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By Daniel Tomasulo, Ph.D.

“I don’t have bedbugs, Kenneth. I went to Princeton.”
~ Jack Donaghy, Character on NBC’s show “30 Rock”

You probably have heard on the news about the problem with bedbugs in hotels. Nasty little things. They come out at night and suck your blood while you sleep.

I like vampire stories as much as the next guy, but when it comes to my blood I am very possessive. I don’t want to share it with a bug. I assume you feel the same.

You can learn more than you’d ever want to know about these creatures at the government’s CDC website here, but suffice to say that it is worth an ounce of prevention to cope with them beforehand, particularly this holiday travel season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency have issued a joint statement on bedbugs, including emotional reactions to them: “Bedbugs may also affect the mental health of people living in infested homes. Reported effects include anxiety, insomnia and systemic reactions.”

Bedbugs are small, winged, reddish-brown insects that belong to the family Cimicidae and are about 5-7mm in size. Despite having wings, they can’t fly. They can live for months without feeding, but when they do chow down they typically have what’s been called a ‘breakfast-lunch-dinner’ pattern of multiple feedings. They draw blood and leave raised bumps on the skin when they’re done. You don’t have to treat them, but if there are enough bites it can lead to itching and widespread skin eruptions. In that case you’d want to have a dermatologist look at it.

Bedbugs literally are bloodsuckers: Within five minutes they can suck in as much blood as their own body weight, and that can last them as long as six months.

That’s the bad news. If there is good news it seems that they do not transmit diseases.

Read in Full:  http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/12/14/sleep-tight-7-travel-tips-for-bedbug-phobia/



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