Can bed bugs make you sick?

Bed bugs are annoying creatures. They multiply rapidly, bite you all night and it’s hard to find them. Most people are curious about the results of bed bug bites. Do bed bugs make people sick?

What are bed bugs?

As we explained before bed bugs are little insects which feed by blood and can live at houses with people:

If no action is taken in the early stages of bed bug invasion, you can be a visitor at you home and bed bugs can become the new host of your home.

This is because a female bed bug lay 3 to 5 eggs per a day and an adult bed bug can live for several months without feeding.

What a bed bug looks like?

a close view of a bed bug feeding

An adult bed bug is about an apple seed and so, it’s difficult to see them with human eye. Even so, it’s not impossible to find them. Bed bugs can be seen to human eye. You just need to be careful while looking for them.

You can find out what they look like in this post:

Bed bugs are commonly mistaken with cockroaches, ticks or carpet beetles. But they are different from those insects.

They can’t fly or jump, but they can crawl like a spider. If a bed bug needs to sit on your body for feeding, it must crawl to your bed or chair which means you can see them while they are moving.

How bed bugs feed?

two bed bugs feeding a a human's body

Their only food source is mammalians. Bats, dogs, cats and human are their food sources and they are blood-fed. They don’t eat anything, but they drink blood.

An adult bed bug feeds for about 10 to 15 minutes and turns back to its hole. However, bed bugs prefer to bite a human only once and keep sucking until they are satiated, after a bed bug attack, there become tens of bites usually.

Because while we are sleeping, we usually move around and bed bugs relocates in every move of us. So, they start feeding again and again during their meal time. And after the feeding, we have a lot of bites instead of one.

Effects of bed bug bites

If a person is bitten bey a bed bug for the first time, there will be some local erythema at the point of bites.

If the person is bitten repeatedly before, there will be edema with bleeding in the middle of it.

Reactions after a bite usually occurs in ten days after the bite. So, it’s important to know the exact time of the bite.

After a bed bug bite, you don’t feel any pain, because they secrete a liquid while biting you which prevents clotting and doesn’t let you know being bitten.

Can bed bugs give you a disease?


several bites of bed bugs on an arm

As you know, it’s always dangerous to get exact answers to such questions. But a lot of researches show that bed bugs can carry many diseases to human.

As a Penn Study shows(, bed bugs can carry Trypanosoma cruzi which is a parasite that causes Chagas disease, one of the deadliest diseases in US.

Another research shows that bed bugs are vectors for more than 40 diseases including:


  • Yellow fever
  • HIV
  • Plague
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Trypanosomiasis

But you must know that recently studies show that HIV or Hepatitis B can not be directly transmitted by bed bugs; but after experimental injection of HIV viruses to a bed bug’s body, it was observed up that HIV viruses could live in bed bug’s blood for 8 days.

Psychological effects of bed bug bites

a bed bug on the floor carpet

Rather than a physical disease, bed bug bites are more about psychological discomforts. Living in a house which is invaded by bed bugs mean to have sleepless nights and a lot of stresses.

After several months of fighting with them, searching the bed bugs in every corner will become your lifestyle. A person living in such a house will be thinking of them while eating, taking a shower or sleeping.

This makes the daily routine unacceptable and such a person will probably need to take medical support for that.

List of possible problems caused by bed bugs

Those are the common problems reported after bed bug bites:

  • Itching
  • Blisters
  • Red spots
  • Secondary Infections
  • Insomnia
  • Anaphylactic Shock
  • Chagas disease
  • Allergic Reactions

Itching and blisters are the most common results of bed bugs. Blisters will probably bleed after you start itching them.

Allergic reactions will differ from person to person. If a person bitten by bed bugs has any allergy for something like that, then a reaction will occur.

Anaphylactic Shock is a serious kind of reaction which can happen just after an allergic event. This is hard response of the body to the allergy which occurs as swelling, dizziness, fainting or pulse rate and can become deadly.

Insomnia is a result of psychological effects as I told above. Bites will make the person anxious and sleepless which will result with insomnia.

Chagas is an important disease which can cause death. Some studies proved that Chagas disease can be spread bey bed bugs. However, we got that information, there has not been any documented case about Chagas disease.

High-risk groups after a bed bug bite

As you see up to present, however, some diseases are approved to be transmitted by bed bugs; any HIV, Hepatitis B or other diseases like those have been documented.

But some groups are always high-risked because of their special status. These are:

  • Kids and babies
  • Elders
  • Bed ridden patients

They are high-risked because their immune system is are weaker than adults or other healthy people.


Rather than worried about the possible effects of a bed bug bite, you must get some medical support.

The best way in such cases is to get some professional help. Because may be you have any allergic reactions for bed bug bites or the bed bug bit you may carry any diseases.

Sure you will make some “Google” for understanding the results of  bed bugs; but please stop doing more and visit a doctor immediately.

You can also check the life cycle of bed bugs here:

For some natural remedies to get rid of them here:

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