What’s going around: Bed bugs

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BELOIT (WKOW) — You might be bringing home some unwanted visitors from your summer vacations: bed bugs.

Laura Anderson, a nurse practitioner at Beloit Area Community Health Center, told 27 News bed bugs are small, oval, brown insects that live on human and animal blood.

They’re great hitchhikers, so if you go on vacation and can wash your clothes before you come back home, you should. You should also wash them again when you’re home.

Anderson added that bed bugs don’t transmit diseases. You may get an allergic reaction, but it’s usually no more than a rash.

Symptoms for bed bugs include the following:

  • Waking up to bites that weren’t there before bed
  • Blood stains on your pillowcase or sheets
  • Bed bug fecal spots

Anderson recommended a hydrocortisone lotion to alleviate the itching that comes with bed bug bites.  She encouraged you not to itch though, as dirt from your fingernails can cause an infection.  If you notice oozing, redness or warmth from the bites, check in with a medical professional because you may need an antibiotic.

Getting rid of bed bugs can be tough, said Anderson.  You have to wash all your bedding in water at least 120 degrees and dry on the hottest setting.  Then vacuum your mattress and furniture, and discard remnants in a sealed bag.

Anderson said bed bugs don’t need to feed often and are good hiders, so you may need to call a professional to be fully rid of them.

Caroline Bach

Caroline Bach

Anchor, Wake Up Wisconsin Weekend

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