At Evolve Medical Clinics off Forest Drive, they’ve seen a rash of new bed bug cases. Although they are
more of a nuisance than a serious health risk, they can really get your skin crawling–literally! They are fast and can crawl floor to floor in hotels and apartment buildings. They are also well known hitchhikers and are happy to travel wherever you and your clothes travel.
Bedbugs are about the size of an apple seed, reddish-brown insects that live in cracks of beds. At night, they bite the exposed skin of sleeping humans and animals to feed on their blood. Although bedbugs aren’t known to spread disease, they can cause other public health and economic issues.
Bed bugs will feed (bite and suck your blood) for 20 minutes and then fall off the person. They leave behind tiny, itchy red bites, usually
on the upper body (face, neck, hands, arms and chest/back). The bites are often in clusters or in a line. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, you may have no symptoms all the way to a more highly allergic extreme itching.
Small, flat, or raised bumps on the skin are the most common sign; redness, swelling, and itching commonly occur. If scratched, the bite areas can become infected. Bites are often in a line and doctors call this series of bites as the “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” sign, signifying the sequential feeding that occurs from site to site. In some people, the bites can take several days to develop.
Sometimes the signs of bites do not show up for as many as 14 days!
Bedbugs may leave musty odors, and sometimes dark spots (their feces) on bed sheets.
The rash itself only requires hydrocortisone cream and Benadryl for the itching.
Beg bugs are great hiders and can live without food for several months. You should definitely hire a professional exterminator, who may use a combination of pesticides and nonchemical treatments.
What YOU can do:
- Vacuuming: Thorough vacuuming can physically remove bedbugs. Remember to empty the
vacuum after each use!
- Laundering: Washing and drying items in a dryer on a high setting will kill bedbugs in clothing or linens.
- Freezing: Bedbugs are also vulnerable to temperatures below 32 F (0 C), but you’d need to leave the items outdoors or in the freezer for several days.
- Bedbugs die at 122 F (50 C) so some professional exterminators use portable devices to raise the temperature of a room over 122 F.
- You may have to throw out heavily infested items such as mattresses or couches.
What the Professionals will do:
Getting rid of bedbugs is not an easy process.
- A variety of low-odor sprays, dusts, and aerosol insecticides applied to all areas.
- The pest-control company can help you determine if an infested mattress can be disinfected or must be discarded.
- Deep-cleaning such as scrubbing infested surfaces with a stiff brush to remove eggs, dismantling bed frames and furniture, filling cracks in floors, walls, and moldings, encasing mattresses within special bags, or using a powerful vacuum on cracks and crevices.
- Sealing your mattress in a bedbug-prevention casing can be beneficial.
- Sleeping with the lights on? Doesn’t work!
- Insect and tick repellents: Don’t work!
- Hotel room inspection: Check the mattress and headboard as well as luggage racks
- When in a hotel, keep your luggage away from the bed
- When returning from a trip, put your clothes immediately into the washer
- Washing machine won’t kill bed bugs but drying clothes at high heat will!
If you have any questions, give the good folks at Evolve Medical Clinics a call: 844-322-4222 or shoot them an email: [email protected].
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