Bed Bugs (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Bed bugs facts
- What are bed bugs? What do bed bugs look like?
- Where are bed bugs found?
- What about bed bugs in hotels?
- How are bed bugs spread?
- What are the symptoms and signs of bed bug bites?
- What is the treatment for bed bug bites?
- How do I detect a bed bug infestation in my home?
- How do I get rid of bed bugs in the home?
- What about prevention of bed bug bites?
- Bed Bugs Quiz: What's Your IQ?
- Bed Bugs - Slideshow
- Gallery of Skin Problems and Images Collection
- Bed Bugs FAQs
- Find a local Dermatologist in your town
What about bed bugs in hotels?
Many news reports in recent years have focused on the discovery of bed bugs in upscale hotels, and a number of lawsuits have been filed by guests in these fashionable hotels who awoke to find hundreds of bed bug bites covering their skin. Searching on TripAdvisor and other travel-review web sites regularly reveals information and even photos confirming the presence of bed bugs in numerous hotels.
Since the bed bugs can arrive on the clothing or in the suitcases of guests from infested homes or other hotels harboring the pests, hotels can be an easy target for bed bug infestations.
In addition to hotels, bed bugs have been found in movie theaters, office buildings, laundries, shelters, in transportation vehicles, and other locations where people may congregate.
How are bed bugs spread?
Bed bugs live in any articles of furniture, clothing, or bedding, so they or their eggs may be present in used furniture or clothing. They spread by crawling and may contaminate multiple rooms in a home or even multiple dwellings in apartment buildings. They may also be present in boxes, suitcases, or other goods that are moved from residence to residence or from a hotel to home. Bed bugs can live on clothing from infested homes and may be spread by a person unknowingly wearing infested clothing.
What are the symptoms and signs of bed bug bites?
Bed bugs bite and suck blood from humans. Bed bugs are most active at night and bite any exposed areas of skin while an individual is sleeping. The face, neck, hands, and arms are common sites for bed bug bites. The bite itself is painless and is not noticed. Small, flat, or raised bumps on the skin are the most common sign; redness, swelling, and itching commonly occur. If scratched, the bite areas can become infected. A peculiarity of bed bug bites is the tendency to find several bites lined up in a row. Infectious-disease specialists refer to this as the "breakfast, lunch, and dinner" sign, signifying the sequential feeding that occurs from site to site.
Bed bug bites may go unnoticed or be mistaken for flea or mosquito bites or other types of rash or skin conditions, since they are difficult to distinguish from other bites. Bed bugs also have glands whose secretions may leave odors, and they also may leave dark fecal spots on bedsheets and around their hiding places (in crevices or protected areas around the bed or anywhere in the room).
Bed bugs have not been conclusively proven to carry infectious microbes. However, researchers have implicated bed bugs as possible vectors of American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), and studies are ongoing to determine whether bed bugs may serve as disease carriers.
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