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There is nothing worse than enjoying your travels, only to find out you have brought unwanted guests along with you in your suitcase, courtesy of a less than scrupulous hotel or hostel. Bed bug bites are itchy, annoying, but not harmful to us. However, the effects of the bites can cause serious health complications like sleep deprivation and anaemia from the loss of blood.

Bed bugs feed on us in order to survive and reproduce. To find a host they can make a meal out of, they detect carbon dioxide in the air from us warm-blooded mammals (which includes animals too). They respond to our warmth and moisture too. In order to feast on us, they have to penetrate the skin through their bite, and then inject their saliva which contains an anticoagulant. This clots the blood so they can obtain it.

The bites sustained from bed bugs are normally in the exposed areas of your body, like your hands, neck, arms and face. Effects of the bite vary differently depending on the person and the frequency of the feeding. Once you’ve been bitten, red itchy bumps and welts will appear on the skin. Because of this, you can actually suffer from skin infections from the skin being broken.

In extreme cases, people have been known to respond to bed bug infestations with insomnia, fear, stress, anxiety and paranoia. The distress of the situation causes people to lose sleep, as they’re so afraid of being bitten. Anaemia has also been found in people who have been fed on frequently. Children are most at risk from having health problems due to bed bugs.

Bed bugs are not known to spread diseases, even though they do carry them. There is a wide range of over the counter products you can purchase to help with the itchiness of a bed bug bite. Some of these are:

  • Steroid cream
  • Calamine lotion
  • Antihistamine tablets
  • Topical anaesthetic
  • Pain relief like ibuprofen

Once you get home, it goes without saying that if you find you have picked up a bed bug infestation from your travels, that you must call a professional pest control company. We like to use Empire Pest Control as they are always very reliable and they get rid of an infestation fast in a green and non-toxic way. Calling a professional will help you avoid the health risks and physical discomfort you may experience from having a bed bug infestation.

Bernadette Shidler

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