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Albright College

TIP OF THE MONTH

Sleep tight; don’t let the bedbugs bite

Sleep tight; don’t let the bedbugs bite… if only it were that easy; bedbugs can be quite taxing if they find you but there are measures you can take to lessen the chances of that and get rid of them if they do. They are not an immediate health hazard but reports show college dorms are one of the most common places to find these pests.

Bedbugs are flat and flightless, relatively small (about the size of an apple seed), and oval shaped, they are either a deep-brownish red or clear in color depending when they last fed.  They are great at hiding and have been shown to prefer biting during the night. They not only infest and reside in your mattress and box spring, but also your clothes, backpacks and purses, carpets, bed frames, even the corners inside dressers, curtains, closets, baseboards, couches, chairs, in almost any appliance, and any other crack or crevice available.

At this point, bedbugs have not been reported to carry disease though they are still considered a public health concern. They will learn to love you whether you are clean or dirty, but especially if you enjoy clutter as much as they do. But when disinfecting them, you should take extra care; too many people run into worse problems when disinfecting from simply misreading the directions. Bedbugs can survive many months to a year without food. However studies have shown that containment will not always fix the problem; they cannot survive above 113 degrees Fahrenheit, so washing and drying (for at least 20 minutes on high) can help and vacuuming up the pests and most of their eggs may also help. Although because of the vast expansion, the infestation problem is best handled by professional.

The source of bedbugs is impossible to pinpoint, they come from anywhere and everywhere. Crowding is one of the most common sources of their spread. Commonly, bedbugs leave you feeling itchy and usually feed three times, or a cluster of three welts. The welts produced are just your body’s mild allergic reaction; however, some may find a more severe allergic reaction to the bite known as anaphylaxis, this should be treated immediately by your local Emergency Department.

The original rise and fall of the bedbug problem in America dates back to World War II; but it has been seen recently with the increases in travels, both domestic and foreign. The new infestations of these pests have been studied and it has been observed that they have become harder to kill because they have become immune to certain pesticides. So take extra caution when traveling; use luggage racks and vacuum out your suitcase after staying at hotels. Also be sure to pay extra close attention when looking into and purchasing used furniture.

The best way to handle the bedbugs, or keep them at bay, is to clean frequently- this includes vacuuming, doing laundry, and dusting- also by cutting down on clutter. If possible, pull your bed frame away from the walls and keep blankets and sheets from falling to the floor; this may help stop their spread into your bed. But because this problem is best handled by professionals, if you have any questions or concerns never hesitate to call the Health Center, Housing Office, or the Facilities Department.

 

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