Everyone is talking about bed bugs again, as they’ve become an increasing nuisance in homes, apartments, motels, and hotels. Bed bugs have even been showing up where people thought they were safe, such as in 5 star hotels and other establishments with sanitary operating conditions. Of course, bed bugs have been irritating humans for thousands of years, but they had disappeared from developed countries in the early 20th century, only to rise in numbers again beginning in the 1980s.
Fortunately, bed bugs are relatively harmless, but they can be a pain due to their bites and rapid rates of reproduction, so long as they have access to blood. In this article, we’ll talk about the signs and effects of bedbug bites and any long term health concerns to worry about, as well as what you can do to prevent infestations.
Signs and Symptoms
Bed bugs are pretty small, but it is possible to spot them on mattress folds, sheets, and in furniture where they hide. Look on the sides of your mattress, and the back side of the mattress that is up against the headboard, which are the most common hiding spots. They tend to leave rust-colored blood spots from their excretions, and you can also spot their molted exoskeletons, as they shed multiple times during their lifespan.
There are several common effects from bedbug bites, such as red spots and welts that itch. Symptoms from bites can vary depending on the person. Some people may see nothing at all, while others could experience rashes, especially if there are a large number of bites. Bites tend to be concentrated in the arms, shoulders, and legs, as these regions are most likely to be the most exposed and accessible while the person is sleeping. There is also a small amount of individuals that have allergic reactions to bedbug bites.
In addition to the irritating physical effects like itching and redness, there are psychological symptoms to keep in mind, such as anxiety and stress from an infestation. Bites may wake some people up throughout the night, leading to sleep loss and insomnia in worse cases. Ultimately, having a bed bug infestation can be a disturbing and distressing experience depending on the person, though it is important to remember that bed bugs are usually not dangerous.
Long Term Health Concerns
According to the CDC, bed bugs do not need to be considered a public health risk. Various types of bacteria, viruses, and parasites have been found on bed bugs, but are not typically carried long enough for the bed bug to transmit the disease. In fact, there is no evidence available that suggests bed bugs have ever transmitted diseases to humans.
There are a few long term health effects to keep in mind though, which are usually involved in more severe cases. The allergic reactions mentioned above can range from mild to severe, and may require medical attention. Infestations can grow quickly without people being aware, leading to constant biting. Chronic bites can lead to anemia due to blood loss, and bacterial infection from itchy skin. And it goes without saying that regular sleep loss and stress do not have favorable effects on long term health.
The best thing to do is conduct a careful inspection of any sleeping areas, which is where you are most likely to find bed bugs. Bed bugs can hide just about anywhere, but you’re more likely to find them hiding in mattresses and furniture; anywhere that is in close proximity to sleeping persons or animals. People who travel are more vulnerable to bed bugs, as bed bugs are easily spread if an infestation is not checked.
There are no easy ways to get rid of an infestation. If you suspect there are bed bugs present, or you find evidence of an infestation, call a pest control professional right away. A professional will know what to look for, what type of pesticides to use, and what steps need to be taken to clear out the infestation completely.
Don’t let a bed bug infestation overwhelm you; these pests are a nuisance but they are not dangerous. However it is important that you act quickly before the infestation spreads.
Scott Walston is an experienced pest control professional from Qspray, one of the leading providers of pest control equipment and supplies. Qspray.com specializes in high quality custom spray equipment, and regularly works with pest control professionals to improve equipment reliability and efficiency. Qspray.com is your premier source for effective pest control products.