When traveling, inspect the bedding prior to exposing yourself or your belongings. Seal your dirty clothes in plastic bags. You may even consider encasing your luggage in a plastic bag while you are in a hotel room. Launder your clothing as soon as you get home. You can treat your suitcase by vacuuming, using a clothes steamer, or handwashing it with hot water and soap. You might also consider encasing luggage in a plastic bag between trips.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
It often seems that bed bugs arise from nowhere. The bugs are efficient hitchhikers and are usually transported into dwellings on luggage, clothing, beds, furniture, and other items. This is a particular risk for hotels and apartments, where turnover of occupants is constant. Bed bugs are small and agile, escaping detection after crawling into suitcases, backpacks and belongings. Acquiring secondhand beds, couches and furniture is another way that the bugs are transported into buildings. Bed bugs also can be carried in on one’s clothing, shoes or wheelchair. Once bed bugs are introduced, they can crawl from room to room or floor to floor. They can also be transported throughout buildings on people and their belongings.
Known to be international travelers and expert hitchhikers, bed bugs are everywhere. As you travel, you increase your chances of being bit. However, knowing how to identify the bites and what your treatment options are will help you decide your next course of action. Learn more about where to look for bed bugs and how to avoid them with these great blogs:
The bites themselves don't usually pose any major health risk since bedbugs are not known to spread diseases, but an allergic reaction to the bites may require medical attention, CDC officials say. There have also been some strange cases linked to bedbug infestations. Researchers reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2009 that they treated a 60-year-old man for anemia caused by blood loss from bedbug bites. Another study published in 1991 in the Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology found that people with asthma might be more susceptible to allergic reactions from bedbug bites.
Individuals who experience repeated bites over time may have more pronounced symptoms. Some people may also develop scarring or a skin infection from intense scratching of the skin. Rarely, a more severe systemic allergic reaction to a bedbug bite may develop. Some individuals may develop insomnia and anxiety from serious or repeated bedbug infestations.
As mentioned earlier, applying insect repellent at bedtime will probably not deter bed bugs from biting. When working in severely infested dwellings, there may be some benefit to spraying tops and bottoms of shoes with DEET-based repellents. Those working in bed bug-infested environments may also want to hot wash or run clothing, etc. through a dryer upon returning home or to the office.
About a week ago my son bought me a sectional sofa at a yard sale and by the 3rd day my grand daughter had more than 100 bites all over her arms, legs and back. I told my son that it was chicken pox because she got so full of them by the next day again, until i got up the next morning with my legs, back and arms filled with the same bites…. for my luck the sofa was loaded with the unwanted bed bugs and now they were all over my home. This is the worst itching ever not to mention the frustration when people see you with all the bite marks and they see you like you have something contagious . I threw the sofa out and found a spray called “Rest Easy bed bug repel” ($10.00) and a powder (Diatomaceous Earth) ($10.00) and sprayed all the mattress in the house along with the powder and washed EVERYTHING with hot water. I think they are gone now. I bought Calamine lotion, benadryl anti itch cream, and cortisone but the only way that my itching started to feel better was with “Gold Bond max relief cream.
Bed bug bites are caused primarily by two species of insects: Cimex lectularius (the common bed bug) and Cimex hemipterus. They are about 1 to 7 mm in size. Spread is by the bugs walking between nearby locations or being carried within personal items. Infestation is rarely due to a lack of hygiene but is more common in high density areas. Diagnosis involves both finding the bugs and the occurrence of compatible symptoms. Bed bugs spend much of their time in dark locations like mattress seams or cracks in the wall.
Unlike those of other insects, bed bug bites may sometimes appear in tight lines of multiple, small, red marks where multiple bed bugs have fed along an exposed area. Bed bug bites can cause itchiness. Initially, a victim may detect a slight burning sensation. The burning area then develops red bumps, known as papules or wheals (rash). In extreme cases, bites may swell dramatically or turn into blister-like skin inflammations.