Can Bed Bugs Make You Sick?
For many of us, merely looking at an insect can cause a stomach-churning burst of nausea. That sickening feeling is only heightened when confronted with parasitic, disease-spreading insects, like mosquitoes.
And then there were bed bugs. We all know that we shouldn’t let them bite, but what happens when they do? What is the likelihood of contracting a major illness from bed bugs?
Let’s answer some questions!
Can Bed Bugs Make You Sick?
Bed bugs may be annoying, blood-sucking pests, but they don’t spread diseases as other common pests do.
Think of some of the most common parasitic insects. Ticks are known for spreading Lyme disease, and fleas are responsible for transmitting the bubonic plague across Europe. Mosquitoes carry a whole host of exotic and deadly viruses, while roaches have been known to transmit the poliovirus.
Bed bugs don’t do any of these things.
But while bed bugs cannot infect you with a disease, but they can make you sick!
Can Bed Bugs Make You Physically Sick?
Yes. Individuals may suffer from a severe allergic reaction when bitten by a bed bug. Such a response requires immediate hospitalization.
Also, a heavy infestation can cause symptoms of asthma in those with compromised respiratory systems.
Most people who have been bitten by bed bugs will notice small, raised red bumps or welts across their arms, necks, shoulders, or legs. They often form groupings or staggered lines. While these bumps are mildly itchy and irritating, they should not be painful.
That is unless you begin to scratch them.
How Can Bed Bugs Make You Sick?
The existence of bed bugs alone is not enough to make you sick. But when these critters decide to gnaw at you throughout the night, and you begin to unconsciously toss and turn and scratch, you may have a problem.
Nightly visits from your resident bed bugs not only can wreak havoc on your sleep, but it can also leave you covered in tiny, itchy bumps.
These bumps may not appear or itch for the first few days. This disappearing act is the result of bed bugs injecting their victims with tiny amounts of anesthetic while feeding on them. Once that anesthetic has worn away, the body begins to react to the saliva remaining in the broken skin.
The result is itchiness.
Itchiness alone is not a sickness. But falling prey to your itchiness, giving in to the desire to scratch, can make you very sick indeed.
Can Bites from Bed Bugs Make You Sick?
While the bites themselves may not make you sick, excessive scratching and poor hygiene practices sure can.
When you scratch at your bed bug bites, you’re removing layers of protective skin. You’re substantially increasing the damage done to your body and prolonging its existence.
If you can resist the urge to scratch your itchy bites will likely disappear in about a week. However, if you decide to scratch that itch, you’re looking a longer healing time which means several extra days or weeks of increasing discomfort.
And not only that, scratching can you open you up to infections that you certainly don’t want to be dealing with. You may not initially be able to stop the bed bugs from biting, but you can keep them from making you sick.
Frequently Asked Questions
The bed bug can be as dangerous as a triatomine or “kissing” bug. Both the bed bug and triatomine can transmit Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease. Chagas is one of the most prevalent and deadly diseases in America. Bed bugs carry more than 40 dangerous pathogens in their gut. Accidental contact with these pathogens through open wounds is always a possibility.
Yes, there are side effects from bed bug bites. While some people don’t have any reaction to it, others may experience an allergic reaction that can include severe itching, blisters, or hives. Allergic reactions may be mild or extreme. The reaction is similar to that of a bee sting if one is allergic to bees. Secondary skin infection and insomnia may also occur.
Rubbing alcohol is a popular bed bug repellent. Applying rubbing alcohol to the exposed skin will certainly repel bed bugs; however, it dries quickly and will likely not last during a whole night’s sleep. Essential oils are the best alternative to rubbing alcohol and one of the most popular go-to remedies to repel bed bugs.
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