Skip to main content
Go to homepage

Print Page


What Are Bedbugs?

Bedbugs are small, flat, reddish-brown bugs about the size of an apple seed. They can be found all over the world. Bedbugs hide during the day in or around beds and crevices in chairs, couches, curtains, rugs, dressers, and even in cracks of walls and floors and behind wallpaper.

They 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 Are the Signs of Bedbugs?

A person does not usually feel the actual bedbug bite. Afterward, 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. The bites are mainly on areas of skin that are exposed while sleeping.

Bedbugs are a nuisance, but they don't spread germs or diseases.

How Do People Get Bedbugs?

Some people think that a dirty room will bring bedbugs, but this isn't true. Bedbugs can live anywhere if they have food. If a room is cluttered, it helps them to hide. But clutter itself won't attract them.

Bedbugs are commonly seen in places that have a high guest turnover, such as hotels, hospitals, or nursing homes. But they can be found in many other places, such as on public transportation, in apartment buildings, and in dorms. They travel from place to place on clothing, furniture, and luggage.

How Do I Know if It's Bedbugs?

Bedbug bites can look similar to other bug bites, like mosquito bites or chigger bites.

To know it's bedbugs, it's important to find the bugs themselves. Look at bedsheets and mattresses for little spots of blood, rusty-looking stains (crushed bugs), or black dots (bugs' poop). You might see live bugs around the seams or tags of mattresses and box springs, or in cracks of bed frames and other furniture. They can even hide in books, carpet edges, and electrical outlets.

How Are Bedbug Bites Treated?

If you think you've been bitten by a bedbug, wash the bites with soap and water. Calamine lotion, an anti-itch cream, or cool compresses can help with the itching. In some cases, an antihistamine by mouth can ease itching. Bites clear up in 1–2 weeks.

Don't scratch a bedbug bite. Doing so can cause a skin infection, such as impetigo and, rarely, cellulitis. If an infection does happen, a doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat it.

How Can I Prevent Bringing Bedbugs Into My Home?

If your home has bedbugs, don't feel bad. Bedbug infestations are common. They can come into your home on furniture, bedding, luggage, boxes, or clothing.

To help prevent bedbugs in your home:

  • Check secondhand furniture for signs of bedbugs before bringing it home.
  • Cover your mattress and box spring with a plastic protective cover.
  • Reduce clutter in your home and vacuum often.

To help prevent bedbugs from traveling:

  • Check mattresses and headboards for signs of bedbugs.
  • Put luggage on the dresser or table rather than the floor.
  • Hang up clothing instead of putting in drawers.
  • Check websites for bedbug infestation reports by city (and sometimes by hotel).
  • Check your luggage for signs of bedbugs before bringing the luggage into your home. Unpack directly into the washing machine. Wash and dry your clothes on the hottest setting. If you can't wash your clothing right away, put it in a sealed plastic bag until you can wash it.

Reviewed by: Amy W. Anzilotti, MD
Date Reviewed: Jun 20, 2023

Lea este articulo en Español

What next?

By using this site, you consent to our use of cookies. To learn more, read our privacy policy.

Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
There are 10 nurses in the picture.

And we have many more pediatric primary care providers in Northeast Ohio. You can meet some of them here.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The five differences are:
– Phone color
– Coat pocket
– Stethoscope earpiece color
– Stethoscope bell dot
– Clipboard paper color

Need help finding a doctor, choosing a location or getting a general question about Akron Children's answered? Call us or fill out the form and we'll help in any way we can.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The two matching doctors are 9 and 14.

With virtual visits, you can see our pediatric experts from the comfort of home or wherever you are.
Summit Mall Play Area
Answer Key:
Click to expand
The correct path:
The Correct Path
We offer many ways to get pediatric care all over Northeast Ohio. Use this page to find the right kind of care and the most convenient location for you.