Bed bugs are not considered dangerous, but you should be aware of the risks associated. Know which negative physical health, mental health, and economic consequences they could have. As well it’s important to know when to visit a doctor.
Bed bugs are catching waves online these days. A lot of experts are talking about it. Many nations have reported outbreaks of bed bug infestation. Public health authorities are getting alarmed. But the CDC says these insects are not life-threatening.
The bed bug is quite a mysterious little creature. One cannot seem to exhaust questions about its nature and existence. It carries plenty of intrigues. It is a fascinating object to explore. Even the legend of its name holds an interesting story.
What is the truth about bed bugs? Questions abound about the existence of these ancient pests. Are bed bugs truly dangerous? Here are some quick facts and answers to common questions people ask about bed bugs that you need to know.
Table of Contents
Can You Get Sick From A Bed Bug’s Bite?
A bed bug’s bite is unlikely to get you sick. Most of the time, their bites only leave an itchy swelling on your skin. You would realize that a bed bug bit you only after when you will see a red swelling on your skin.
While bedbugs are not known for being biological vectors of disease, they are suspected of transmitting infectious agents. For now, no report has yet demonstrated that they are infectious disease vectors. Some evidence could suggest they can be vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi, a protist that causes Chaga’s disease in humans.
While bitting, Bed bugs inject saliva containing various compounds:
- Anesthetics to ensure that the host does not feel the bite.
- Vasodilating compounds, expanding the blood vessel to increase the flow
- Anticoagulants to keep the wound from sealing up before they’ve finish to fill.
These bites can lead to allergic reactions in some case. You don’t always need to see a doctor whenever you get bitten but in some rare cases, it is advised to consult.
Do Bed Bugs Carry Disease?
There has been not enough evidence to prove that these insects spread disease. They are only annoying because they cause itchiness and skin irritations. The medical impact of bed bugs remains on dermatological concerns.
You can hardly notice a bed bug’s bite because they don’t sting. The marks will also not be visible until about one to several days. The abrasion will heal in the long run but could leave a permanent mark. It can be quite nasty to your complexion.
The bite can grow allergic reactions that may develop into a severe medical condition that needs treatment. It happens only in rare case but you would consult a professional if the situation is getting worse.
Do Bed Bugs Spread Parasites?
You need to take into account a few factors to determine if an insect can deliver parasites. Researchers must complete several steps to show the bug’s ability to transport pathogens. They also need to study the insect’s anatomy and other environmental factors.
Past studies failed to prove that bed bugs can spread infectious diseases. They didn’t find enough evidence. Those lab experiments could not support the claim that bed bugs convey parasites.
Can Bed Bugs Affect Your Health?
It varies with each person. In general, bed bugs are pretty harmless creatures. All it can give you is a small bite mark. Some people may never even develop any physical signs of a bed bug’s bite. The worst that you can get is an allergic reaction.
A bed bug’s bite is not detrimental to your health. It can only cause you stress. Allergic reactions may grow into a serious illness but these are only rare occasions.
Human blood is a bed bug’s favorite treat. That is why it loves to hide in mattresses and sheets. Having them around can cause you insomnia. You can lose your sleep itching from a bed bug’s bite.
Is A Bed Bug’s Bite Painful?
No, bed bug bites are not painful. You might get those annoying red blemishes on your skin. The redness can get irritated and itchy.
Bed bugs inject an anesthetic substance into your skin when they bite. This is what makes a bed bug’s bite painless. You would hardly notice their sting.
Bed bugs are no killer insects. You will not die of a bed bug’s bite. No records show that someone died after getting bitten by a bed bug.
Can Bed Bugs Cause Mental Illness?
Bed bugs invading your home carry a lot of stress. Their infestation can even become quite traumatic for some people. A woman shared her testimony in an article on The Atlantic. They gave her so much anxiety. She made a joke of it with her friends. She diagnosed herself with bed bug PTSD.
Bed bugs can make people hallucinate. The trauma of the bed bug infestation sticks in their mind even after extermination. They still remember the sensation and they imagine the bugs crawling on their skin. They can get paranoid.
