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 is the treatment for bed bug bites?
Typically, no treatment is required for bed bug bites. If itching is severe, steroid creams or oral antihistamines may be used for symptom relief. Secondary bacterial infections that develop over heavily scratched areas may require the use of antibiotics.
How do I detect a bed bug infestation in my home?
You can look to see if you can identify the fecal stains, egg cases, and exuviae (shed skins) in crevices and cracks on or near beds. You should also look at other areas such as under wallpaper, behind picture frames, in couches and other furniture, in bedsprings and under mattresses, and even in articles of clothing. While fecal stains and skin casts suggest that bed bugs have been present, these do not confirm that the infestation is still active. Observing the bed bugs themselves is definitive confirmation that an area is infested. You may require professional assistance from a pest-control company in determining whether your home contains bed bugs.
How do I get rid of bed bugs in the home?
Getting rid of bed bugs is not an easy process, and most cases of bed bug infestation will require treatment by a pest-control expert. Bed bugs can survive for up to a year without feeding, so they may persist even in unoccupied rooms.
A variety of low-odor sprays, dusts, and aerosol insecticides can be used to eradicate bed bugs. These must be applied to all areas where the bugs are observed as well as spaces where they may crawl or hide. The pest-control company can help you determine if the mattress can be disinfected or must be discarded. Since beds cannot readily be treated with insecticides, it's often necessary to discard infested mattresses and beds.
The pest-control expert may recommend certain forms of deep-cleaning such as scrubbing infested surfaces with a stiff brush to remove eggs, dismantling bed frames and furniture, filling cracks in floors, walls, and moldings, encasing mattresses within special bags, or using a powerful vacuum on cracks and crevices.
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