Dangers of Bed bugs
Bed bugs are a common fear among those who sleep with mattresses, which being most of us makes bed bugs a fairly widespread fear. “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite,” is the colloquial saying that almost everyone has heard or said at some point in their life. But are the dangers of bed bugs really as bad as one might be lead to believe? Questions about the dangers of bed bugs typically include:
- What are the health risks of bed bugs?
- Do they spread disease?
What are bed bugs?
Despite their common name, bed bugs are not limited to hiding out in a bed frame and can be found in dressers, couches, luggage, or pretty much anywhere around where people sleep. They are purported to be able to travel over 100 feet in a night, but tend to stay within 8 feet of a sleeping area. A bed bug is a small, flat, parasite which feeds on the blood of humans and animals while they sleep, so in this sense the name “bed bug” is justified. They are typically reddish-brown in color and range in size from 1 to 7 millimeters. Bed bugs can live for months without a new blood meal, making them durable and capable travelers, allowing them to spread far and wide from hotels to apartments to cruise ships.
What are the health risks of bed bugs?
The health risks and dangers of bed bugs vary greatly from person to person and are seldom serious enough to pose a real threat to a person’s well-being. Bed bugs feed by biting into the skin and injecting an anesthetic, to hide their presence, and an anticoagulant to ensure that the blood does not clot before they can suck it up. Typically a person who has been bitten by a bed bug will have mild irritation from a reaction to the anesthetic or anticoagulant (or both) and this will often be the first sign of bed bugs. In severe cases some medical treatment may be necessary as a result of multiple bites from a bed bug, but this is unusual and some people don’t react at all to a bed bug bite.
Do they spread Disease?
Unlike fleas and other pests, the dangers of bed bugs do not include spreading disease. The worst bed bugs typically do is bother their host and cause excessive itching, which may lead to a secondary infection not directly caused by the bed bug itself.
The real danger of bed bugs lies in their annoyance factor. Bed bugs, however mild a person’s reaction to a bite might be, can become a serious problem in causing sleep deprivation or long term irritation. For this reason it is important to treat a bed bug infestation, despite the relatively low health threat to humans, at least compared to some pests. Treatment of bed bugs usually involve pesticides applied to the infested area, and should be done by a professional to ensure safety and also to ensure a thorough extermination of the pests. The dangers of bed bugs may be mild in some ways, but they are definitely a nuisance worthy of attention.