Bedbugs are found all over the world. Bed bug infestations were common in the U.S. before World War II and became rare after widespread use of the insecticide DDT for pest control began in the 1940s and 1950s. They remained prevalent in other areas of the world and, in recent years, have been increasingly observed again in the U.S. Increases in immigration and travel from the developing world as well as restrictions on the use of stronger pesticides may be factors that have led to the relatively recent increase in bedbug infestations. While bedbug infestations are often reported to be found when sanitation conditions are poor or when birds or mammals (particularly bats) are nesting on or near a home, bedbugs can also live and thrive in clean environments. Crowded living quarters also facilitate the spread of bedbug infestations.
A definitive diagnosis of health effects due to bed bugs requires a search for and finding of the insect in the sleeping environment as symptoms are not sufficiently specific. Bed bugs classically form a line of bites colloquially referred to as "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" and rarely feed in the armpit or behind the knee which may help differentiate it from other biting insects. If the number in a house is large a pungent sweet odor may be described. There are specially trained dogs that can detect this smell.
An OTC antiseptic medication can be used for skin irritation that may then develop into an infection. As a precaution, do not use creams on broken or infected skin. If you have already been scratching, do not use these products on any raw or weeping areas. If you see signs of a skin infection, such as redness, don't use these creams in that area, and call your doctor.
I don’t get to see our kids; I can’t protect them from the little monsters; my own body is being eaten alive; the constant itching and scratching is embarrassing, as is the fact that I have bites and scars in visible places, and that my blood no longer clots properly, so if I get a paper cut, I’ll be bleeding a good half hour; we’ve sprayed, washed, dried and the bites keep coming; I’ve used prescription strength cortisode cream, Benadryl (which makes me tired and stupid at work), Zyrtec, Aveeno shower soap and even used my DOGS anti-itch shampoo. And I an still itching till they bleed, scarring, and finding new ones every day. I just…a part of me has totally lost hope that there will EVER be an escape and I’m so depressed I just want to go to sleep and not wake up
In addition to the physical manifestations of bedbug bites, patients can experience significant psychological distress. The stigma that bedbugs are related to poor hygiene (however inaccurate) can lead to poor self-esteem, avoidance of family and friends, and suspension from work.37–39 Management of an infestation can be stressful, costly, and disruptive to everyday life. Worry can lead to insomnia, depression, anxiety, and even delusional parasitosis.37
As if you needed something else to worry about, bedbugs, those pests from the old bedtime rhyme are making a comeback. More of a nuisance than a health hazard, they’re showing up to suck blood from people in hotels, college dorms, and hospitals. Take an informative look at bedbugs: what they are, where they lurk, and how to spot them before they get you.