Can bed bugs make you sick? Does an infestation of this pest species kill? Find out.

The prospect of having bed bug problems can be so scary for many that a whole lot of misconceptions and theories come up. Can one die from bed bug bites? Isn’t this quite extreme?

Bed bugs are dreaded pests due to the torture they cause through their feeding actions.

These nocturnal pests are among the most difficult pests to deal with due to their ability to adapt to your surroundings.

Apart from significant discomfort caused, bed bugs can spread certain diseases.

However, there are fears in some quarters that bed bugs bites can result in death. Is it ever possible for such to happen? This and a lot more will be looked at.

By the end, you should know if bed bug bites do more than the usual discomfort they cause. If you’re ready, let’s jump right into details.

Can You Die From Bed Bugs?

This isn’t to downplay the severity of an existing bed bug infestation.

You may have seen someone react badly or had serious health conditions resulting from bed bug bites. Whether you’ve experienced such a situation or not isn’t the issue.

Can bed bugs hurt you?

Here, we’ll be looking at whether bed bug bites do result in death or not.

What Attracts Bed Bugs to Humans?

To begin our discussion, it’s necessary to first consider the basics; bed bug attraction to humans. Now, it’s obvious that these bugs need to feed on blood to survive.

Humans are ready hosts which these nocturnal pests target. However, you might wonder how they easily locate your position at night.

These bugs don’t live exclusively on beds.

They might climb up your bed for a meal and get down when they’re through. Bed bugs can home-in to your location due to chemical lures or signals released by your body.

These pests can pick these signals and trace such to you.

These attractions or signals include heat radiation from your body and carbon dioxide released during respiration. Although there is carbon dioxide within the room, a greater amount comes when you breathe.

This is why bed bugs can locate where you lie.

As you sleep, you release additional chemicals when you breathe and sweat. These are known as kairomones which contain lactic acid, and octenol.

These, coupled with body heat or radiation and carbon dioxide serves to draw these bugs for a meal.

Are Bed Bugs Bites Dangerous?

When bed bugs bite their host, it’s initially painless but eventually turns itchy with welts developing. Asides from the extreme discomfort caused, you’ll also have to worry about the health implications that are likely to follow.

Here, we’re not in any way downplaying the itchiness from their bites.

Instead, we’re referring to the significant health risks that could result from the same. With bed, bug bites come a wide range of reactions including allergic reactions in some persons.

This results in fever, swelling, chills, pain around the bitten area, and dizziness.

Other symptoms or reactions that could be noticed include difficulty breathing, and also nausea or vomiting. It is what you do after experiencing such allergic reactions that matters.

Sometimes, you may get bitten at night but see no bed bugs around.

Let’s get back to the main question under discussion.

Can Humans Die From Bed Bug Bites?

Bed bugs will readily feed on blood irrespective of whether it belongs to pets or humans. As discussed above, a wide range of health problems emerge, chief among which is allergies.

Ordinarily, bed bug bites aren’t life-threatening.

As such, there are hardly any cases of mortality associated with their bites.

  • Allergies May Become Life-Threatening

When you get bitten by bed bugs, several signs and symptoms may come up. These have been mentioned earlier, including chills, swelling, and pain around the bite area(s).

You could also experience feverish conditions, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and nausea or vomiting.

These conditions aren’t enough to cause death in humans. However, when allergies are left unchecked and not properly handled, it could lead to worsening conditions that can be life-threatening.

People have died from anaphylaxis which makes the body hypersensitive.

All that is an offshoot of bed bug bites. Sounds scary right? While that is true, it doesn’t happen all the time. You’ll need to seek urgent medical help whenever any of those symptoms arise or are noticed.

When properly attended to (through proper medical treatment), you won’t be worried about a thing.

Are Persons with Zero Allergies Immune?

Talking about the possibility of getting killed by hypersensitivity developed by allergies, are people without them immune? Dying from bed bug-related causes is quite uncommon among persons showing no allergies at all.

Nevertheless, there’s the discomfort caused by their bites.

Whether you’re in danger of experiencing anaphylaxis reactions or not is reason enough to have bed bug problems. In other words, bed bug problems aren’t pretty and should be combated using the best means possible.

Life-Threatening Cases Are Rare

So far, we’ve seen that bed bug bites may result in allergies which may sometimes prove to be fatal. However, we must state that such conditions don’t happen often.

Speaking, it’s a rare occurrence that happens with few people. Even at that, quick medical attention could take care of such allergies.

Improper use of Pesticides Could Cause Death

Bed bug presence may not be life-threatening for many but actions are taken (in terms of bed bug treatments) could be debilitating or even deadly. How so? You should know that a wide range of bed bug treatments is available.

Not all of them are safe. This is especially true of chemical pesticides.

You must know how to use chemical pesticides in a safe way to avoid toxicity. When it comes to bed bug treatments, different scenarios are likely to play out.

