Bedbugs are small, reddish-brown insects that often live on furniture or bedding. But can also found inn other crevices such as in objects under the bed and under carpeting. They bite the exposed skin of sleeping humans and animals to feed on their blood. According to the NHS, there are three main ways to get ride of bedbugs.
The health body recommends the taking the following three steps:
- Contact your local council or pest control service – it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get rid of bedbugs yourself because they can be resistant to some insecticides
- Wash affected bedding and clothing – use a hot wash (60C) or tumble dry on a hot setting for at least 30 minutes
- Put affected clothing and bedding in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer (-16C) for four days (alternative to hot washing)
- Clean and vacuum regularly – bedbugs are found in both clean and dirty places, but regular cleaning will help you spot them early
“A thorough vacuuming of cracks and crevices can physically remove bedbugs from an area.
“Empty the vacuum after each use,” added Mayo Clinic.
It is also important to be aware of the triggers. According to Mayo Clinic, there are a number of ways to prevent an infestation, these include:
Secondhand items – inspect used bedding items and upholstered furniture carefully before bringing them into your home.
Hotel precautions – Check mattress seams for bedbug excrement and place your luggage on tables or dressers instead of on the floor.
Birds and bats – Eliminate any neighbouring bird and bat habitats that may serve as a refuge for bedbugs.
The NHS also recommends keeping the area around and under your bed clutter-free.
Bedbugs tend to make their presence known. Typical signs include bites on exposed while sleeping like the face, neck and arms, spots of blood on bedding – either from the bits or squashing a bedbug, or small brown spots on bedding or furniture (bed bug poo).
A bite shouldn’t raise any health concerns but some people may have a reaction, said the NHS. This can make the area very itchy and there may be panful swelling.
Bedbug bites usually clear up on their own in a week or so. To soothe any symptoms, the health body recommends applying something cool, like a clean, damp cloth on the affected area to help with the itching and any swelling.
It also recommends keeping the affected area clean and avoiding scratching – this could aggravate the bite and cause an infection.
“Antihistamines may help if the bites are very itchy and you’re unable to sleep,” it added.
A skin cream containing hydrocortisone (Cortaid) may also speed up the recovery, said Mayo Clinic.