Bed bug infestation may be harmful to people with a history of mental illness. Watching out for a bed bug’s bite can lead to an anxiety attack. It may cause complications to their mental condition. It will be helpful to bear in mind a person’s mental state when treating patients from a bed bug’s bite. Some studies claim that bed bug infections can cause a psychological disturbance.
Do Bed Bugs Carry Lyme Disease?
Bed bugs don’t carry Lyme disease. Another type of bug called the black-legged tick brings holds this bacteria. Infected ticks pass on this disease to humans through their bite. It causes fever, headache, and fatigue.
Ticks and bed bugs may have a few similarities but they are not the same. Ticks belong to a family of spiders and live in the wild. Bed bugs are insects that live in households. Both creatures bite and leave an itchy swelling on the skin but tick bites can be more harmful than bed bugs.
You can prevent Lyme disease by preventing tick bites. You can use insect repellent and stay away from the tick’s habitat. Recent insurance records alarmed the CDC about the spread of Lyme disease. Nearly 500,000 Americans have Lyme disease. It continues to spread across a significant portion of the country.
Do Bed Bugs Cause Chagas Disease?
Studies on bed bugs aren’t very clear about their ability to spread Chagas disease. It doesn’t say that bed bugs can convey the parasite that causes Chagas disease.
Another insect comes from the same family as the bed bug and carries the Chagas disease. It is known as the triatomine bug, or “kissing bug.”
A Brazilian doctor and scientist discovered the virus in 1909. Trypanosoma cruzi is the single-celled parasite that causes Chagas disease. The World Health Organization considers it life-threatening. It has infected between six to seven million people worldwide.
How Do Bed Bug Bites Look Like?
It can be hard to identify a bed bug’s bite from a mosquito or flea bite. They look quite the same. See the list below for the characteristics of a bed bug’s bite:
- rashes with swollen a red, dark spot in the middle.
- a swollen red line or clusters on your skin.
- enlarged bite marks and painful swellings.
Some people may never realize that a bed bug bit them until they start to itch. Bite marks appear only after several days. It may not even show up at all. The anaesthetic substance that the insect secretes keeps them from noticing the bite.
How Do You Recognize A Bed Bug Infestation?
The most notable sign of bed bug infestation is when you see bite marks all over your skin. Swollen, red spots could show up on your face, neck, arms, legs, and any exposed skin on your body. These bite marks look like a mosquito or flea bite.
But, here’s how you can tell that bed bugs are invading your home if you don’t develop the rashes:
- Tiny blood spots on your mattress and furniture
- A damp odor in your room when you go to bed
- The skin of the bugs that peeled off after shedding
Bed bugs may be tiny, but they are not microscopic. You can still see traces of their existence. They dwell in the folds of your mattress, sheets, and almost every corner of the house. They also shed off their skin as they grow.
Can Bed Bugs Make You Tired?
If you speak of tiredness as a symptom of a disease, then bed bugs cannot make you tired. These pests cannot weaken your body with their bite. They may feed on your blood but they are not vampires. They cannot suck the life out of you.
There is a myth that bed bugs carry diseases but no evidence has shown it. Tiredness is usually a symptom of an infection caused by viruses and bacteria. Bed bugs are not capable of spreading these pathogens.
However, the stress and itching caused by bed bugs can prevent people from sleeping properly and thus create tiredness.
Do Bed Bugs Cause Anaphylaxis?
The CDC mentions it as a rare symptom of an allergic reaction to bed bug bites. Although it occurs only rarely, it will be helpful to learn some facts about this illness, It can be life-threatening.
See the list below for common triggers of Anaphylaxis.
- antibiotics such as penicillin and aspirin-based medicine
- milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, and wheat in children
- shellfish, tree nuts, and peanuts for adults
- stinging insects and biting insects
- inhaling small latex particles
- contact with latex items
- vigorous physical activity
- temperature and seasonal changes
- drugs and alcohol
Insect bites rarely cause anaphylaxis. Other things may also cause an allergic reaction.
