Are Bed Bug Bites Harmful To Your Body?
The last thing you want to think about are parasites that invade your bed at night and feast upon your blood. Unfortunately, these creatures do exist, and dealing with bed bugs can be one of the most annoying, time-consuming tasks you’ll ever tackle. But is a bed bug harmful to your body?
The very nature of bed bugs is disturbing. In order to pass from one of their several life cycles to the next, bed bugs must feast on blood. They take refuge in any cracks and crevices within your home they can find.
Once you’re asleep, they come out of the woodwork — sometimes literally — and begin ingesting your blood. If this sounds gross and invasive, that’s because it is.
Transmission of Disease
A similar pest, the pesky mosquito, not only sucks our blood but can carry life-threatening diseases. Due to this fact, many people believe that any insect that feeds on our blood is just as dangerous, which makes dealing with bed bugs an even more important endeavor. Luckily for us, however, this is not true.
Bed bugs have been blamed for the transmission of a number of diseases, but to date, there has been no evidence proving this fact, unlike with every other disease carrier in the insect world. So although there are risks to a bed bug infestation, contracting a life-threatening disease is not one of them.
However, in 2014, Penn Medicine researchers showed that bed bugs, like the “kissing” bug, can transmit Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease, one of the most prevalent and fatal diseases in the Americas (mainly in rural areas of Latin America).
The researchers have shown that the bed bugs can get and transmit the parasite but they still need to determine whether bed bugs will become a crucial player in spreading Chagas disease.
“Many people find the itching hard to resist and constant scratching can cause the bite to stick around for a while.”
Typically, the biggest problem you’ll have when dealing with bed bugs is the itching and redness they cause. No one wants to wake up in the morning and discover they’ve been an insect’s buffet, and that reminder will stay with you until the itching sensation goes away.
Unfortunately, many people find the itching hard to resist and constant scratching can cause the bite to stick around for a while. For people who have sensitive skin, a bed bug bite can be severely irritating.
How to Notice Bed Bug Bites?
Signs of bed bug bites are easy to mistake for bites from mosquitoes or other insects, so it’s difficult to know for sure if you’ve been bitten by a bed bug. Making it even more challenging to determine if you have signs of bed bug bites or some other pest, bed bugs feed at night while you’re asleep and then go back into hiding.
Since the bite doesn’t hurt, you don’t wake up and catch them in the act. The next morning, you have no idea you’ve been a bed bug meal. Some people have no reaction at all to bed bug bites, so if you have other reasons to suspect you have bed bugs, don’t conclude that you don’t just because you’re not breaking out with the reddish, itchy welts that are the typical signs of bed bug bites.
However, if you do develop irritated bite marks that you can’t explain, there’s no need to panic, but you have a situation that needs attention.
Bed Bug Bites: The Medical Problem
Fortunately, bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases to people or pets. But there are a couple of medical problems you should be aware of:
- It can be hard to resist scratching the itches that bed bug bites can cause. It’s easy to break the skin, which can lead to infection.
- Some people are allergic to bed bug bites.
If you have signs of bed bug bites that are causing you discomfort, it’s a good idea to use antibiotic or antiseptic ointments to prevent infections, along with antihistamines or corticosteroids to counter any possible allergic reactions.
You can use over-the-counter medications or visit a doctor to get stronger prescription medications. But a doctor won’t be able to tell you definitively that you’re suffering from bed bug bites. The proof has to come from evidence of bed bugs in your home.
“Bed bugs feed at night while you’re asleep and then go back into hiding. Since the bite doesn’t hurt, you don’t wake up and catch them in the act.”
Bed Bug Bites: Call an Exterminator
The obvious first step if you think you have bed bug bites is to look for indications of bed bugs in your apartment—tiny red blots on your sheets, molted bed bug skins, minuscule eggs, and of course the bed bugs themselves.
But bed bugs are one of the hardest pests to identify, locate, and exterminate, even for professionals. And even if you do find signs of bed bugs, you’re still going to need an exterminator to get rid of them because it’s almost impossible to locate and reach them all with the proper chemicals without professional expertise and tools.
So your best bet is to call an exterminator to check if you have a problem and get rid of it if you do. Even if you do find signs of bed bugs, you’re still going to need an exterminator to get rid of them because it’s almost impossible to locate and reach them all with the proper chemicals without professional expertise and tools.***
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