Michael G. Dawson, M.D.
You have probably heard the expression, “Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!” Although once all but unheard of in the United States, bed bugs are being uncovered in many places and have become a hot topic of discussion.
Bed bugs are small, wingless insects that feed on animal and human blood, usually at night. They are reddish-brown and flat in appearance and only about half a centimeter long, about the size of a match head. While bites from bed bugs can be irritating, they have rarely been found to carry and transmit diseases.
Bed bug bites often occur on exposed parts of the body, such as the face and arms. Bites from bed bugs leave red, raised bumps on the skin —frequently in a pattern of two or three— which may itch for several days or even a few weeks. They may be present in the morning, or may not show up for a few days. New bites may appear as the old bites are healing. It can be hard, but try not to itch. Just like a mosquito bite, itching the bites can irritate them. If they become red or inflamed, they may be infected. If so, contact your healthcare provider.
When bed bugs set up shop in your house, they find their niches and multiply quickly.
It can be difficult to get rid of bed bugs. If you wake up with bites, find rust-colored blood stains on your sheets, or happen to find a bedbug in your covers one night.
With the correct combination of methods, you can ward off the bed bugs and not lose any more sleep.