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Bed Bugs: Don’t Get Eaten Alive. By Our July Student Pharmacist, Asim Hussain.

Can-you-see-bed-bugs1

Goodnight and don’t let the bedbugs bite. That phrase has become a dreadful reality.

It seems like we have heard more and more about bedbug infestations taking place in hotels and apartment complexes across the nation. The terrible stories always leave us feeling like something creepy is crawling on us.

As we travel this summer, it is good to know some facts and prevention measures to keep a home invasion of bedbugs from taking place.

Bedbugs are tiny bugs that do not fly. They are found all over the world and live in hotels, houses, and other places where people rest and sleep. Despite the name, bedbugs aren’t just found in beds. They are found in your mattress, clothes, walls, and sofas.

Bedbugs are small and usually hide during the day. Adult bedbugs can grow to about the size of an apple seed. Bites usually take place at night, but can happen at anytime of the day. Exposed areas of skin are at risk the most.

Most people do not feel it when they are bitten; the bites themselves are painless. The bites show as small, red, and swollen areas of the skin. Bedbugs are not known to carry diseases with them, but excessive scratching of bite marks can lead to an infection.

Certain measures can be helpful for preventing bedbug infestations. Visual examination of hotel rooms or lounging areas for bedbugs prior to use is helpful. Pay particular attention to mattresses and crevices in box springs. Use a luggage rack if available and keep luggage zipped up when not in use. Carefully examining items purchased from garage sales or resale shops should be done before bringing them into the home.

photo-of-bedbug-bites

Bite care should include keeping the area clean at all times. It usually takes three to six weeks for complete healing of the wound. You can use an anti-itch cream or a steroid cream/ointment to help with itching. These products are available in the pharmacy. If the wound continues to redden, get more swollen, or has pus or any liquid coming out, immediately visit the doctor.

The only way to stop the bites from reoccurring is eradication. Eradication of bedbugs is difficult. Experienced pest management professionals should perform it to ensure complete eradication. Before calling the pest company, clean and vacuum your home thoroughly. Launder your clothes and bedding materials and dry them on the hottest setting possible. If you want to get rid of your clothes or bedding, do not give them away to anyone else. This will help reduce the chances of spreading the bedbugs to others.

The best prevention for bedbugs is avoiding them all together. There are many resources that alert us from staying in hotels that have had a history of bedbugs. Links to two of them are listed below. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at the pharmacy.

Bedbug Registry

Bedbug Reports

References:

Elston, Dirk, Kells Stephen. Bedbugs. In: UpToDate, Post TW (Ed) UpToDate, Waltham, MA. (Accessed on July 18, 2015.)

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