Myth 2 - Bed Bug Bites Transmit Disease (and what bed bug bites look like)
By Kathleen Crislip. Student Travel Expert
Bedbug Myths, Continued2. Bedbugs Transmit Disease
- Do bedbugs carry disease? Well, bedbugs do carry 24 known pathogens, according to Baumann. Do bedbugs transmit disease? Nope, bed bug bites won't make you sick (unless, of course, the bites get infected. Baumann says that the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted research in Africa which produced no documentation that the little ankle biters can transmit disease.
Mosquitos, on the other hand, can carry plenty of creepy crud like malaria and West Nile disease. which they transmit to you via science fiction-like needle nose. (Yeah, ewww. We didn't ask for the proboscis probe.) Bedbugs do feed on blood, but they don't spread AIDS or other blood-borne illnesses. (In fact, no bugs spread AIDS, according to Baumann.)
That's not to say bedbugs and bed bug bites aren't a disgusting drag.
Bed Bug Bites
A bed bug bite looks like a small welt, and it burns and/or itches, according to the Adam Health Center. Red bumps that sting and / or itch like crazy, would be how bed bug bite victims describe it. You can't feel a bed bug bite while it happens (they take about five minutes to feed), and the bugs
are nocturnal. So, then, they can feed peacefully while you sleep. Isn't Mother Nature just such a smartie?
Check out the bed bug bite picture at right to see just what a bed bug bite looks like, lest you have a red welt and wonder.
Adam Health Center also tells us to wash a bed bug bite with soap and water, apply some ice and use an antihistamine cream or no-itch cream. (Do check out Brave Soldier antiseptic goop. It rocks the best no-itch, no infection, no-scar wound treatment around. Read a Brave Soldier review and then consider letting Brave Soldier guard your borders -- I always carry a tube in my travel first aid kit .)
And if a bed bug bite gets infected while you're traveling (gets very tender and starts oozing yellow, white or greenish goo), you should consider seeing a doctor. I've seen doctors abroad when I'm sick -- it's been easier and less expensive for me than seeing US doctors, and I got well every time.
By the way, here's a fun fact, courtesy of Baumann: female insects are normally the feeders, but both genders of bed bug bite because they need the blood meal (ewww again) to shed their shells.
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