ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
Fish Oil's Benefits Remain Elusive
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
Healthy adults have potential autoimmune disease-causing cells
Drinking Cuts Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
CANCER
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Poor Women Seem to Be Skipping Breast Cancer Drugs
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
CAREGIVING
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
Holistic Dentistry-My View
DIABETES
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
Purple Tomato Extended Lives of Cancer-Prone Mice
Decline of Underweight Children in U.S. Continue to Fall
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
EYE CARE, VISION
Magnetic Pulses to Brain Improve Lazy Eye in Adults
Decorative Halloween Eye Lenses May Pose Serious Risks
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
FITNESS
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
Antioxidants Blunt Exercise Benefit, Study Shows
Seniors Who Exercise Help Their Health
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Vitamin E Helps Treat Common Liver Disease
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Psychotherapy Can Boost Happiness More Than Money
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
Nighttime Urination Linked to Higher Death Rate Among Elderly
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
Women Smokers Lose 14.5 Years Off Life Span
Acupuncture May Relieve Acid Indigestation In Pregnancy
Add your Article

Bed Bugs Bring No Disease Danger

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- Although bed bugs might prevent you from sleeping soundly, the good news is that their bites don't appear to transmit illness, a new report finds.

Previously, some research had suggested that because bed bugs feed on blood, they might transmit certain illnesses. But, in the April 1 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers reviewed all of the studies done on the pesky critters to date and found no evidence of disease transmission.

They did find that some people have reactions to the bites, but these reactions are usually short-lived.

"While there is a nuisance effect from bed bug bites, the public health significance is minimal," said study author Jerome Goddard, an associate professor of entomology at Mississippi State University in Jackson. "It's not good. Nobody wants to have blood sucked out of them, but in the scheme of things, they're not carrying malaria or anything like that."

Goddard and his colleague, Dr. Richard deShazo from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, reviewed 53 studies on bed bugs published over the past 50 years.

Interestingly, they found that only about half of the people who are bitten show signs of a bite. And, for those who do react, the reaction can vary from a slight red spot that's intensely itchy like a mosquito bite to anaphylactic shock (a life-threatening allergic reaction), according to Goddard. But, he noted, anaphylactic shock is very rare.

The not-so-good news from this study was that infestations of bed bugs are on the rise all over the world, and these insects are becoming more resistant to pesticides.

For example, in San Francisco, reports of bed bug infestations doubled between 2004 and 2006, according to the study. In Toronto, during a six month period, reports of bed bugs jumped 100 percent in 2002, and in Austria, the number of bed bug samples submitted to the government went up 400 percent from during 2001 to 2004 compared to 1997 to 2000, reported the study.

"They're extremely difficult to get rid of, and they're not going away anytime soon," said Goddard. "They can live for a year without food, and they're becoming resistant to many of the pesticides used to kill them."

Greg Baumann, senior scientist and vice president of technical services for the National Pest Management Association, said that bed bugs are tough, but not impossible, to get rid of.

"It's not something a homeowner wants to do on their own, because bed bugs are very elusive. They can hide in the smallest of cracks and they're great hitchhikers. Professionals will perform a thorough inspection and develop a treatment program. And, even with the best technician, it may take more than one visit."

And, contrary to what many people believe, bed bug infestations have nothing to do with cleanliness. "They just come in on people's belongings. They're in the luggage and they crawl out. It can happen in a five-star hotel," said Goddard.

So, how can you keep these critters out of your bed? Goddard said that any time he stays in a hotel, the first thing he does is put his suitcases down in the bathroom. Then he pulls back the sheets and checks the seam of the mattress, looking for bugs or little black spots. Then, he looks at the box spring for the same type of evidence. If you see any evidence of bugs, ask for another room immediately, he said.

More information

Learn more about bed bugs from Cornell University.

Keeping Bed Bugs at Bay

Any time you travel, you're at risk of picking up bed bugs -- even in the ritziest of hotels, according to the experts. So, if you're traveling, these tips from Greg Baumann, a senior scientist with the National Pest Management Association, may help you keep these critters from crawling into your bed:

* Check the bed and headboard. When you first check in, look for any signs of small blood smears on the sheets. Look at the bed skirts and headboard for signs of bugs or any type of staining. Baumann suggested checking the furniture as well.
* If you see any evidence of bed bugs, immediately or after sleeping in the bed, contact the hotel management immediately. Baumann said that most hotels have detailed plans in place, and they'll relocate you and take that room out of service right away to address the problem.
* Check your suitcases when you get home. Even if you're confident that the hotel was clean, your bags probably still spent time pressed up against someone else's luggage while you were traveling.
* Wash all of your clothing in warm water when you get home. If a bed bug has survived in your clothing, a warm water wash should kill it, said Baumann. It's also a good idea to vacuum your suitcase when you get home.

Baumann said people should, "stay calm about bed bugs, but be vigilant, because they're becoming more and more common."



SOURCES: Jerome Goddard, Ph.D., associate professor, entomology, Mississipi State University, Jackson, Miss.; Greg Baumann, senior scientist and vice president, technical services, National Pest Management Association, Fairfax, Va.; April 1, 2009, Journal of the American Medical Association

Last Updated: March 31, 2009

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