Bed bugs exclusively love human blood. They measure about one-fifth of an inch as adults, while their eggs are even smaller: about one-twentieth of an inch. If you find any signs of bed bug presence in your home, getting professional help is essential to prevent further spreading. Bed bug infestations can be particularly difficult to eradicate at times due to the resistance that some of their populations have developed toward chemical elimination methods. However, other extermination techniques, such as heat treatments, have been proven to be extremely successful, effectively eradicating entire bed bug colonies.
Bed bug bites are the main cause to many physical and psychological effects that can affect humans in multiple different ways. Exploring the different symptoms and reactions that people might show if they go through an infestation is important to understand how to approach treatment and prevention. Some of the physical consequences bed bug bites can cause are the following:
- Pain: Bed bugs can often be found living in or near humans’ rest areas. They tend to establish residence in furniture pieces such as beds and couches. This provides them with easy access to bite their hosts. Their bites appear as red bumps on the skin and they are known to cause discomfort and mild pain to the individual.
- Itching: Possibly one of the most common symptoms, itching manifests shortly after being bitten. The itching sensations can be mild, but they can also increase in severity in certain cases. Itching sensations can also last for multiple days, typically depending on the amount and frequency of the bites.
- Swelling: Individuals may experience swelling and inflammation in the area where the bites are present.
- Secondary Infections: The itching, swelling, and discomfort caused by bites may lead individuals to scratch excessively. This can lead to skin breaking and increase the possibility of developing secondary bacterial infections.
However, physical symptoms are only one side of the difficulties attached to dealing with a bed bug infestation, as these can also lead to mental health difficulties for people. Some of the psychological effects that individuals may experience as a consequence of bed bug bites are the following.
- Sleep Problems: The uncertainty that a bed bug infestation creates can lead to anxiety and stress, which can in turn translate into insomnia. In addition, most bed bug bites take place at night, because they prefer to attack their hosts while they are sleeping. A prolonged infestation can interfere with individuals’ sleep cycles as they try to avoid being bitten by staying up at night, which can prevent individuals from sleeping deeply or at all.
- Anxiety and Stress: Bed bug infestations can lead people to suffer from anxiety and stress. Having to constantly inspect for signs of the insects in an effort to eradicate them, combined with lack of proper rest and sleep, can also contribute to heightened levels of distress.
- Depression: The lack of sleep induced by anxiety, combined with the emotional weight of prolonged stress can lead people who have been dealing with long-term bed bug infestations to suffer from depression.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): In cases of particularly severe infestations, people can develop post-traumatic stress disorder and experience a variety of symptoms ranging from nightmares to flashbacks and obsessive behaviors, often manifesting as an excessive amount of cleaning and home inspection in search of potential bed bug presence.
In order to avoid bed bug infestations and the physical and psychological symptoms that their bites can cause, remember to exercise preventative measures. Understanding the signs and symptoms of bed bug invasions is the first step to prevent and treat them. Conduct regular inspections of your home and always check new clothing and furniture items before bringing them inside your property. Exercise awareness: this is the key to early detection and fast elimination.
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