How To Identify Anaphylaxis From Asthma?
Anaphylaxis and Asthma have similar. Hence, people with asthma are likely to develop Anaphylaxis. It is important to be able to distinguish these two conditions to get proper medication.
It’s not difficult to identify anaphylaxis from an asthma attack. Allergic reactions come after taking medicine or other substances that may cause allergies. It could also come from insect bites or stings, but bed bugs are not known to cause Anaphylaxis.
There are three kinds of insects that cause allergic reactions.
- Stinging Insects – Bees and wasps are common examples of these insects. They inject a venom-like substance into your skin.
- Biting Insects- Mosquitoes are the most popular biting insects. They spread diseases like Malaria and Dengue Fever. The bed bug is another biting insect. It is harmless but annoying.
- Household Pests – Cockroaches and dust mites are examples of these insects. They don’t bite or sting, but getting in contact with them may cause allergies.
Most insects that bite or sting release toxic substances that may cause allergies. Anaphylaxis is the medical term for this allergic reaction. It has similar symptoms to asthma.
Are Bed Bugs dangerous to babies?
Your baby might wake up with itchy bites. Bedbugs are not known to spread disease and the bite itself is harmless. Babies and children are prone to scratching and this can cause skin infections.
When Do Bed Bug Bites Need Medical Attention?
Bed bugs don’t always cause allergic reactions. But, an allergic reaction to insect bites can develop into a severe illness. It can become life-threatening if not immediately treated.
Here are the symptoms of severe allergic reactions to insect bites that you need to watch out for.
- Rashes on the skin and itchiness
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
- Shortness of breath
- Dizziness or the feeling of fainting
- Stomach pain, vomiting, bloating, or diarrhea
- Feelings of anxiety
A simple, itchy, red swelling may not always be a cause for alarm. It’s a normal reaction to an insect bite. Even if it comes with a painful sting, it may still not be an allergic reaction. The swelling will usually heal within hours or a few days. If the symptoms above are missing, then you may not need medical treatment for the bed bug bite.
How Do Bed Bugs Spread?
Bed bugs are tiny insects that feed on the blood of animals and humans. They measure about 1 to 7 millimeters. It is about the size of an apple seed. They have an oval-shaped body with a reddish-brown hide and six legs. They don’t have wings but they can move from place to place with much ease.
These tiny parasites got their name because of their annoying behavior. It is because the bugs usually attack people when they are asleep. These little pests love to dwell in the folds of mattresses, sheets, and furniture. They can stick to your luggage and even the seams of your clothes and jackets when you travel. They can come with you wherever you go.
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
Bed bugs have existed since ancient times. Researchers found specimens of their kind in tombs at a certain place in Egypt. They grow in all parts of the globe.
It seems that nobody knows where bed bugs come from. All people say about bed bugs is that they live in places where people sleep. These bugs have been pestering humans for over three thousand years.
Scientists have discovered two species of bed bugs. Cimex lectularius grow in cool climates while Cimex hemipterus thrive in tropical countries. They belong to the Hemiptera family of insects. It is the same group of anthropods from which cicadas and aphids originated.
Are Bed Bugs Predators?
Bed bugs are more inclined to become prey than predators. The reason they bite people is for survival. They need blood to nourish themselves. That is where they get their food. You will be doing a little charity to the poor, little creature by permitting them to get a tiny sip of your blood.
Hemiptera is a special class in the animal food chain. They are different from predators because they don’t eat meat. They only get their nutrients from the blood of other animals, insects, and humans. Bed bugs belong to this class. They drink blood to survive.
You don’t have to be afraid of bed bugs when you see them. You don’t even need to fret when they bite you. A touch of Benadryl can soothe the itch. You only need to look out for allergic reactions. Otherwise, you can still sleep tight even when the bed bugs bite.
Is it Safe to Sleep in Bed with Bed Bugs?
Knowing the health risk of a bed bug’s bite may be helpful but it is not healthy to keep biting your nails over it. A tiny bed bug’s bite won’t kill you. Your misplaced anxiety could even do you more damage than the bite itself.
