Are Bed Bugs Reportable to Public Health
Bed bugs are considered as a public health pest. Though no proofs or scientific studies are showing that these pests can transmit any forms of diseases, they can still cause negative effects on one’s health.
When dealing with bed bug infestations, there is a variety of problems that a household may experience. These pests can cause negative mental and physical health problems, as well as economic consequences.
Effects of Bed Bugs to People
As mentioned, these pests can harm your health and some of these effects are the following:
- Allergic reactions to bed bug bites. This may range from mild to severe cases depending on how your body reacts to the bites after hours. There are rare cases that the entire body may react and cause anaphylaxis.
- Secondary skin infections. People have different reactions to bites and some may experience secondary skin infections like ecthyma, lymphangitis, and impetigo. Aside from the reaction of the body, a small bite may get infected due to constant scratching.
- Mental health issues to people still staying in their homes infested by these pests. Some of the reported effects but are not limited to insomnia, anxiety, and systemic reactions.
Bed bugs are small and almost like the size of an apple seed. They belong in the category of blood-sucking ectoparasites or external parasites like head lice. But just like head lice, they are not known to transmit diseases.
Why are Bed Bugs Reportable to Public Health?
The health impacts of bed bugs to the public were officially acknowledged by the federal government (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EPA, and USDA.) The effects of these pests from no reaction to a single bite mark to rare cases were brought to the government's attention and are now considered a threat to the health of the public.
Inspectors are required to report the presence of signs of an infestation at any property that is being inspected. They are also required to enter any property that is reported to have these pests. This will help prevent bed bugs from continuously infesting not only the affected unit by its neighbouring units as well.
There are different bed bug policies implemented in different states in the US and provinces in Canada. Toronto, specifically, has a Bed Bug Project created in early 2008.
Among the several projects included are bed bug treatment pilot projects. The city realized that treatments were not enough during these projects. Thus, the need for a more integrated approach.
The city now employs public health officials responsible for environmental safety as well as nurses responsible for patients dealing with bed bugs. Funds are also available for helping people preparing for treatments and need additional assistance to get the treatments.
Dealing and Preventing an Infestation
If you have confirmed the presence of bed bugs, you must call a pest control company especially when the infestation is no longer controllable. There are DIY methods that you can do if you find bed bugs in minimal number, but a large infestation should be dealt with by professionals.
After getting treatment, one thing you can do to prevent the reinfestation of bed bugs is regular inspection. Make it a point to check areas where they tend to hide like bed frame, box spring and mattress.
Box springs, bed frames, and mattresses are common hiding spots since it is where they can feed off you easily. After treatment, make use of bed bug box spring covers, bed bug mattress encasements, and bed bug sprays or powders to keep lingering bugs from reaching you.