3 Effects of Bed Bugs on Human Health

Bed bugs really are one of the most disgusting home pests! They bite, defecate, and leave a trail of carcasses that they have shed. Surely, their nasty habits are not good for human health… But what are these implications, exactly? What are the effects of bed bugs on human health?

Effects of bed bugs on health

1. Bed bug bites

Bed bug bites are the primary reason why you don’t want these blood-feeding insects in your home. These bites are not just itchy and painful. They can also lead to more serious health risks.

  • Yes, bed bugs bite. Bed bug bites can cause itching, pain, and swelling. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and saliva into your body. This will cause you pain, and the anesthetic and saliva will cause itching and swelling.
  • Bed bug bites usually go in straight lines. Most insect bites look the same. They are these swollen red dots on your skin. But bed bug bites have a defining characteristic that separates them from other insect bites — you often find them in clusters or lines. When bed bugs are biting, they may be dislodged because of your movement when you are sleeping. They may end up biting in a different spot near the original spot they have bitten.

2. Reactions and infections from bed bug bites

You are lucky if bed bug bites are just red bumps on your skin. But in worst cases, bed bug bites can lead to allergic reactions and infections.

  • Bed bug bites can lead to allergic reactions. The anesthetic and saliva bed bugs inject into your body are foreign substances. Your immune system will try to fight them off, and as a result, you may get allergic reaction symptoms like itching. Bed bug bites can also lead to a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. If you experience difficulty in breathing and vomiting, seek medical attention immediately. Anaphylaxis is considered a medical emergency.
  • Bed bug bites can get infected. When bed bug bites itch, people tend to scratch them to relieve themselves. But this puts them at risk of an even worse health problem — wound infections. To prevent scratching, you can buy over-the-counter medication to relieve the itching, such as anti-itch creams and oral antihistamines. An ice pack is also a good alternative. Just make sure you are not rubbing ice directly on your skin because this can cause more harm than good. Wrap the ice with a towel or buy a ready-made ice pack.

3. Psychological effects of bed bug infestations

The effects of bed bugs on your health don’t stop with your physical body. Bed bugs can also affect you emotionally and psychologically.

  • Intense itching can lead to sleep deprivation. The intense itching from bed bug bites can make you uncomfortable enough to prevent you from falling asleep. Sleep deprivation can significantly affect the quality of your life. It can lead to mood swings, poor performance at school or work, and daytime sleepiness. In the long term, it can also lead to more serious conditions like diabetes and heart diseases.
  • Stress from living in a home with bed bugs can lead to anxiety. Living in a home with bed bugs can be very stressful. It doesn’t help that bed bugs are really hard to eliminate. Even with professional help, it can take multiple weeks to completely get rid of an infestation. Stress can lead to emotional and psychological anxiety. And many times, those with anxiety develop bad habits like excessive drinking and smoking. These bad habits are not good for your health, and they can make you more vulnerable to more health problems.
Bed bug bites are the primary effects of bed bugs on human health.
Bed bug bites. Image source: Pine Belt Dermatology

How to avoid the effects of bed bugs

1. Get rid of the bed bug infestation

If you don’t have bed bugs at home, you don’t have to deal with the effects of bed bugs on human health. It’s that simple.

  • Inform your landlord of the situation. Once you find out you have a bed bug infestation, the first thing you should do is to inform the owner of the property. They have the right to know the condition of their property, and they may even be required to help you get rid of the bed bugs. After all, it’s their responsibility to make their property livable for their tenants. You may even be able to renegotiate contracts. Communicate with your landlord respectfully to see results.
  • Call pest control professionals. You may see a lot of DIY solutions online for your bed bug problem. But bed bugs are very complicated pests. They are hard to eliminate without professional help. It’s better to just call pest control professionals to do the job for you. Diligently follow their instructions for an effective and safe bed bug control process. There are things you can do before, during, and after bed bug treatments to make the process even smoother.

2. Prevent the bed bugs from coming back

Your effort in getting rid of bed bugs will be futile if you introduce a new batch into your home. Prevent these blood-sucking insects from coming back with these simple tips.

  • Avoid bringing hitchhiking bed bugs into your home. You can get bed bugs from many different places, including ones you may think are clean and safe. Such places include college dorms, hotels, offices, and even the seats in airplanes, buses, rental cars, and trains. Make sure to heavily inspect these places before settling in. Bed bugs can get into your coat, luggage, or any other personal item you have with you.
  • Check secondhand items before bringing them to your home. Secondhand furniture is one of the most common introducers of bed bugs in homes. Before buying secondhand furniture, make sure to inspect it first. It also helps if you only buy secondhand furniture from legitimate stores that follow sanitation protocols and avoid informal and unregistered stores.
Bed bugs are disgusting creatures that leave carcasses all over your home.
Bed bug carcasses. Image source: National Center for Biotechnology Information

Bed bugs can have negative effects on human health

The only positive thing about bed bugs is that they are not known to spread diseases. You don’t want these pests in your home primarily because of their bites. Bed bug bites are itchy and painful, and these symptoms can lead to physical problems like skin infections and psychological problems like anxiety.

If you really want to get rid of bed bugs, calling pest control professionals is the way to go. They are complicated insects, so DIY methods will not be very effective.

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