Bed bugs are the real-life nightmares. They are the monster under and within our beds that will give sleepless nights and anxiety. These tiny pests don’t just bite, they also cause more physical and mental problems that what you can imagine. What bed bugs do to humans are appalling and it can be life-threatening for some with delicate conditions.
These pests are costing the economy millions of dollars per year. They thrive even in the most well-kept areas like hotels and condominiums. Here are some of the harmful effects the bugs could produce.
1. Sleep deprivation
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Bed bugs are called as such because they are usually found in beddings. This is because the host is usually immobile during the night when the bugs have to crawl out and suck blood for their meal. With their flat bodies, they can dig within the seams and attack when the host is lying on it. They don’t stay away from this place where they constantly access the food source.
Acquiring bites every night could send a person sleepless and he can even develop insomnia due to the paranoia of bed bugs biting again. Sleep deprivation could affect the work performance and daily activities of a person dealing with the infestation.
2. Anemia or blood loss
It’s rare for bugs to cause blood loss or anemia to a healthy host, still, what bed bugs do to humans can become deadly. In fact, a 60-year-old patient had been diagnosed with anemia related to the massive bed bug infestation in his house. The patient has been struggling with different health conditions at the time but the doctors are puzzled as to why he’s not exhibiting physical signs of anemia.
It turns out that thousands or even millions of bed bugs are feeding off his blood every day. For people with chronic anemia, the presence of bugs should be a serious concern.
Bed bug bites could be very itchy, but for some, it can be even more unbearable. This pest could trigger anaphylaxis and intense allergic reactions to humans and cause the bites to be more itchy and swollen. The welts would also be hive-like where the assistance of a physician is already needed. In rare cases, anaphylaxis may take place that will make the patient have problems with breathing due to the tightness in the throat.
Although some allergies aren’t life-threatening, it could hinder the activities of the affected person. It could also lead to insomnia and other psychological problems.
4. Bacterial infections
Bed bugs don’t transmit any disease, but the bites could cause bacterial infections due to incessant scratching. Once the bites turned into open wounds, it is susceptible to airborne bacteria and contact to polluted surfaces. The itching could be eased using different creams and ointments, but it’s a different story if the hives are already producing a liquid discharge. The help of a dermatologist is needed in these cases.
To avoid the bites from becoming the source of a health problem, avoid scratching the affected skin. What bed bugs do to humans can sometimes be treated using ointments to ease the itch.
5. Anxiety and stress
Bed bugs are hard to detect and their harborage is commonly found in very small crevices. The endless bites during the night could cause anxiety and stress on the host, and in some cases, it’s a risk factor for depression. Sleeplessness is one reason why psychological problems arise in the presence of bed bugs in a household.
Another thing is that people who have welts due to bug bites are treated like lepers and are avoided by the people around. This causes emotional distress and in some cases, the person can exhibit signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
A study found that about 40% of people experiencing bed bug infestations are under constant stress while 20% are experiencing anxiety.
6. Hassle of extermination
Bed bug bites are as detesting as their size. Their flat bodies allow them to hide in small cracks and crevices. However, this can bloat up to six times its original size when they are stuffed with human blood after the night’s meal.
This pest is nocturnal which makes it hard to eradicate. They can easily move around a property without getting detected and they can hitch on luggage and clothes. What bed bugs do to humans becomes serious of extermination measures aren’t performed.
Some people use pesticide sprays but the bad news is that bed bugs can easily develop resistance to it if used regularly. Before, DDT was widely used but EPA banned it after discovering that it’s one of the culprits in the almost-extinction of the bald eagles.
7. Asthma attacks and other respiratory problems
The nymphs, or the young bed bugs, have to shed skin up to five times to achieve adulthood. This will be paired with the increased need to suck more blood for food in order to support their bodies’ transformation. Since they will eat more, they would excrete more feces. The skin and feces will be airborne once it dries out. If inhaled by a person with asthma, the matter could result in asthma attacks.
A healthy individual who has a weak respiratory system could also experience breathing issues if continuously exposed to the airborne material.
8. Fabric and bedding damage
Though not directly to humans, bed bugs could cause damages to fabrics and beddings. This will, in turn, cost the person some money due to the need to replace or treat the affected materials. Some infestations are small that using cold treatments and washing can already clean the infested clothes and sheets. But for those with a massive bed bug problem, the cost of extermination and bedding replacement could pile up larger than the monthly mortgage.
What bed bugs do to humans is far beyond the usual itchy bites. It could cause serious health problems if not addressed early on and if the bites are not treated right away. If you’re already experiencing any of this, you should seek the help of a professional exterminator and a physician. Don’t let the bed bugs bite every night!