First off, a wide range of health conditions may arise from pesticide exposure such as drooling, lethargy, respiratory failure, muscle tremors, diarrhea, seizures, vomiting, numbness, paralysis, and the likes.

When fumigating for bed bugs, everyone needs to be out of the house to avoid any fatality. This is why fumigation should only be handled by a professional.

A lot could go wrong when this is done by a novice.

To What Extent Will Bed Bug Bites Harm Humans?

As a buildup towards the focus of our discussion, it’s important to know to what extent bed bug bites or feeding activity affect humans.

Several health issues could result from bed bug bites ranging from anaphylactic shock, itching, allergies, insomnia, swelling, and Chagas disease.

Are these conditions or a combination of such conditions enough to cause death in humans? You’ll need to read on for such details. Bed bugs are also known to carry more than 40 dangerous pathogens in their gut.

These could be transferred when there’s an open wound.

The extent of harm depends on whether you belong to a high-risk group or not.

A high-risk group simply refers to persons with a weakened immune system. Speaking of a high-risk group, they include kids, seniors, as well as bedridden patients.

Let’s have a look at each group.

  • Kids

When it comes to the likelihood of allergies resulting from bed bug bites, young kids tend to be among those with the most cases. Your kid might develop allergies simply from getting bitten by bed bugs.

In some cases, such allergies might worsen.

  • Seniors

Seniors or the elderly are the other groups of persons who, due to advancing age could be most at risk from bed bug bites.

Asides from itchiness and allergies, the most common health condition associated with the elder such as sleep disorders and anxiety can worsen.

  • Bedridden Patients

The immunity levels of bedridden patients are mostly down and critical. At this stage, they’re the most vulnerable to any additional stress to health.

Bed bug bites could worsen their condition and lead to skin inflammation or worse.

Prevention and Early Treatment

From our discussion so far, it’s clear that bed bugs are mostly considered as a menace that poses all sorts of risks.

Your best bet will be to completely avoid these bugs. This is through the adoption of bed bug preventive measures whenever you pass the night elsewhere, such as a friend’s or hotel.

Also, bed bug problems should be professionally treated as soon as they’re noticed. Avoid all forms of DIY control as these aren’t as efficient as those provided by professional pest management services.

So, how does one go about prevention? The following steps should help.

  • How Bed Bugs Spread

Bed bugs can be spread in several ways.

These include unknowingly purchasing bed bug-infested second-hand furniture, being a guest in an infested home, when you’re a frequent traveler that passes the night in hotel rooms that could be infested, and also when you live in public places like dormitories.

Bed bugs can also spread quickly within apartment complexes, homeless shelters, cruise ships, trains, buses, as well as refugee camps.

All of these areas are potential hotspots for bed bug activity.

  • Preventive Treatments

This is by far the best method for avoiding bed bug infestations. You won’t have to wait until there’s a full-blown infestation.

A wide range of measures can be implemented, including hiding spots like your power outlets, storing your clothing in vacuum-sealed bags when traveling, and vacuuming your floors and carpets regularly.

Consider checking your pets regularly for bed bugs while also cutting back on clutter. Have your mattress covered with bedbug-proof encasements.

When buying used items, it’s necessary to always have them checked before bringing them indoors.

Look out for cracks and openings along your walls as well as floorboards. Such should be sealed or caulked. It’s also important when visiting a laundromat to be extra careful not to pick up bugs from other people.

Avoid placing your clothes on countertops and floors whenever you go for laundry.

  • Early Treatment

To limit your exposure to these bugs, it’s necessary to carry out early treatment. Such treatment should be administered by professional bug management services. This helps prevent bed bug problems from worsening.

Fatalities associated with bed bug bites aren’t common.

However, such is possible when worsening allergies aren’t taken seriously.


There are lots of instances where people hold certain beliefs that may not necessarily be true.

However, there’s some kind of explanation as to why such beliefs are held. In the case of bed bugs having the capacity to kill humans which is untrue, it’s due to several reasons.

The possibility of bed bugs spreading diseases through their bites gives some kind of backing to claims about the level of danger posed.

Other beliefs make people think these bugs do more than just cause significant discomfort.

Although bed bug issues can be distressing for many, these bugs do not kill through their bites or in any other way. The worst-case scenario is to develop serious health conditions that can easily be treated.

Because it’s more than likely for such conditions to get treated successfully, it’s difficult to say these bugs can kill.

There’s little information (if any at all) about bed bugs killing humans. While it’s relieving to learn about the low death risk posed by bed bug activity, it doesn’t make them desirable to have around.

If you’ve experienced bed bug issues in the past, you should know that they cause a lot of discomfort and pain.

You’ll need to take urgent steps towards getting rid of them before an infestation worsens. It’s important when treating to never dwell solely on DIY treatment methods as these bugs are difficult to get rid of.

You might only end up worsening the problem.

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