To begin with, bed bugs are tiny nocturnal insects having the potential even to kill a human being much bigger their size. According to the Evening Sun, the police visited a home where two elderly women in Baltimore Pike were severely affected by the bites of bed bugs, one of whom (92-years old) died. As per the autopsy reports, the reason for her death was the infection caused by bed bugs’ bites.
Anatomy of bed bugs
Much similar to head lice, bed bugs are tiny insects having, apparently, not much significant threat to human lives. However, what they survive on is the blood of sleeping human and animals. Bed bugs are reddish and brownish in color, and they range from 1mm-7mm in length. The surprising fact about these ugly little fellows is, they can live on without a feed on human blood for several months. One of another crazy truth about these nasty little creatures is, they can travel over 100 feet in one night.
Places with a possible threat
The areas with the most expected presence of bed bugs can be apartments, old bed mattresses, closets, curtains, and sofas. Since they like to stay close to wherever people sleep, they keep a distance of only 8 feet. A dirty place does not necessarily have bed bugs as they are found in five-star hotels too. Bed bugs’ presence is not determined by the cleanliness. Bed bugs get out of their hidden places in the night and crawl upon their targets, sleeping humans, and take sanctuary inside dressing tables, seams of mattresses, boxes, and even behind wallpapers.
Symptoms of bed bug infection
As writes Stephen L. Doggett in his book called ‘Advances in the Biology and Management of Modern Bed Bugs’ it’s not easy to identify if you are being contacted by bed bugs. It can take several days (up to 14 days normally) for the signs of infection or a bite to appear. What you can do is check the expected targeted areas yourself like neck, face, arms, hands or even your back. Good news is, you can make sure of their existence with a few easy ways.
1- Quite contrary to their appearance, bed bugs have a musty odor which can help you identify
2- In case any part of your body is swollen, mild or firm, and it starts itching you, chances are you have been a bit
4- Skin problems because of scratching the itch; red bumps or welts
5- Tiny blood spots of their blood-filled fecal material that they excrete nearby your bed
Health problems bed bugs cause
There is much more to itching when it comes to bed bugs as the result of a study in 2012, a psychiatrist, Evan Rider, concluded that bed bugs to be the ultimate cause of both physical and mental health problems. Yes, you read it right, bed bugs can be the reason of your mental health crisis. Let’s focus on both separately.
1- Physical health hazards that arise because of bed bugs
The problem originates with scratching; the itching will start right away like a mosquito or head lice bite as they bite you. Once you begin the addictive, non-stop cycle of scratching, a lot of skin problems will rise. Though there are now a lot of medicines to stop the itch, you must now the threat to understand the significance of cure.
a) Allergic reaction
If you don’t take preventive measure to stop the itch, your body can react in the form of a lot of allergies. The reaction depends on the natural response of the host’s body. If the host is sensitive to any kind of skin allergies, the worst could happen. In such a case, you should definitely get medical help right away.
b) Infection; from mild to strong
The second step from allergy is the infection when germs enter the wounds and cause a virus. If the white blood cells are healthy enough to fight the virus, it won’t grow, but if the host’s immune system is weak, things can go wrong.
You have to monitor the swollen area carefully to make sure it’s not turning red and bumpy.
2- How bed bugs can destroy your mental health
You may find it quite unbelievable but beg bugs bites can lead to severe mental health issues like anxiety, constant lack of sleep, sleep phobia and even lack of concentration. Let’s talk about these in details.
a) Insomnia and anxiety
Since bed bugs are nocturnal, they will wait for you until you are fast asleep to start their ‘feast.’ Their constant bites to drink your blood can cause you annoyance and disturb your sleep. Getting up abruptly in the middle of the night scratching wildly can become a routine, hence deprive yourself of sleep. Now, if this cycle goes on every day, it can make you scared to sleep, or you will sleep with a conscious fear of waking up in a painful situation.
The lack of sleep, according to a lot of psychiatrists, can stem a big deal of psychiatric issues like depression, lack of focus, and anger management issues. It is likely you become intolerant and start losing your grades, or job in a rare scenario. It can also lead to psychosis.
According to the results of Jerome Goddard’s study at Mississippi State University, 81 percent of people complaining of bed bugs are going through psychological and emotional trauma.
b) Social stigma
This might sound ridiculous to you but having bed bugs in your house can prove to be notorious for you. People can consider you as ‘dirty’ or ‘unclean’ and stop seeing you at your place. As a result, you will also start feeling embarrassment for yourself and end your social life. Since bed bugs can attach them to your clothes; people can visibly see them and disgust you.
How can you get rid of bed bugs?
There are a variety of propositions in this regard like bed bugs spray, certain itch-relieving soaps, home remedies, or seeing a doctor. Let me list down a few easy yet effective ones for your ease.
- Keep using bed bugs spray every once in a little while
- Wash the contacted area with itch-relieving soaps
- Use anti-skeptics creams
- Take aspirin or pain-reliever
If none of this helps, you must get an emergency appointment from your nearby doctor because prevention is better than cure.