Bed bugs are hard to spot but it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Although bed bugs haven’t been proven to transmit serious diseases, they can have a negative impact on your health. Allergic reactions are often caused by bed bugs and you might not even know it.
If you have an old bed or you haven’t cleaned your almost new bed for at least 2 years, pay closer attention to your skin. Chances are, you’ll notice bed bug bites and even rashes. Bed bugs are particularly harmful to children. That’s why it’s essential to clean your mattresses or replace the old ones regularly.
If you still hesitate to do it, find out how those seemingly invisible bed bugs can affect your overall health.
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What are the signs of bed bug bites?
First of all, not all people have a reaction to bed bug bites. The survey revealed that at least 70% of people reacted to bed bug bites. (1) Women are more prone to experience the symptoms of bed bug bites than men.
The signs of bed bug bites typically include burning or itching in one or several areas of the body, red spots on the site of the bug bites, bites in grouping and sometimes in a line, and widespread rashes. If you’ve got bed bug bites at home, it’s less dangerous. However, if you get the bites in a rented room or hotel, you have a risk of catching an infection.
What are the dangers of bed bugs?
Many people believe that bed bugs are harmless, but the only thought that those invisible creatures live in your bed is terrifying. The fact is, bed bugs can cause serious health hazards. They find exposed areas of the body and feed on human blood, leaving behind red bumps and allergic itch. Here’s what bed bugs can offer you:
1. Mild to severe allergic reactions
Depending on how you react to different pests bites, you can develop mild to severe allergic reactions to bed bug bites. Some people compare these bites with the one bees leave. If you’re not prone to allergy, you might develop little to no reactions.
In rare cases, people experience the whole body reaction called anaphylaxis. This reaction requires immediate medical help. Children are more sensitive to bed bug bites than adults. Toddlers, in particular, can over-scratch red bumps. The bacteria can trap beneath the nails and result in secondary skin infections.
Antihistamines, antibiotics, and even steroids might be needed to relieve the reactions caused by bed bug bites. If you have a mild allergic reaction, you might heal without serious medications.
Bed bugs haven’t been shown to spread disease, but their bites can trigger secondary infections of the skin, including lymphangitis, ecthyma, and impetigo. This happens when you scratch the bite sites, allowing germs along with other pathogens to get into the wounds.
Additionally, one study found that bed bugs, such as the triatomines, could transmit the parasite that contributes to the development of Chagas disease. (2) If you notice tiny bites on your body, it might be a sign that your bed has bugs. Wash those bites with water and soap to ward off infections and avoid scratching the affected area.
Though research on whether or not bed bugs transmit infections is extremely limited, several anecdotal studies claim that bed bugs could carry pathogens of Hepatitis B and even plague.
3. Sleep issues
When you fall asleep, bed bugs wake up and start looking for food. Even though their bites are painless, itchiness and irritation can cause sleep disorders. After all, how can you sleep well when you wake up at 2 or 3 am to scratch the bite sites?
Poor sleep contributes to chronic fatigue, weight gain or loss, poor brain function, mental disorders, and many other health problems. When your bed has too many bugs, you might start suffering from insomnia.
Bed bug bites might not be too serious, but it can increase your risk of anxiety and other mental disorders. People who are afraid of various pests and bugs might feel anxious when thinking about sleeping in the bed full of bed bugs.
Delusional parasitosis often leads to insomnia or obsessive compulsive disorder. People who are afraid of bed bugs tend to worry when they need to sleep in a friend’s house or hotel room. They might either refuse to stay in or sleep.
How to prevent bed bugs
Unless you can replace your bed matrasses and sofas monthly, it’s important to take action and protect your house from bed bugs. Vacuuming beds and sofas a few times per week or month often helps, but try to keep the whole house clean.
Nowadays, there are certain professionals who offer bed bug removal services, such as thermal bed bug treatment, pesticide treatment, and freezing bed bugs with cryonite. You can also get rid of bed bugs alone, but keep in mind that they can return very quickly.
Keeping your house and furniture clean regularly will help to protect you from bed bugs and many other pests that could live and thrive in your house. Beg bugs are active all year round and you can bring some bugs into your house. Wash your clothes each time you visit places with old furniture like a sofa or chairs.
The final word
On average, one bed bug can feed on your blood for 5 to 10 minutes. Female and younger bed bugs require more blood to grow and multiply. Now imagine dozens of invisible bed bugs to bite you each night.
Bed bugs seem to be harmless, but don’t underestimate them. Besides allergic reactions, they can trigger energy loss, irritability, poor appetite, poor focus at work, and overall negatively affect your lifestyle.
If you wake up each morning with scratched areas of the body, look for bed bugs – especially if you have old mattresses. If you don’t have bed bugs, ensure you take all necessary measures to protect your house from these pests.