How do you know whether your child has a bug bite or a bed bug bite?

Bed bug bites often occur in groups of three (or more) and may be more noticeable after sleep. These types of bites are likely to occur around the face, head and neck, because bed bugs are attracted to exhaled carbon dioxide. Some children react strongly to any insect bite, so there may be big red areas. Other kids may show minimal evidence of a bite.

If you think it could be a bed bug bite, it is important to inspect the seams of mattresses, box springs and dust ruffles for darkened areas, which bed bugs leave behind, or the bugs themselves. Mattresses don’t need to be discarded. Instead, place a zippered bed bug cover on them for continued use, says community pediatrician Eva Komoroski, MD.

When traveling, you can help prevent bringing the bed bugs home by placing luggage on luggage racks rather than on beds or upholstered chairs, and hanging clothes in closets rather than keeping it in a suitcase on the beds or the floor.

Global travel has definitely played a part in the increase of bed bug infestations. When you return home, leave your luggage in a hot car for 1 to 2 hours, which will kill the bugs and larvae.

Eva Komoroski, MD, practices at Northside Health Center, a Cincinnati Health Department clinic and is a community pediatrician also affiliated with Cincinnati Children’s.