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Clinician’s Corner: Bedbugs—what to do when they show up!


  • Treatment might not be necessary, as the bites usually resolve without any intervention.
  • Oral antihistamines to relieve itching. Ask your Thompson Pharmacist if this is appropriate treatment for you.
  • Topical corticosteroids seem to be effective, and require a prescription.


  • using a hair dryer on end seams of mattress will “chase” the bed bugs out of hiding for detection.
  • Check out hotel/motel rooms and look for bedbugs or their feces before climbing into bed. Be sure to check out the mattress cords and crevices in box springs.
  • Placement of luggage on a luggage rack or away from the bed or upholstered furniture while traveling. Some sources recommend placing luggage in the bathtub, as bedbugs can’t crawl up that slippery surface.
  • Placement of worn garments in a sealed plastic bag to minimize bedbug attraction to worn clothing.
  • It’s no bargain mattress even if the bedbugs are free! Examine carefully garage sales or resale shops (especially bedding items), for bedbugs or bedbug feces prior to bringing them inside the home
  • Rid Home Lice, Bedbug and Dust mite Spray: contains Permethrin 0.5%

Permethrin spray that we use as a mosquito and tick repellant is designed for clothing and gear and lasts up to 6 weeks.  We spray our suit cases before packing for a trip. Make sure they are closed. Package reads “for clothing and gear” Repellent should be applied outdoors and before clothing is worn; hang clothing, spray and let dry two hours (four hours in humid conditions).  We carry both RID and Sawyer brand of permethrin spray at Thompson Pharmacy.


Insecticides and heat treatment are the best options. Combinations of insecticides are generally used to avoid failure due to resistance. Long-lasting residual insecticides may be necessary for heavy infestations.

Heat treatment involves use of equipment to heat rooms to a lethal temperature. All stages of bedbugs can be killed at 50°C (122°F)

Cold treatment can be successful in the home environment if the freezer is set to 0- degrees F. You must leave the items in the freezer at that temperature for four days

Call an exterminator if needed for infestations.  Your Thompson Pharmacist is a great resource for all that “bugs” you.  Go ahead and ask…at Thompson Pharmacy it’s all for  YOU!