A single sighting of a bed bug makes most people want to relocate to a house far away from the infested one. While moving to escape bed bugs is a drastic measure, it is justifiable. In addition to being gross, bed bugs cause severe health issues, especially if the infestation is advanced.

Even though there is no evidence that bed bug bites can transmit diseases, bed bugs can cause serious health issues. This post takes you through 7 major health issues you can experience if you have a bed bug problem.

Allergic reactions

Depending on your body’s sensitivity, you can experience mild or severe allergic reactions to bed bites. Bed bug statistics show that 30 to 60% of people do not experience allergic reactions from bed bug bites. Such statistics relay good news but don’t guarantee your safety because you may be part of the unlucky populace.

Bed bug bites appear on the hands, neck, face, and legs. The most common reaction is the appearance of tiny welts on areas of the skin where bites occur. It is easy to confuse bite marks from other pest fleas for bed bug legs. It is wise not to scratch a skin reaction because it can lead to severe skin infections.

In a worst-case scenario, you can have an anaphylactic reaction to bed bug bites. An anaphylactic response causes anaphylaxis, forcing your body’s immune system to release chemicals into the body. This is the most dangerous reaction to bed bug bite because it can lead to death if the patient doesn’t receive treatment immediately. The main characteristics of anaphylaxis include the following:

  • A swift drop in your blood pressure
  • Respiratory difficulty
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting


Insomnia is a condition where an individual finds it challenging to fall and stay asleep. Bed bug bites are not painful but knowing you have bed bugs inspires nerve-wracking fear. This is why it isn’t difficult to understand why getting enough sleep is impossible when an individual has bed bugs.

Besides the fear of bed bugs, the itchiness and irritation from bed bug bites can keep you from sleeping. Continuous sleep deprivation can cause serious mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and sporadic incidences of memory loss. Failure to get adequate sleep causes fatigue which affects your work life because it leads to fatigue.

The best way to avoid insomnia is to treat the bed bugs immediately. Here are some tips that will help you get enough sleep as you treat the bed bugs:

  • Take measures to prevent bed bugs from biting you while you are asleep
  • Perform some deep breathing exercises before you go to bed
  • Exercise regularly to increase your endorphins and take your mind off the problem
  • Take a walk around your neighborhood before you go to bed to relieve stress

Skin infection

Bed bugs don’t carry pathogens that cause infections, but they cause itchiness that can force you to scratch bite marks on your skin. Continuous scratching can lead to open wounds that can quickly get infected. There are germs everywhere, and if you keep scratching, you will likely create room for them to infect your skin.

Simple bite marks on skin can turn into severe skin infections

The best way to avoid skin infections is to treat bed bug bites as soon as you notice them. Making a reasonable effort to avoid scratching bite marks on the skin is less helpful than most people think. Even if you decide not to scrub your skin, there is a significant chance you’ll sub-consciously scratch itchy bites in your sleep.

It is in your best interest to treat the symptoms of bed bug bites and keep an eye on them as they heal. Common treatments that alleviate the effects of bed bug bites include:

  • Over-the-counter prescription screams that minimize inflammation and itching.
  • Oral antihistamines that alleviate burning sensations and itching
  • An ice pack
  • Witch hazel
  • Aloe Vera gel
  • Essential oils such as Oregano

Point to Note: Visit a doctor if bites are getting worse despite your best efforts because it means they are infected. Failure to stop the spread of a skin infection will lead to severe sickness.

Psychological and emotional stress

Dealing with a bed bug problem is challenging. Apart from the physical health issues of bites, bedbugs can cause psychological and emotional stress.

Bed bugs are stressfull, leaving you psychologically and emotionally drained

Lack of sleep, common when dealing with bed bugs, is enough to strain an individual’s well-being. Bed bugs can turn your life into a nightmare. Here are some scenarios that cause psychological and emotional stress:

  • Getting rid of bed bugs is challenging; you will often have to make several treatment attempts before achieving success. You will get frustrated when your attempts to get rid of bed bugs fail, leading to psychological and emotional strain.
  • You will fear having guests over if you have a bed bug problem. Having to tell your friend off or explain to your children why their friends can’t visit is psychologically and emotionally taxing.
  • Seeing your loved ones struggling with bed bug bites triggers guilt and shame, leaving you emotionally and psychologically frustrated.


A massive bed bug infestation can cause anemia, a condition characterized by inadequate red blood cells in your body. Several bed bug bites over a short time cause iron deficiency, reducing your red blood cells and hemoglobin count. That is why you can only develop anemia from bed bugs when dealing with extreme infestations.

Bed bugs often cause Anemia in children and senior citizens because their bodies cannot replenish lost blood fast enough. According to a National Library of medicine report, a 60-year-old man developed Anemia after living in an infested apartment for two months. He had several welts on his scalp and arms and reported a history of fatigue and lethargy.

It is best to see a doctor if you suspect you have developed anemia due to a massive bed bug infestation. Some of the main symptoms of anemia that you need to look for include the following:

  • Yellow skin
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain

Breathing problems

It only takes a reasonable time for a bed bug infestation to manifest once a few get into your home. The bugs leave exoskeletons and other debris, such as fecal matter and eggs. These substances often end up in the air and sully the oxygen quality in your home.

You can develop severe respiratory problems in your home when you have an air quality issue. Poor air quality can lead to severe medical problems, especially if you have asthma. You must see a doctor if you develop shortness of breath because it can lead to fatal conditions such as cardiac arrest.

A weak immune system

A healthy immune system is essential for a happy, fulfilling life because it prevents diseases. Even though bed bugs don’t transmit disease pathogens, they can harm you and your family’s immune system. The immune system replenishes itself as you sleep, but bed bugs can cause sleeplessness. Other bedbug-related issues include:

  • Skin infections
  • Allergic reactions
  • Mental health issues such as stress and anxiety

Final thoughts

Bed bugs can take over your life, but you don’t have to let them. The best way to avoid developing health concerns from bed bugs is to treat them using safe, effective treatment methods. More importantly, you must take proactive measures to prevent bed bugs from entering your home. Such measures include the following:


Can bed bugs cause nerve damage?

When bites come in contact with bed bug fecal matter, you can contract Chagas, a disease that damages the central nervous system.

Do bed bugs cause long-term health effects?

Bed bugs do not transmit diseases but can cause long-term mental health issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Can bed bugs kill you?

Bed bugs are generally not fatally dangerous, but you can develop fatal allergic reactions to bites, for example, anaphylaxis. It is in your best interest to see a doctor immediately if you experience breathing difficulty.