The Psychological Effects of Bed Bug Bites

Although bed bugs are not known to transmit disease, they are a pest of significant public health importance.  Bed bugs violate our most personal space; our beds and our homes.  The pain, suffering, and emotional distress following a bed bug infestation is a serious side effect that is often overlooked.  

Bed bugs do not discriminate; they can infest a roadside motel as easily as a luxury home.  Most people already know that having a bed bug infestation is not a condemnation of their home’s cleanliness or lifestyle however, embarrassment is still a significant feeling expressed by many once they discover bed bugs in their home.  Embarrassment impedes early control measures and makes later effective remediation much more challenging.  People with ongoing bed bug infestations may be treated as lepers by people who are aware of their infestation.  Enduring this sense of being a social outcast often causes the afflicted to harbor this stigma for long periods of time until the situation becomes overwhelming.

Bed bug infestations and bed bug bites can cause both physical and psychological discomfort to people resulting in sleeplessness and increased nervousness and anxiety, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Delusory Parasitosis.  Adding to the stress is the potential for loss of possessions, the time intensiveness in preparation and the sheer cost of professionally conducted bed bug control strategies.  Given the cryptic nature of bed bugs and the difficulty in eliminating infestations, even after control is gained, people find it difficult to relax for fear that bed bugs may re-emerge if in fact the problem was never really eliminated.  Bed bug infestations can have an adverse effect on health and the quality of life in the general population.  One study of 474 individuals living in known bed bug infested homes found that the people exhibited: sleeplessness (29%), emotional distress (22%), anxiety (20%), and stress (14%).

Sadly, one documented case reports that bed bugs triggered a woman, with a history of previous psychiatric issues, to jump to her death after a repeated infestation. 

The best way to reduce or eliminate the psychological effects associated with a bed bug infestation is to engage in a plan for their elimination immediately and diligently carry out the plan.  ActiveGuard® Mattress Liners, when used as part of a bed bug treatment and control strategy, can provide peace of mind to those suffering from a bed bug infestation.  Visit us online to learn more.

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