You can still feel safe sleeping in your bed even with bed bugs around. It’s not outright dangerous to sleep in a bed with bed bugs. It is only stressful having them around. They disturb your peace. You can hardly sleep from all the itching and scratching.
You cannot confine bed bugs in the bedroom. They can be everywhere there are people. Warmth, blood, and carbon dioxide attract these insects. That means they follow you wherever you are. You cannot keep yourself away from these bugs until you exterminate them. You may need to get used to their presence. A single bite won’t hurt anyway.
Can bed bugs cause hepatitis?
There is some lab test around and attempts to transmit disease agents in the laboratory using bed bugs have been unsuccessful.
Hepatitis B viral DNA can be detected in bed bugs up to 6 weeks after they feed on infectious blood, but no transmission of hepatitis B infection was found in a chimpanzee model.
Transmission of hepatitis C is unlikely, since hepatitis C viral RNA was not detectable in bed bugs after an infectious blood meal.
Can bed bugs transmit HIV?
Some test show that live HIV can be recovered from bed bugs up to 1 hour after they feed on infected blood, but no epidemiologic evidence for HIV transmission by this route exists.
What Makes Bed Bug Infestation Dangerous?
There is not much to dread about a bed bug’s bite but having swarms of insects invade your home is overwhelming. The presence of insects and pests underlies a hygiene and sanitation problem. It implies a public health issue.
Bed bug infestation poses a threat to both your health and the environment. You may not be likely to get allergic reactions from a bed bug’s bite but your health is still at risk. Pesticides usually contain harmful chemicals. You could get sick if inhale them. Allergic reactions can also come from these chemicals.
The Environmental Protection Agency warns that pesticides may not stop bed bug infestations. Some of these pests have even grown to develop resistance to these pesticides. You will need to apply a good strategy to get rid of these bugs.
Can bed bugs suck all my blood?
Bed bugs have more reason to fear humans than otherwise. It is easy to squish the tiny insect with your nails when you see them. A bed bug would need an entire battalion to consume all your blood. You wouldn’t die because of a bed bug’s bite. They are harmless bloodsuckers.
Why do bed bugs prefer to suck human blood?
Bed bugs are primarily attracted by the carbon dioxide (CO2) that humans exhale. We might be moving around for most of the time we spend in our house. But when we’re sleeping, we’re staying in one place.
To make things worse we are breathing constantly while sleeping. We’re not stirring up air current and dispersing the CO2, so it all just remains close to us, letting them know exactly where we are.
Should You Be Afraid of Bed Bugs?
There is yet no reason to dread a bed bug’s bite. Past studies have not proven that bed bugs spread infectious diseases. They remain the harmless, little nuisance that they are. As long as you don’t get allergies from a bed bug’s bite, you can stay calm when they are around.
To wrap up this discussion on the dangers of a bed bug, it would be enough to say that bed bugs are not dangerous. They could not cause direct harm to people. Severe illnesses only occur after complications to the individual’s response to the bed bug’s bite. A healthy person can keep calm over a bed bug’s bite. A tiny bed bug cannot make you sick. They have not been known to carry and spread infectious diseases.
It may also not be possible to completely wipe out these annoying little bugs from the face of the earth. They even existed longer than anyone of us living in these modern times. Bed bugs could continue to exist as long as they have blood to feed on. It may be helpful to accept this fact to ease your anxiety.
There can be no serious threat to a bed bug’s bite for a healthy person. Even allergic reactions do not cause an alarm if treated immediately. The health risks of bed bugs fall on mental illness. Bed bug infestations can become quite traumatic for these vulnerable people. Bed bugs alone do not cause a threat. The danger comes from a bed bug infestation. When these tiny insects come in swarms, they can cause anxiety. It can trigger a meltdown in people diagnosed with mental illness.
Bed bugs are not dangerous but are quite annoying. If you have an infestation it is better to get rid of it as soon as possible. You can also read our guide to get rid of bed bugs permanently