Are Bedbugs adding to your bedlam problems?

 Bed Bug

Bedbugs are not house-dust mites, they are a much more nasty problem…and will literally turn your whole home upside down. My husband was bitten by bedbugs twice … both times after business trips to different countries in Asia …he was covered in a visible trail of over a hundred vicious-looking red bedbug puncture-bites and swellings. And on the first of those occasions, we had to move into a hotel for two days on one of the occasions because we had just had our first baby, while we had the house fumigated, got medical treatment, burned or got rid of the infested clothing, and tackled the cleanup of the home from toxic chemicals following the fumigation process…and the discarding of bedclothing and pillows. It can be a nasty, costly and inconvenient experience, not to mention embarrassing and humiliating one, for the family if someone brings the bedbugs home.

Bedbug infestations appear to be on the rise due to the rise of global travel. While the blood-sucking parasite has been since prehistoric times, we have thought of the problem as mainly associated with impoverished dwellings, the homeless and fleabag hotels. The authors of “Bed Bugs and Clinical Consequences of Their Bites,”  a clinical review published in April 2009 by the Journal of the American Medical Association have pointed  out that “international travel, immigration, changes in pest control practices, and insecticide resistance” have ganged up to create “a resurgence in developed countries.”

Bed bug infestations have been reported increasingly in homes, apartments, hotel rooms, hospitals and dormitories in the United States since 1980. Reported infestations in San Francisco doubled from 2004 to 2006; telephone complaints in Toronto rose 100 percent in six months during 2002. The number of bed bug samples sent to authorities in Australia was 400 percent higher from 2001 to 2004, compared with the previous three years.

About 30 percent of people will have allergic reactions to the bites, my husband was one of them and it was an agonisingly itchy (painful even) and distracting experience for him. Treatment is usually an anti-itch product like calamine lotion or a topical or oral corticosteroid and antihistamine. In Japan, you might get an ointment made from traditional medicines. If bites become infected, a topical or oral antibiotic may be needed.  The bite marks took a month to fully subside and disappear, leaving behind scars due to uncontrollable scratching.

From our experience, getting a professional exterminator or fumigating your home is the only way to get rid of these nasty parasites.

By Aileen Kawagoe


Reference:  Keep those bedbugs from biting NY Times April 13, 2009

Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius) and Clinical Consequences of Their Bites Read ABSTRACT here
Jerome Goddard, PhD; Richard deShazo, MD
JAMA. 2009;301(13):1358-1366.

Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius) and Clinical Consequences of Their Bites by Jerome Goddard, PhD; Richard deShazo, MD

JAMA. 2009;301(13):1358-1366.

Further reading:

Bed Bugs Carolyn J. Hildreth, Alison E. Burke, and Richard M. Glass
JAMA. 2009;301(13):1398. EXTRACTFULL TEXT

Sleep Tight and Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite JWatch Pediatrics 2009;2009:6-6. FULL TEXT

Say, Honey, What’s Eating You Tonight? Journal Watch Dermatology 2009;2009:3-3.  FULL TEXT

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