We are on the threshold of a bed bug pandemic in the United States and world-wide, according to health officials. This is a fact that you cannot afford to ignore. Having a bed bug infestation does not mean that a person or a place is unsanitary. In fact, bed bugs have recently been detected in 5 star hotels and high end fashion boutiques. So now to the important questions; what methods are available for bed bug control or and, if you do get bitten, what treatments should you use for the bites?
Bed bugs have been around since the dawn of time but they can be dangerous. They feed, mostly at night, off of humans and pets. Their bites can cause infection and sometimes even asthmatic reactions.
Travel is one of the main reasons bed bugs are a serious problem today. Always try to keep your bags, purses and clothing off of the floor, whether you are in a movie theater, restaurant or hotel room. It is wise to put your suitcase in a closed plastic bag to prevent bed bugs from getting into it. Wear DEET on skin or clothing or, if you are worried about chemicals, try lemon eucalyptus or citronella oils.
If you do discover that you have bed bugs in your home, what can you do for bed bug control? Places where bed bugs hide out most often are mattresses and sofas. Iron your mattress, especially the edges. Steam-clean your furniture and carpet and then vacuum. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag immediately by sealing it in a plastic bag and disposing of it. As a last resort, you may have to throw out mattresses and sofa. Bed bugs hide in cracks in floors and walls. Caulk and paint walls and baseboards to seal off cracks and crevices. Launder clothes and bedding in 120F water or expose these items to heat by means of your dryer or sealing them in plastic containers and leaving them in the sun at least 2-3 days. Freezing takes even longer, about 2 weeks. Do-it-yourself sprays or powders may be effective. If not, you will need to hire a pest control company.
Methods to treat bites depend on the severity of the bite:
(1) First and foremost, try to not scratch as this can spread infection
(2) Wash the bites with soap
(3) If infected and oozing discharge, see a doctor as soon as possible
(4) Corticosteroid may be taken to help reduce the size of the welt and relieve itch
(5) Hydrocortisone can be applied and may help bites heal and stop itch.
(6) Oral antihistamines help relieve itch
(7) Apply hot cloths to the bite area. Hot water is effective but needs to be very hot (122 F)
(8) Use antibiotic cream at first sign of possible infection
(9) Ice can help reduce itching and pain
(10) A paste of baking soda can help relieve itch so you can avoid scratching.
Bed bug control and prevention are the primary means of treating bed bug bites…try to avoid them!