Bed bugs are more than simply pests. A full scale infestation can be both financially and emotionally traumatic. Which is why it’s so important to catch bed bug invasions early and start treatment as soon as possible. The longer you wait the greater the potential for damage to your home, your happiness and, yes, your health.
The good news is there’s no evidence that bed bugs carry or transmit diseases to humans. But that doesn’t mean they can’t have an impact on your health. In fact, there are a number of health issues associated with bed bug infestations. While none of these issues are necessarily life-threatening some of them can be quite serious.
Let’s look at a few of the most common ways bed bugs can affect your health and the health and well-being of your family.
By far the most common way bed bugs can impact your health is via an allergic reaction. In fact, the rashes and itching typically associated with bed bug bites is, in itself, and allergic reaction. Naturally, some people will be more sensitive than others. This is why some family members may suffer more during a bed bug infestation than others.
In most cases the reaction to bed bug bites ranges from mild to moderate. But in extreme cases reactions can be severe and can result in anaphylactic shock. This can cause someone’s immune system to release a rush of chemicals into the body causing a quick drop in blood pressure, difficulty breathing and nausea.
Anaphylactic shock is the most dangerous health issue associated with bed bugs. In extreme cases it can be life-threatening. Fortunately, bed bug induced anaphylactic shock is rare.
It’s not unusual for people dealing with a large scale bed bug infestation to have trouble sleeping. The causes are both physical and psychological.
While people rarely feel the bed bugs when they’re biting the aftermath of those bites can be painful. The subsequent rashes and itching can prevent restful sleep. In addition to the physical pain brought on by the bed bug bites you have the psychological trauma for dealing with an infestation. The thought of sharing your home with these blood-sucking pests can make it difficult to sleep soundly.
Sleep deprivation can make daily tasks difficult and lead to a drop in productivity. Lack of restful sleep can also lead to depression, anxiety and memory loss.
Bed bugs do not carry pathogens and their bites do not transmit diseases. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t develop an infection after repeatedly scratching bed bug bits. The more you scratch the more likely you are to aggravate the bite or even break the skin. This can easily lead to dangerous infections.
If you’re bitten by bed bugs it’s important to avoid scratching the irritated area. Monitor the bite marks or rash to ensure they heal properly. Over-the-counter antibiotic ointments can help sooth the affected area and prevent possible infections. If the rash fails to heal in a timely manner or pain persists you should see your doctor for further assistance.
Bed bugs feed on human blood. It is their primary food source and feeding is their main objective in life. Blood loss from a single bed bug bite is minimal and far from life threatening. However, a large number of bites over an extended period can result in a significant loss of blood. If the victim’s body is unable to replenish the blood in a timely manner they run the risk of developing anemia.
Anemia is a condition in which a person’s red blood cells and hemoglobin count drops due to a major iron deficiency. Common symptoms of anemia include jaundice, fatigue, shortness of breath and chest pain.
Bed bug related anemia is rare. It mostly occurs in children and the elderly. And even then only in extreme cases. However, if you’re dealing with a major infestation and suspect someone in your household may be showing symptoms of anemia contact your family doctor immediately.
Weakened Immune System
Your immune system helps to keep us healthy. It wards off disease and protects us from illness. An ongoing bed bug infestation can damage your immune system in a number of significant ways.
First, regular restful sleep is necessary to keep your immune system strong. If bed bugs are disrupting your sleep cycle your immune system may become weakened and leave you susceptible to common illnesses.
Stress can also weaken your immune system. As stress increases, especially over a prolonged period, you can become prone to common illnesses. Eventually, as the bed bug infestation continues, your family’s health may start to suffer.
Finally, allergic reactions and infections put additional strain on your immune system. When combined with lack of sleep and stress your body will struggle to fight off infections or cope with allergic reactions. It will take longer to recover and you will be more likely to succumb to other common ailments.
Protect Your Health and Get Rid of the Bed Bugs
If you suspect you have a growing bed bug problem in your home the time to act is now. Call in a professional bed bug inspection and removal service immediately. The sooner you act the better. Because your health, and the health of your family, could well be at risk.
Published by Scott Palatnik
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