5 Ways a Bed Bug Infestation Can Impact Your Health

To the best of our knowledge, bed bugs do not carry or spread diseases to human beings. That’s the good news. However, it doesn’t mean that a bed bug infestation can’t adversely impact the health of you and your family. Long term exposure to bed bugs can, and often does, have a profound effect on our health and well-being. It’s one of the reasons it’s so important to have your home treated for bed bugs at the first sign of an infestation.

While it’s comforting to think that bed bugs can’t transmit diseases, these blood-sucking pests can be associated with a variety of health concerns – some of which can be quite serious. So, let’s look at five ways a bed bug infestation can adversely effect your health.

​Allergic Reactions

Most people experience some measure of allergic reaction to a bed bug bite. Those reactions will range from mild to severe depending on the individual’s sensitivity to the bite. In the majority of cases the reaction is limited to an irritating rash. Itchy and uncomfortable but not life threatening.

However, in extreme cases some people may experience an anaphylactic reaction to the bed bug’s bite. This could lead to anaphylactic shock which can result in a sudden drop in blood pressure, difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting.

Bed bug related anaphylactic shock is relatively rare among otherwise healthy individuals. Having said that, it is a serious issue and can be life threatening if not treated immediately.

​Sleep Deprivation

A good night’s sleep is more important to good health than most of us realize. Restful sleep allows the body to restore and refresh itself. Lack of sleep, especially over a long period, can lead to a wide range of health complications.

Bed bug bites may not be particularly painful during the insect’s attack, but the resulting itchiness and irritation can often lead to troubled sleep. The discomfort makes it difficult to achieve the deep restful sleep one needs to maintain good health.

But any physical discomfort associated with bed bug bites is only part of the problem. Knowing you’re caught up in a bed bug infestation can increase your anxiety. That can make it difficult to relax and can make bedtime a difficult proposition. Anxious sleepers rarely get the rest they need to recharge themselves, and that again can adversely impact a person’s health.

​Secondary Infections

Current research indicates that bed bugs don’t transmit diseases or other pathogens to their victims. But that doesn’t mean that their bites can’t result in possible infections.

The rash that typically accompanies a bed bug bite can be extremely itchy and irritating, and most people feel compelled to scratch at the affected areas. Unfortunately, that scratching tends to aggravate the bite and provides a pathway for germs to enter the abrasions. Left unchecked it can lead to serious infections such as streptococcus.

If you’ve been bitten by bed bugs it is important to avoid scratching the area at all costs. It is also important to monitor the abrasions. If you see any change in the bite marks, or suspect the area might be getting infected, you should contact a physician right away.

​Respiratory Illness and Infections

A large scale bed bug infestation can seriously impact the air quality in your home. Bed bug colonies grow quickly, and these pests multiply at an alarming rate. When bed bugs mature they shed their skins. This, combined with the natural waste of the colony, ultimately ends up in the air you and your family are breathing every day.

Once air quality in the home is compromised you and your family have an increased risk of developing a variety of respiratory problems. These can range from shortness of breath to the onset of previously dormant allergies. Asthma sufferers are particularly vulnerable to developing serious health issues due to the compromised air quality in the home.


Anemia as a result of a bed bug infestation is extremely rare. However, these blood-sucking pests have been known to cause anemia in some people and it is a condition that should not be taken lightly.

Bed bugs feed on the blood of their hosts. If the victim is not able to replenish the lost blood in a timely manner they can develop anemia. Fortunately, for the average person to develop a case of bed bug related anemia they’d need to sustain an inordinate number of bites. But for the elderly, young children, and the immunocompromised it is a very real threat.

​Protecting Your Health in the Face of a Bed Bug Infestation

A bed bug infestation is more than just a costly inconvenience. It can lead to serious health issues for you and your family. Ignoring the early signs of a bed bug infestation is a dangerous mistake, and it can lead to major problems down the road.

Published by Scott Palatnik

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