Biters & Bites
By Dr. Stuart Mitchell
With so many types of biters, and so many types of bites, keeping up with the subtle differences can be a real pain. Is the biter a bed bug? Is it a bed bug bite?
Scratching bed bug bites may cause superinfection, which can progress to impetigo, cellulitis, or folliculitis. Without treatment, bite reactions generally become less swollen within one to two weeks. Rarely, systemic reactions may occur such as asthma, generalized skin rash, angioedema, iron deficiency anemia, and even anaphylaxis.
Generally self-limiting, bed bug bites typically resolve within one to two weeks without medical treatment. There is no evidence that any treatment alters the course of bed bug dermatitis. If itching is present, nonprescription topical medications containing the active ingredient doxepin or intermediate potency corticosteroids may be helpful. With superinfected bites, seek medial attention. A topical or systemic antibiotic treatment may be prescribed.
Psychological distress may be experienced along with the physical signs of bed bug bites. Bed bugs wrongfully suggest the stigma that they are related to poor hygiene. This can lead to significantly low self-esteem that results in avoidance of family and friends, and possibly interruption of work. Management of a bed bug infestations can be quite stressful, costly, and disruptive to everyday life. The consequences of resultant worry and stress may be insomnia, anxiety depression, and delusional parasitosis.
Once a pest management professional confirms a bed bug infestation, an integrated pest management (IPM) strategy is employed. Promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), integrated pest management utilizes bed bug biology and behavior coupled with the most up to date and environmentally friendly pest management methodologies.
New bed bug manual coming soon! “Bed Bug EDGEucation”
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Biters & Bites