to keep your room uncluttered so bedbugs won't have places to hide. It's also important to change your sheets once a week and vacuum the floor regularly.

If you think you have bedbugs, ask an adult about the best way to get rid of them.

Medically reviewed by: Amy W. Anzilotti, MD
Date reviewed: June 2023