Mystified by an itchy rash? Check your mattress for bedbugs. Proteins in their saliva can cause allergic reactions, such as itchy, red, swollen skin, in some people, according to research done at the University of Mississippi. But the potential danger is in scratching: “If you do it excessively, your skin becomes susceptible to infection,” says allergist-immunologist and study author Richard deShazo, MD. Over-the-counter antihistamines and hydrocortisone cream will stop the itching, but if you get hives or wake up wheezing, see an allergist.
Originally published in the June 2011 issue of More.
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