Dr. Jorge Parada, medical director of infection control at Loyola University Health System in Chicago, said bed bugs are on the rise and $1,000 per day ordinances are being suggested in cities like Chicago to enforce combat of the pests.
"Know thy enemy," Parada said in a statement. "There are lots of myths out there about bed bugs and people may be getting caught up over nothing."
Just because bed bugs -- about the size of an apple seed -- might not reveal themselves doesn't mean they're not there, look closely because they love to hide in cracks and crevices of mattresses, cushions, bed frames and other structures, Parada said.
"They are rarely seen out in the open or on the resting surface of beds or chairs," Parada said. "It is not uncommon to miss them altogether, look for tell tale signs -- specks of blood or feces on the linens, mattresses or behind wallpaper."
Bed bug bites can look a lot like other insect bites.
"Clues that can suggest the presence of bed bugs include finding red, itchy bites upon awakening -- especially if the bites line up in a row on the skin," Parada said. "However, while some people develop a bite reaction immediately, others may take two to three days before a reaction becomes noticeable."
Bed bug bites do not typically require treatment.
"Clean the bite site(s) with soap and water and avoid scratching to prevent infection," Parada said. "If secondary infection occurs it should be managed with antibiotics as appropriate."
Unlike mosquitoes and ticks, bed bugs are not associated with disease transmission.
"It is bad enough if you get bed bugs. At least it is good you won't get anything else from them!" Parada said.
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