Jane Brody reports in the New York Times Health section today about the spread of bed bugs, and their effects on health. Of course, she mentions the recent JAMA report, and the fact that bed bugs are not yet known to spread contagious diseases.
Brody outlines the varying effects of bed bug bites:
Most people who are bitten by bed bugs do not react. Of the 30 percent or so who do, many mistake the small, pink, itchy bumps for mosquito bites, although people may become more suspicious and more sensitive with repeated bites.
People who are highly sensitive react with intense itching that prompts scratching and can lead to infections. One Brooklyn family did not know they were sharing quarters with bed bugs until a sensitive relative visited and woke in the morning with very itchy bites.
Still others may experience more extreme reactions, including asthma, generalized hives, and even a life-threatening allergy (anaphylaxis) that requires emergency treatment with epinephrine.
But most bed bug lesions can be treated with an anti-itch product like calamine lotion or a topical or oral corticosteroid and antihistamine. If bites become infected, a topical or oral antibiotic may be needed.
Brody also mentions that a “family living in a $3 million private house in Brooklyn discarded rooms’ worth of furniture” due to bed bugs.
The percentage of people reacting to bites is often cited as being anywhere from 50-70%.
Regardless, all bitten by bed bugs are hit financially, if not physically. (And I’ve said time and again, if you are short of money, this can have a clear and definite negative impact on your health.)
And anxiety? Stress? Lack of sleep?
More or less ubiquitous among bed bug sufferers, along with the hole bed bugs bite through your wallet.