How to Avoid and Deal with Bed Bug and Mosquito Bites

| March 1, 2012 | 43 Comments
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If traveling long term it is likely that you will find yourself at some point in an area where there are mosquitoes are- a common source of disease-  and may come across another biting insect, the bed bug. These are especially prevalent in hostels and other types of budget accommodation that many backpackers stop in, and although the health problems associated with the former may be more serious, a bite from a bed bug can still be painful and require medical attention, which is obviously not ideal when you want to be out and about enjoying yourself.

So what can you do to avoid bites from these little creatures, or failing that treat them so they don’t lead to medical problems?

how to deal with bed bug bites

Mosquitoes

It is a little known fact that it is only female mosquitoes that pierce the skins of their victims and suck blood, and they do this to obtain the proteins they need to produce eggs.  They target some people more than others because of the smell of their sweat.  Bloodsucking by mosquitoes normally happens at dawn or dusk as the females tend to find a cool spot to rest in the heat of the day, and start by injecting saliva into the skin to stop the blood clotting as it is being sucked out.

Most species of mosquitoes are to be found in tropical and subtropical countries in Africa, Asia, South America and the Caribbean. Many of the countries where they are common are extremely poor and lack the resources required to combat the spread of these insects (for example by draining the swamps where they breed) or to treat effectively the diseases which they spread, thus it is imperative you carry appropriate protection and medication if you are heading to an area where you know you will find them.


Symptoms of mosquito bites

The symptoms of mosquito bites include:

  • redness around the bite
  • itching
  • swelling around the bite

The redness and itching are caused by the body’s immune system reacting to mosquito saliva. The symptoms can be visible immediately in especially sensitive people or, at the other extreme, the reaction to the mosquito bites can be delayed by several hours.

How to avoid and treat mosquito bites

The best thing is obviously to try to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes in the first place. There are two main ways of doing this: by creating a physical barrier between the mosquitoes and your skin (long sleeved clothes, mosquito nets over your bed while you are sleeping) or spraying an insect repellent (either chemical or made from natural oils like castor, clove, lemongrass or fennel) onto your skin to stop you being bitten. keeping your skin cool also helps, and using unscented soap or showering without soap will attract them less. If you are bitten, you can treat the symptoms with itching medicine, antihistamines or, in severe cases, steroids. Tea tree oil can also help to reduce the itching and swelling associated with mosquito bites.

how to deal with mosquito bites

Bed bugs

The bed bug is a parasitic insect which, like the mosquito, feeds on human blood. Bed bugs do most of their feeding at night when their victims are asleep, in bed, and do not realize what is happening.

Symptoms of bed bug bites

The symptoms of bed bug bites include:

  • a red rash on the skin, sometimes with a dark spot in the middle
  • itching
  • spots which appear on the face, neck, arms or hands in a line or cluster

 

How to spot and get rid of bed bugs

The bed bug is a small insect but is easily visible with the naked eye. They also have a distinctive smell which is often a sign of bed bug infestation in a room. You may also notice some reddish brown stains.

Bed bugs live in dark places where they lay their eggs.  As the name suggests, they are normally found in bed mattresses but can also live under wallpaper, behind walls or even in your clothes. You can get rid of them with either by spraying your bed with pesticides or by vacuuming it.

 

How to treat bed bug bites

The itching associated with bed bug bites can be treated using steroid creams or oral antihistamines which will quickly relieve the discomfort of this. Should the itching lead to excessive scratching, any bacterial infections in the affected areas will need to be treated with antibiotics which your doctor can prescribe for you- or simple buy over the counter in the country you are in if you don’t carry them with you in the first place.

I have only been bitten once by bed bugs and the itching lasted more than a week- the scars lasted much more. I did not have the appropriate medication nor was it available (we were in a small island off the East coast of Malaysia) but it did serve as a wake up call as to how uncomfortable the bites can be. The itching appeared to intensify during the nights and it was difficult to sleep, which I did with but waking up often and not resting as needed. Luckily, it has not happened again.But…

Has it happened to you? Have you been bit by bed bugs? Or heaps of mosquitoes? Share your anecdote with us in the comments section below, and any more tips you might have on how to deal with these insects bites´! Please don’t forget to share this post if you think others might find it useful or could provide interesting info…thanks!

[Photo credit @ Flickr bed bug by Lynn Friedman, mosquito by eyeweed]

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43 Responses to “How to Avoid and Deal with Bed Bug and Mosquito Bites”

  1. stephen says:

    Apparently New York hotels are infamous for having bed bugs.

    The other thing that is important is not to put your suitcase on the floor. Put it on that little stand they give you and keep it zipped up otherwise you can end up transporting the bed bugs back to your own home at the end of your travels.

  2. Allicia Tresch says:

    It makes me to freak out when there is bed bugs and mosquitoes in my room.I couldn’t sleep and I really don’t want these insects.

  3. Kate Bill says:

    Great post. Provide a lot of information so it is really awesome. I really don’t lime bed bug and mosquito bites so that you for the information on how to avoid in encountering this situation.

  4. Derek says:

    I’ve heard that mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide as you breathe. Not sure if that’s true or not, but I’m pretty sure not breathing isn’t an option. So far in my travels I haven’t come across any nasty little bed bugs so hopefully it stays that way. Ick!

  5. Joe says:

    Good post. Mosquito bites are one of the most annoying insect bites. Aside from the nuisance they bring, mosquitoes are carriers of deadly diseases like malaria, dengue fever, and encephalitis. Efforts to eradicate mosquitoes totally have gone futile over the years. The idea is to reduce the risk of mosquito bites by paying attention to the surrounding environment.

