Bed bugs are parasitic insects of the cimicid family that feed exclusively on blood. Cimex lectularius, the common bed bug, is the best known as it prefers to feed on human blood.The name is derived from its preferred habitat: warm houses and especially nearby or inside of beds and bedding or other sleep areas. Bed bugs are mainly active at night and usually feed on their hosts without being noticed. In the early 1940s, they were mostly eradicated in the developed world, but have increased in prevalence since 1995 (Wikipedia).
I would like to share a hint found useful for dealing with bed bugs and the treatment of bed bug bites. Firstly, before leaving Australia I treat my sleeping bag, sleeping bag liner, pillowcase, backpack & boots with Permethrin (Debugger), available from many camping places. I ensure everything is packed into my backpack at night ie don’t leave clothes hanging over the beds.
This way your gear is protected from bed bugs and you won’t carry them with you. When I was bitten from lying on top of my sleeping bag in the middle of the afternoon, I applied Cold Sore Cream (active ingredient Acyclovir) as soon as I noticed the bites. Acyclovir is anti-viral and seems to stop the bite from developing the horrible watery blisters which can easily become infected. I also take an anti-histamine to reduce the itchiness which leads to scratching.
In 2012 the municipal albergue in Boadilla was closed for 3 days, usually a sign of debugging being undertaken. We subsequently stayed in a private albergue filled to over-flowing… It was there I was bitten – the girl on the bunk above actually awoke and saw the bed bugs in her bed!