Bed Bugs Are Dangerous: 8 Risks & Diseases Caused By Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are pesky, brown and flat hematophagous insects that feed on human or animal blood. Primarily, they come in two species; climex lectularius and climex hemipterus. They are reddish-brown and have a width ranging from 1mm-7mm.
As small as these parasites are, they can have serious health implications. Look out for signs of bedbugs’ infestation and seek their extermination as soon as you discover them. Here are some of the risks and diseases caused by bed bugs:
1. Skin Irritation and Swelling
Different people react differently to bed bug bites. For some, all they get are bite marks (which appear in clusters as red, slightly swollen areas and can be dealt with using mild treatments). Others suffer more severe consequences that we will talk about later on. In most cases, it is difficult to tell if a bedbug has bitten you. This is because the bite marks tend to be similar to those of a flea or a mosquito.
Similarly, the anesthetic and anticoagulant injected into your system by bedbugs once they bite you cause numbness. This means you will probably not realize you have been bitten until several days after the initial bite. As much as you may feel like scratching the itchy bite marks, avoid doing so since it may lead to inflammations and skin blisters on the affected areas. Itching is one of the most common problems linked to bedbug bites.
Scientists have yet to establish all the diseases caused by bed bug bites. However, there are secondary infections such as impetigo, ecthyma and lymphangitis. People with suppressed immune systems, including young children, the elderly, and the bed-ridden are at a higher risk of developing secondary infections.
3. Allergic Reactions
People exhibit mild to extreme reactions when bitten by bedbugs. If you require little or no medication to treat these bite marks, good for you. However, if you are among those whose skin is susceptible to insects bites, you need to consult a physician immediately.
An allergic reaction from such a bite may be problematic. Among treatments for severe allergic reactions are anti-itch ointments, oral corticosteroids, and antihistamines. In addition to consulting a doctor, call an expert pest exterminator to rid your home of bedbugs.
As nocturnal creatures, bedbugs wait for the night to pounce as you asleep. Interestingly, they have also been shown to have the ability to travel a distance of over 100 feet in one night and live within 8 feet of where you sleep. The bites themselves may not be painful, but the irritation they cause could be unbearable.
You may feel so uncomfortable to the extent of waking up in the middle of the night to scratch yourself. If you experience sleepless nights and see evidence of bite marks on your skin, consider getting an exterminator to inspect your home for bed bugs. Of course, other factors such as depression, anxiety and psychosis may also cause insomnia. So, don’t be quick to blame bedbug bites for it.
5. Respiratory Issues
Bedbugs can multiply at an alarming rate. Within a short time, you could be hosting an entire colony in your bedroom. If not handled appropriately, the colony could also become a village, extending to those around you. At some point of their growth cycle, bedbugs usually moult by shedding off their skin. They even leave behind rusty-coloured spots on mattresses and bedroom furniture as evidence of their excretions and egg particles.
The exoskeletons and feces may dry out and pollute the air, interfering with your respiratory system. Breathing the cast-off materials released by bedbugs could worsen asthma and other respiratory infections.
6. Anaphylactic Shock
This is a potentially fatal allergic reaction from insect bites, and it’s one of the potential diseases caused by bed bugs (along with medication and food). It is characterized by itchy rashes, shortness of breath, throat or tongue swelling, vomiting, lightheadedness and low blood pressure. People with pre-existing allergies, asthma and low immunity levels stand a higher risk of going into an anaphylactic shock that is triggered by bedbug bites. In such cases, bedbug treatment is a matter of life and death.
7. Chagas Diseases
A recent study conducted by Penn Medicine researchers in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics has revealed that bedbugs can transmit the parasite that causes one of the most widespread, deadly diseases in America, the Chagas disease. While no incidences of this disease have been documented yet, it continues to be a real and significant risk. Bedbugs are said to carry over 40 dangerous pathogens.
Though less common, bedbug-related, iron-deficiency anemia could also occur in extreme cases, especially if you have other predisposing factors for anemia. Should you be anemic, visit your local physician for a thorough and conclusive diagnosis of the root cause of the anemia.
Bedbug are usually not a major cause for concern. However, going the number of pathogens they carry, and the fact that some people are highly sensitive to their bites, it helps to do all you can to exterminate them.