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How to Tell the Difference Between Hives and Bed Bug Bites?

Bed bug bites are often mistaken for hives, mainly because they are both due to an allergic reaction. It’s important those suffering from either are able to differentiate the two because they both require different forms of treatment. Additionally, if you suffer from bed bug bites and think it’s hives, an infestation that’s forming could get out of control. That will make getting rid of them much more difficult. To determine if you are suffering from bed bug bites or hives, there are seven differences you can look for. 

  • Their size: Bed bug bites are fairly consistent in size, although two bites close together can look like one very large bite. Usually these bites are no larger than the eraser at the end of the pencil. Hives on the other hand, are varying sizes. Hives can be as big as a quarter or as small as a pimple. 
  • Their color: Bed bug bites are always red, although the surrounding skin may appear lighter than normal. Hives range in color from pale to dark red, and even the same color as a person’s skin. Often the surrounding skin is also red. 
  • Their shape: Hives and bed bug bites are typically raised from the skin. As they heal, they usually flatten out. Bed bug bites are almost always round, similar to mosquito bites. The edges are also quite even. Hives can be varying shapes, and their edges are typically uneven. 
  • Their location: Bed bugs want easy access to blood and so, they’ll choose an area of the skin that’s not covered. When someone is lying in bed, this is typically the arms, legs, or neck. Hives can appear anywhere on the body. 
  • Other people: If there is even one person in your household suffering from the same skin irritation as you, it’s likely that you have bed bug bites. If no one else has had any problems, particularly if it goes on for some time, the chances are you’re suffering from hives, which are not contagious. 
  • Your history: If you have a history of allergies, consider if you’ve come into contact with anything that could trigger your allergy. If so, it’s likely hives and not bed bug bites. 
  • Your home: Does your bedding or mattress have red, rusty spots, or small dots that look like ink from a pen? Do you see eggs and eggshells around the crevices of your mattress? Do you see bed bugs that are alive or dead? If you see any of these things around your home, you have a bed bug infestation. If you check your bedding and other areas, and there are none of these signs, it’s likely you have hives. 

Knowing these differences and things to look for will allow you to seek the medical treatment you need more quickly. 

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