Bedbugs

Bedbugs tend to bite exposed regions of the skin to feed on a person’s blood.  A pesticide called DDT was used to eradicate bedbugs from developed nations of the world; however, the pesticide was later banned due to its high toxicity.

Due to the increase in international travel, bedbugs have become a common problem in many parts of the world again. People who spend time in places where there are many nighttime guests such as hotels, homeless shelters are and hospitals are more likely to encounter bedbugs, and possibly bring them to their own homes as well.

Bedbugs are oval, flat and reddish brown in color with the size of an apple seed. During daytime, they usually hide in box springs, cracks and crevices in your beds, bed frames, behind picture frames, headboards etc. If you suspect that you may be having bedbugs in your home, it is advisable that you call a professional exterminator.

Symptoms

It can be difficult to differentiate between a bedbug bite from any other insect bite, but usually the region affected by the bedbug will be:

  • Itchy
  • Red, usually with a dark spot in the middle
  • Arranged in a cluster or line
  • Located on the neck, face, hands or arms

Some people often do not have a reaction to bedbug bites, but many often experience allergic reactions such as severe itching, hives and blisters.

When t seek medical help

If you experience an allergic reaction or any severe skin reaction due to bedbug bites, it is important that you seek medical attention promptly.

Treatment

The itchy spots often disappear on their own within a few days or a week or two.

You can speed up the recovery with:

  • Topical skin creams consisting or hydrocortisone
  • Oral antihistamines such as diphenhydramine

If you have a skin infection due scratching bedbug affected regions of the skin, you may be prescribed to take an antibiotic.

How to treat your home

Once symptoms are taken care of, it is important that eliminate the underlying cause. Bedbugs can be very troublesome and often disturb people while they are asleep. However, tackling bedbugs can be difficult because they can hide and live without food for several months. Therefore, it is important that you hire an exterminator who may use non-chemical treatments along with pesticides for effective elimination.

Non-chemical elimination methods include:

  • Vacuuming. Thoroughly vacuuming the cracks and crevices in your house may remove bedbugs from most areas. However, this method is not fail safe as vacuum cleaners cannot reach many hiding places in your house.
  • Hot water. Wash all clothes and other washable items in 120 F or 49 C water to kill bedbugs in these objects
  • Clothes dryer. Place all dry and wet items in a clothes dryer set to medium to heat for about 20 minutes can kill bedbugs and their eggs

Freezing. Bedbugs can be killed in temperatures below 32 F or 0 C; however, you will have to leave all objects outside or in the freezer for many days.

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