By: Paul J. Bello
The Bed Bug Combat Manual
Date: September 1, 2014
Traveling and visiting healthcare, social services and other such professionals are subject to the conditions encountered at the abodes of their client’s on a daily basis. While we’d like to assume that all such locations are neat, clean and tidy, the truth is that this is not the case and these visiting professionals often encounter varying degrees of sanitation as well as the presence of various pests. Requests for suggestions on preventative measures regarding bed bugs have become a common request which is the very reason this article has been written.
Bed bugs are crypto-biotic creatures. They are often difficult to find until such time that the infestation has grown to significant proportions. They are adept hitchhikers and are transported inadvertently by man from place to place. That this commonly occurs makes visiting healthcare, social and other service professionals susceptible to picking up bed bugs on a daily basis should their work take them to an infested location. While these visiting professionals may bring bed bugs home with them, they may also inadvertently transport bed bugs from client to client location as well. Clearly, visiting professionals are well served to adopt viable and effective preventative steps which will serve to protect them and their clients from bed bugs.
In 1969 author Michael Chrichton’s best-selling novel The Andromeda Strain was published. Two years later in 1971 the movie of the same name was released. In 2011 the movie Contagion was released. Basically, the story line for both these movies was similar in that people exposed to the deadly pathogen became suddenly ill and rapidly died. That the illness spread easily made matters worse. Surely if bed bugs caused a life threatening illness people would take them much more seriously. And, if this were the case, nearly everyone would know how to protect themselves from bed bugs. This said, it seems that if we adopted the perspective that exposure to bed bugs was in fact life threatening then we’d likely do a better job preventing bed bug problems in the first place.
Those readers who are engaged as in home care givers and service providers need to know viable preventative methodologies to help protect them from transporting bed bugs. Such methodologies include the following:
- Wear light colored clothing and shoes such that you can see if any pests are on your clothing or shoes.
- Use bed bug proof bags or containers to store your equipment, supplies and tools in.
- Carry as little as possible into a client location.
- Do not bring a purse or backpack into a client location. If you must bring such items into a client location, seal it in a bed bug proof plastic bag or container.
- Keep a spare set of clothes stored in a sealed plastic bag or container to change into such that you do not bring suspect clothing into your own home. When changing, seal the suspect clothing in a plastic bag or bed bug proof container.
- Launder suspect clothing using a hot wash cycle.
- Learn to recognize the telltale signs of bed bugs which include: fecal stains, shed skins, carcasses, eggs and live bed bugs.
- Be wary of clients who present with insect bite marks and/or may comment or complain about itchy bug bites.
- Do not ignore comments and complaints from clients regarding bug bites.
- Learn how to inspect for bed bugs. Know where, how and what to look for when inspecting for telltale signs of bed bug activity.