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Bed Bug Bites vs. Flea Bites in Infants: Know the Difference!

Your infant spends a lot of time in their crib or on the floor. If you’ve ever noticed a small bump on their skin, it’s most likely an insect bite. Learn how to distinguish between the bed bug and flea varieties.

Symptoms of bed bug bites vs. flea bites 

The first step in diagnosing a bite is knowing exactly what to look for. Both types of household pests cause itching, discomfort, and other symptoms. Bed bug bites can appear on any limb, whereas flea bites are usually found on the legs.

  • Symptoms of bed bug bites:

Since bed bugs inhabit mattresses, linens, and even bed frames, they have easy access to almost any part of your baby’s body. Telltale signs include tiny spots of blood on the bedsheets. The presence of bed bugs creates symptoms such as:

  • small bites on the arms, legs, or back
  • wheals, or welts, forming lines across the skin
  • purpura (a rash of purple spots)
  • itching in the affected areas
  • Symptoms of flea bites:

Fleas are extremely minute pests with long legs which allow them to jump great distances. They generally originate in the coats of fur on your pets. Flea bite symptoms often include:

  • swelling around the bite
  • hives
  • clusters of bumps
  • rashes
  • diarrhea and vomiting (caused by flea infections like cryptosporidium)

Though studies have revealed certain pathogens in bed bugs, there’s no direct evidence proving that they transmit diseases to humans. Fleas, on the other hand, were responsible for the plague that decimated Europe in preindustrial times. Therefore, it’s a good idea to care for insect bites as soon as you notice them. Just remember to consult your pediatrician before starting any course of medical treatment.

Treatment for bed bug bites:

The pain and itchiness of bed bug bites may encourage your child to scratch the affected areas. Prolonged scratching damages capillaries beneath the surface of their skin, producing redness and inflammation. Prevent this from happening by using:

  • anti-itch creams
  • topical steroid creams
  • antihistamines (only if the bite triggers an allergic reaction and your pediatrician approves)
  • doctor-prescribed antibiotics to clear up potential infections

Treatment for flea bites:

There are several over-the-counter remedies available when your little one’s been bitten by fleas, including:

  • calamine lotion
  • cortisone
  • skin sanitizer (ask your pediatrician for suggestions on the right one)

Prevention of bed bug bites vs. flea bites 

Bed bug and flea bites are an obvious nuisance which affect the health of your baby, and the very best possible treatment is prevention. Read on to find out how you can rid your home of these annoying parasites.

Eliminating bed bugs:

Once bed bugs have gained a foothold in your house, it’s very difficult to remove the infestation. More often than not, you’ll require the services of a professional exterminator. It’s also helpful to:

  • Wash bedding frequently and on high heat.
  • Caulk any cracks in your walls.
  • Cover as much of your infant’s skin as possible when sleeping.

Eliminating fleas:

As previously mentioned, the pets in your home are the likeliest source of flea problems. Keep the situation under control by remembering to:

  • Thoroughly vacuum the house regularly.
  • Discard used vacuum bags where fleas and eggs continue to live.
  • Treat pets with vet-prescribed anti-flea medications.
  • Frequently mow your lawn if your pets are often outdoors.

Although these preventive measures might seem like a lot of work, a flea or bed bug infestation would be far more stressful in the long run.

Risk factors for bed bug bites vs. flea bites 

The colonization of your home by these pests is never a coincidence. There are always certain risk factors which make your surroundings vulnerable to bed bug and flea attacks. They include:

  • pets with shaggy coats that provide a perfect habitat for fleas
  • buying secondhand furniture already harboring bed bugs
  • poor hygiene which creates an ideal environment for fleas
  • visiting hospitals, where bed bugs are common, for postnatal checkups
  • having friends and family over who might carry eggs or nymphs on their clothing
  • piles of clutter around the house that attract bed bugs
  • living in shared quarters where bed bugs spread quickly

By eliminating these risk factors, you can shield your family from bed bugs and fleas. So even if you’re busy with other issues, like your baby’s lactose intolerance, you should never ignore an insect bite. Identify the signs and symptoms, then take immediate action.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3060893/

https://www.epa.gov/bedbugs/protecting-your-home-bed-bugs

https://cmr.asm.org/content/25/1/164.full#sec-3

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318083.php

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311941.php

https://www.healthline.com/health/flea-bites-vs-bed-bug-bites

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