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Minimal symptomatic treatment and good hygiene to prevent itching and secondary infections are usually sufficient treatment for most cases of bed bug bites.
A wide range of empirical treatments, including antibiotics, antihistamines, topical and oral corticosteroids, and epinephrine have been used for bite reactions with varying results. Treatment options for cutaneous and systemic reactions from bed bug bites have not been evaluated in clinical trials and there is no evidence that outcomes differ significantly from those receiving no treatment.
In more extensive or severe cases, topical steroid creams with or without systemic anti-H1 receptor antihistaminics may be given. Topical antiseptics or antibiotics as well as systemic antibiotics may be needed in the case of secondary infection.
- Goddard J, deShazo R, Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) and clinical consequences of their bites. JAMA 2009;301(13):1358-66.
- Thomas I, Kihiczak G, Schwartz R. Bedbug bites: a review. Int J Dermatol 2004;43(6):430-3.
- Burnett JW, Calton GJ, Morgan RJ. Bedbugs. Cutis 1986;38:20.
- Honig PJ. Arthropod bites, stings, and infestations: their prevention and treatment. Dermatol Pediatr 1986;3:189–97.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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