  6. Hi Federico, thanks for such an informative site.
    Your information is very useful and we can’t be too careful at checking on beds etc when we arrive at a destination… checking over the room before we actually move in.
    Once we are settled in the room it’s too late then when we discover it has bed bugs because the likelihood is that we can take some bugs out with us in our clothes and so they spread.
    Much worse if we take them to our own homes of course. Then we can actually have our own infestation. That would be terrible!

  7. Sebastian says:

    Great advices! I had bed bugs on a cruise at the whitsundays… we had to sleep on the deck for 3 nights!!!

  8. Beatriz says:

    I have visit one of our brother blog post and same as it was it provides an awareness to overcome this itchy insects… I saw that this can be harmful and will left a kind of crazy results once you experience a bug bite…

  9. Shanel says:

    This itchy insects, bed bug and mosquito destructed my beauty when I am at rest, hope you can update some more anti-bites information you can share with us…

  10. Bianca says:

    A job well done video for attaining all the comfort when taking at rest… Thanks for every tips you share with us here…

  11. Heide says:

    Thanks for sharing this one…because I really hate bug bites….Thanks also for sharing some video..

  12. carly says:

    Yikes! Bed bugs and mosquitoes freak me out! I got a bad case of bed bugs from traveling to Mexico once and was almost eaten alive by mosquitoes in Buzios, Brazil. I’m bookmarking this post to prepare for my next trip. :)

    • maitravelsite says:

      I hear you! I find bed bugs really annoying, the itching is stronger and becomes particularly intense. This said, there are some mosquitoes that are more annoying the others… particularly those small ones that bite through the clothes! Thanks for stopping by Carly :)

  13. Samantha says:

    bed bugs carry no contagious diseases. but you can carry them to the friends house . in your clothes and other belongings like shoes and other such personal stuff. and it dont take but one time and they will have the same problem you have . and this is easy to carry on board. so new clothes out of the store and dont take them home and shower somewhere else and comb the hair out and do every thing you can and then they may still be with you..

  14. Kelsey87 says:

    I hate bed bugs! and sharing with us effective tips to avoid is really a big help. Thanks for the video and job well done!

  15. Lenon35 says:

    Thanks for sharing every ideas here, especially this video clips that can surely help me in taking at rest without bites of a bug and mosquitoes…….

  16. Nicole says:

    this is so good .. their is prevention for this insects . specially mosquitoes and bed bugs..
    thanks for this article it’s really help us!! :)

  17. Sam says:

    My wife is so allergic to mosquito bites that her whole leg swells up if she’s bitten. Antihistamines don’t work at all. It’s a shame, as we tend to avoid places they might be.

  18. Emily says:

    Yikes…I am SO glad that have never encountered bed bugs during my travels! And while I have experienced awful mosquitos, it’s mostly been here in my state of TX :) Great tips!

  19. Minard says:

    One thing that I love is travelling and visiting different hotels or apartment for resting, but the one that really makes me crazy is the bites od crazy bug and mosquitoes… I know that everyone wanted to rest continuously without disturb….

  20. Christy38 says:

    I really hate when the moment I sleep, bug bites my eyes get red with itchy odor… Hopefully I can learn something more from it. Thanks for sharing all of this to all of us…

  21. Sherly12 says:

    Thanks for brought with us this video clips, I know that everyone will appreciate those several tips in order to have a great sleep without bug bites…

  22. Mrs.White says:

    I do love to share those tips to my friends because I know they are also encountered this case which bug bites hit their rest time… Thanks for sharing this one…

  23. Deanne35 says:

    I really hate how this bed bugs disturb my beauty rest moment, thanks for sharing several tips to avoid this crazy insects…

  24. Anna08 says:

    Thanks for this facts about bed bugs and mosquito.. When can’t really tell who is having a midnight snack on their own..

  25. Wynona says:

    Iv’e been also a victim of bed bugs and i never want to happen it again. good thing that you share these tips.. Thanks for sharing this. good job!

  26. Rose37 says:

    Thanks for sharing this kind of video clips, this one can pretty help me to have a kind of relaxation in laying my bed…

  27. I HATE bed bugs. As soon as I learned about them, I made sure to check every hostel bed I slept in to make sure there were no signs of bed bug life. As for the mossies, Deet works great for me. When I remember to put it on!

  28. The mosquitoes are eating me alive in Argentina! I have been told that some people are just more “attractive” to them, and I think I am one of those people.

  29. Graciella27 says:

    No.No.No with this Bed bugs and Mosquitoes, I really hate this insects… My moment at rest is acquire if this crazy insects won’t disturb my day…

  30. Charrmagn says:

    Bedbugs are really not good for us especially when we go to other places and have a vacation or sleepovers…This can help…

  31. Carlos says:

    Tips that would help you to avoid and deal with bites from these miniature creatures like mosquitoes and bedbugs especially on long travel. It reminds me of Malaria that i suffered which took me few days to get back to work and it was difficult to enjoy food .Videos are superb.

  32. Mirana says:

    I really hate bugs and mosquito.. Thanks for sharing some tips to avoid them..

  33. Rose37 says:

    Thanks for sharing with us effective tips to avoid/ kill Bed bug bites, I really hate bug bites that will disturb my beauty rest…

  34. Brandon says:

    Bed bug bites is the hilarious things, I never wish to have in my bed room… Thanks for sharing this video clips along with us…

  35. Mrs.Hawkins says:

    What a nice video clips, this can help to us to maintain our bed essential and well comfort to a partner like me… Thanks at all, because I really hate bug bites….

  36. Uhh this think still during in my tour? thank you to sharing this informative tips against this disgusting matter.

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Hi, I'm Federico. Join me as I travel the world visiting world famous destinations and explore those not as known, offering money saving tips and unique insights for your ultimate trip.

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