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Posts Tagged ‘bed bugs’

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


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.


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


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

Your Unwanted Bedmate: Bed Bugs. By Our Student Pharmacist for July, Emily Burns, Who Will Now Be Checking the Hotel Mattress Any Time She Travels.

Over the past few years, bed bugs have received much attention from the media. A recent report in USA Today showed a 47% increase in calls to exterminators because of bed bugs in Columbus.

Although these pests used to be completely wiped out, there has been an increase due to international travel (they love to hide in your suitcase) and the ban on the toxic pesticide, DDT.

These night-loving bugs have commonly been found in mattress seams and folds (hence their name), but may also hide in electrical outlets, window and doorframes, baseboards, headboards, drapes, and cracks.

Bed bugs thrive in places with lots of night-time guests such as hotels, hospitals, college dorms, and apartment complexes. They hide and burrow during the day, and come out to feed on you or your animals at night. These small pests are able to live without a meal for months, making them difficult to exterminate.

It may be tricky to determine if you have bed bugs since they are excellent at hiding. Ways to detect bed bugs include:  spotting live or dead bugs, shed skins, eggs, and/or dark reddish-brown fecal or blood spots on the mattress, sheets, or nearby walls or furniture.

Bed bug bites cause a reaction in most, but not all, people. These bites appear on uncovered areas of skin (legs, arms, neck, shoulders) and generally cause itching. The small bites will usually disappear without treatment within two weeks, but there are some measures you can take to relieve discomfort.

To help control the itching associated with bed bug bites, topical moisturizers (Aveeno, Lubriderm), corticosteroids (such as hydrocortisone), and/or oral antihistamines (like Benadryl) may help. If these do not relieve the itching and discomfort, it may be time to visit your doctor to get a prescription-strength product. It is important to not scratch these bites, as scratching could break the skin and cause a skin infection.  Luckily, there have been no reports of bed bugs carrying diseases.

To get rid of bed bugs, a multitude of tasks must be done. Mattresses, other bed linens, and drapes need to be steam cleaned, vacuumed, and encased to kill the pests. All clothing should be laundered in hot water (120°F) in case there are any bugs hiding in them. It may also be necessary to hire an exterminator to fumigate or apply pesticides. Over-the-counter pesticides are not effective in killing bed bugs.

You and your family should follow several easy steps to prevent an infestation of bed bugs:

1.When staying away from home, pull back the covers and inspect the mattress for any signs of bed bugs as listed above (mainly, look for the reddish brown fecal and blood spots). It is also good to check your home mattresses regularly in case some of the bugs hitched a ride back on your suitcase.

2. Inspect any borrowed or second-hand furniture before bringing it into your home.

3. Remove clutter around your home to eliminate hiding spots for the unwanted guests.

4. Finally, wear long-sleeves and pants to bed since bed bugs tend to not burrow through clothing.



For more information visit:



Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite! By Our September Pharmacy Student, Michael Salem.

Bed bugs have been a household pest for thousands of years. These bugs are small, elusive, difficult to detect, and can be very tough to eradicate from your home. Here are some tips for the detection, eradication, and prevention of bedbugs.

Signs of a bed bug infestation are brown fecal and blood spots on clothing, bedding, or furniture. Additionally, bed bugs have a distinct sweet, musty smell. If you suspect an infestation, it may be wise to inspect the area with a flashlight about an hour before dawn, as these bugs are nocturnal and most active at this time. The picture to the right gives you a perspective on the size of an adult bed bug, so you know what you are looking for.

Bed bugs, just like mosquitoes, feed on human blood. The appearance of the bite is similar to that of mosquitoes. One characteristic of the bites to look for is if they are in a series of three bites in a straight line- they call this “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” bites. The picture below does a good job of depicting this, you can see four distinct sets of bites.

Treating the bites is really just treating the itch associated with it, so oral antihistamines (i.e Benadryl®) and topical steroids (i.e Cortisone®) will usually do the trick.

Getting rid of bed bugs is a real challenge, and requires both physical removal and chemical eradication. What you can do at home is vacuum any infested mattresses/furniture daily until the bugs are removed. Then the mattress/furniture should be sealed with an encasement for at least one year, as a bed bug can survive one year without a meal. Bedding, clothing, curtains, children toys (i.e stuffed animals) should be washed in HOT water and dried for 30 minutes on the HIGHEST HEAT setting. Chemical treatment by a licensed pest control company is also necessary to ensure complete eradication of the bugs.

Measures can be taken to prevent these little pests from entering your home. To start, eliminate clutter in the house and seal any cracks or crevices. Next, regular inspection of mattresses, headboards, bedding, and linens can go a long way to prevent an infestation. Any used furniture, clothing, or linens should be thoroughly inspected before bringing them into the house. If you can, make it a policy to never purchase a used mattress!

Finally, when spending the night in a new place, do a quick check of the bedding for those fecal and blood spots and that sweet, musty smell mentioned earlier. Nothing would be worse than bringing the bugs home with you after a trip or vacation! If you want more information, two great internet sources are listed below.

And remember, SLEEP TIGHT!!!




McKenzie MC, DeSimone EM. The Rise in Bed Bugs; Prevention, Management, and Treatment. U.S Pharmacist. 2012;37:47-50.

Photos Sources:



Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite! By Anna Gehres (who is now feeling very itchy after writing this!)



An average bed bug

So what are bed bugs? Bed bugs are wingless insects that feed on the blood of humans and other mammals. They are a rusty brown color and oval shaped. Bed bugs are not known to carry disease but bed bugs themselves can spread easily.

Bed bugs can happen to anyone! Even the cleanest homes and hotel rooms can get bed bugs. It is important to know how to tell if bed bugs are present in your home. Look for the following:

Small rusty spots on mattresses and bed liners.

Red itchy welts on the skin (often in a row) that occur overnight.

While bed bugs are often found on mattresses, they can also hide in electrical outlets, window/door frames, drapery, baseboards, furniture, or loose wallpaper. Removing bed bugs is possible, but in many cases requires the help of a professional exterminator. Awareness of bed bugs and early detection can help protect your family. Here are a few suggestions to prevent bed bugs:

Regularly check mattresses and linens.

Inspect secondhand items thoroughly for bed bugs.

Check for bed bugs when traveling to hotels.

If you think you have bed bugs (and live in Central Ohio) call 2-1-1 to be connected to resources. In addition, see the below websites for bed bug resources. 

For more information on beg bugs:

Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force: centralohiobedbugs.org

Call 2-1-1 for Bed Bug Answers.

The Bed Bug Resource: http://thebedbugresource.com/

Bed Bugger Blog: http://bedbugger.com/

Bed Bug Bites