|Human parasites: Bed bugs|
Photo by Gilles San Martin
In a study that is the first of its kind in the U.S., the CDC found that 111 people got sick from bed bug chemicals between 2003 and 2010, but nearly three quarters of these illnesses occurred between 2008 and 2010, when the bed bug epidemic took off.
That’s not the kind of number that suggests a public health burden, but the CDC cautions that the number may grow as bed bugs continue to become resistant to commonly used chemical pesticides.
Most of the sicknesses caused by pesticides occurred in the metropolitan area of New York City, and in six other states: California, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas and Washington.
Some 81 percent of cases were not severe, according to a Reuters article.
Most of the illnesses were due to misuse of the pesticides, the CDC says, and common symptoms included headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are reddish-brown insects with a flattened oval shape that feed on blood and can survive up to a year without eating. They are attracted by body warmth and carbon dioxide.
While bed bugs occur around the world, the recent spread of infestations has been blamed on increased international travel and other trends such as secondhand furnishings.
|Bed bugs are often spread through|
travel, experts say.
Bed bug bites can lead to skin rashes and allergic symptoms, but they are not known to carry disease and more often cause emotional distress rather than other symptoms.
To get rid of bed bugs, many people resort to harsh chemical substances.
However, resistance to pesticides has increased significantly, and there have been real concerns about the negative health effects associated with pesticides and using exterminators that are not certified.
Experts recommend using only certified professionals to eradicate bed bug infestations and using chemical and non-chemical treatment.
Non-chemicals treatments include:
- Vacuuming up bed bugs
- Heating up a room or cooling it down to a certain temperature to kill the insects (should be done by professionals)
- Wrapping the mattress in a bed bug-proof cover (physical isolation)
Interested in learning more about indoor air quality, chemical exposure and room air purifiers to remove chemicals, odors and other pollutants? Contact AllerAir today and follow us on Twitter.