Bedbugs are tiny insects (the size of an apple seed) that feed on the blood of humans.

They choose dark hiding places in close proximity to sleeping humans, crawling out to feed for 4 to 12 minutes when people are asleep.

Bedbugs can be found in clean houses, too. They only need the blood of humans to live, so maintaining a clean, spotless house does not necessarily prevent them from coming in.

Bedbugs are very easy to bring into your house. These insects can crawl into luggage, clothes and even furniture without notice. When they get inside your house, bedbugs will hide in a mattress/box spring, headboard, sofa, and small crevices and cracks, and are very hard to get rid of.

The most common sign of bedbugs is bite marks on the body that often appear in a zigzag pattern. These bite areas will itch intensely but may not start itching right away.

It may take your body several days to have an allergic reaction. Other signs of bedbugs are a sweet, musty odor; specks of blood and tiny, black specks of blood on bedding, mattresses or upholstered furniture; exoskeletons (shell-like remains of the bedbug from shedding); and eggs that a female bedbug will lay that are usually found in cracks or crevices.

Using bug sprays or foggers does not rid your house of bedbugs. It is more effective to call a pest-control company with experience in eliminating bedbugs. It could take several treatments to get rid of them permanently.

Bites from bedbugs can be severely itchy, so it is better to treat the itch to prevent scratching that could cause a skin infection.

You should make an appointment with your dermatologist if you have many bites, blisters, skin infection, red & swollen skin or hives from an allergic reaction.

Sandra Cox is a nurse practitioner at Owensboro Dermatology. To set up an appointment, contact the office at 270-685-5777.

Source: American Academy of Dermatology


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