The United States is experiencing an increase in the number of bedbug populations in private and public spaces, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In addition to taking preventive measures, those working in long-term care settings can look for the following signs, shared by dermatologist Seemal R. Desai, MD, to ensure that places where sleeping occurs are free from the pests:
- A sweet, musty odor. Bedbugs produce chemicals to help them communicate, although not everyone will notice the smell.
- Specks of blood on bedding, mattresses or upholstered furniture, especially near the seams.
- Exoskeletons on the mattress or mattress pad or beneath couch cushions. Bedbugs have an outer shell that they shed and leave behind.
- Tiny, blackih specks on the bedding, mattress or headboard.
- Eggs. After mating, female bedbugs lay white, oval eggs in cracks and crevices. These eggs will be small;0 a bedbug is only about the size of an apple seed.
“Although bedbugs don’t usually require serious medical attention, they can cause a great deal of anxiety and restless nights,” says Desai, who maintains a private practice in Plano, Texas, and is a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “The most common sign of bedbugs is having bite marks on your body, which can sometimes turn into itchy welts.”
Dermatologists often are consulted to treat the effects of bedbugs on people's skin. The American Academy of Dermatology has posted a How to Check for Bedbugs video on its website and its YouTube channel.