Essential Oils for Bed Bug Bite Treatment
Essential Oils for Bed Bug Bite Treatment
Whether you're dealing with an active infestation or simply wish to become better prepared should you ever encounter these small, elusive and pervasive insects, essential oils are among the most effective preventative and treatment modalities for bed bugs. These blood sucking parasites are notorious for its bite and near-impossible eradication. While there are many effective treatments to eliminate bed bugs, the most powerful way to treat a bed bug infestation is to stop it from occurring through the use of essential oils. Even if you're suffering from a serious infestation, calling upon the power of essential oils can help bring relief to its painfully itchy bites.
Bed Bugs | A Brief History of Treatments
Although evidence of bed bugs dates back almost as far as recorded human history, the prevalence of these creatures remained relatively unbalanced until the 1940s and 1950s. It was during this time period the United States began using a specialized compound, known as DDT, to target and eliminate bed bugs. At first, it seemed these treatment options were highly successful. Over the next several decades, there was a significant decline in the number of reported cases. At first, the pest control industry celebrated its supposed victory over this ancient infestation. However, during the 1990s a unique situation began to develop.
As the new millennium approached, the reported number of bed bug cases began to simultaneously increase. While the modern pest control industry continued to spray its time-honored pesticides, the number of active bed bug infestations did not decline as in the previous decades. Upon closer inspection, researchers discovered something quite interesting - the biology of bed bugs underwent a transformation. These parasites literally mutated to withstand the chemical action of most pesticides, making them uninfected. Specifically, these bed bugs have built a resistance to DDT and organophosphates.
Why Bed Bug Bites Hurt | A Glance Inside
Perhaps one of the most common symptoms of bed bugs - if not the most common symptom - is its painful, itchy bites. As a bed bug bites into your flesh to feed upon your blood, its salivary fluid results in skin inflammation and irritation. While the severity of its bites can dramatically vary from one person to another, most individuals experience some level of discomfort. In rare cases, severe blistering can occur in areas where bugs have bitten.
Within the saliva of bed bugs, unique strands of proteins and specialized compounds are the culprit of its unsavory reactions. If left unchecked, prolonged feedings by hundreds of bed bugs can lead to serious side effects, such as anemia and even systemic poisoning. While there is potential for serious health side effects, with essential oils and continuous treatment this risk can be averted.
Essential Oils for Bed Bug Bite Relief
The most effective essential oils for bed bug bites are those that treat inflammation and irritation. The following oils are considered highly-effective in reducing pain, itch, irritation and inflammation:
- Mint - The primary active compound in mint, an oil known as menthol, may help reduce inflammation and irritation. Dip a cotton ball in freshly made mint tea, mint essential oil or place a mint leaf directly on bites for relief.
- Basil - Basil essential oil is traditionally used to combat the itch and pain associated with bed bug bites. To help relieve itch and pain, simply take a cotton ball and apply a liberal amount directly over each bite. Some find making a paste by adding basil essential oil to a small amount of baking soda and water offers prolonged relief.
- Peppermint Oil - Although you should never add peppermint oil directly to your skin, as it can cause irritation, placing 1/2 cup of peppermint oil into a bathtub of warm water can provide significant pain and itch relief. Repeat at least once a day for potent relief.
- Lavender Oil - The soothing, healing compounds of lavender oil are among the most effective in relieving pain, itch and inflammation associated with bed bug bites. To utilize, simply apply a liberal amount of lavender oil with a cotton ball directly over bites.
- Witch Hazel - Considered one of the most effective essential oils for relieving inflammation, pain and itch, witch hazel is the go-to source for natural pain relief. This oil contains a high concentration of compounds known as tannins, which not only eliminates pain, but also shrinks skin tissue. Because of this, it's a common ingredient in hemorrhoid ointments. By shrinking skin tissue, the bites are literally shrunk, which helps calm pain and itch. You can either apply a soaked cotton ball directly on bites or adding up to 1/4 cup directly to your bath water for widespread relief.