The truth is bed bugs ARE capable of spreading diseases (such as HIV, Hepatitis etc.) but it is extremely rare – and perhaps not even documented. The chances of bed bugs transmitting a serious disease to you is very small and not something you should be worried about. For starters, bed bugs aren’t nomadic feeders – in other words they don’t travel from house to house (in most cases) on a frequent basis. This alone greatly reduces your chances of being “contaminated” by another persons blood. Add to this the fact that bed bugs have no real mechanism to transmit disease and you start to realize there’s really no need to worry. However – the potential to transmit deadly diseases still remains. For instance, a bed bug packed full of infected blood could burst while you’re sleeping and end up in your eye or in an open wound. The chances of this happening however are slim to none.
So, you really don’t have to worry about a bed bug spreading disease, but can bed bugs make you sick?
Even though bed bugs aren’t very good and transmitting disease or spreading infections that doesn’t mean bed bugs can’t make you sick. In fact many people have severe allergic reactions to bed bugs and end up with hundreds of huge swollen bites that can resemble a bad case of chicken pox. The bed bug bites can be itchy, inflamed and very unsightly and just plain gross looking. This alone doesn’t qualify as “making you sick” but it definitely doesn’t make you feel “well” or *good* either.
Another common occurrence from bed bug bites, that you can closely relate to mosquito and other bug bites, is the location of the bite(s) getting infected. This happens for the simple reason that bed bug bites (like mosquito bites) are itchy. Bed bugs inject an anti-coagulant when they bite you (to help keep the blood flowing) and the side-effects include itchiness that can sometimes be extreme.
When you scratch a bed bug bite you risk getting an infection if you break open the wound. Your hands aren’t clean and under your fingernails you have million of bacteria just waiting to infect an open wound. So try to resist the urge to scratch your itchy bed bug bites. You can also try to treat bed bug bites to reduce the swelling and eliminate the itch.
As the saying goes “too much of anything is a bad thing” – the same holds true to bed bug bites. If you are repeatedly bit by bed bugs night after night, the cumulative effect can leave you feeling quite sick and drained.
2 years ago I was working in northern Canada where the bugs (namely mosquito’s) are absolutely horrendous. You have not experienced bugs until you’ve spent at least a few days up their. Even wearing a full bug suit I was getting hundreds if not thousands of bug bites each and every day. After about two weeks I started feeling drained, stuffy, sick and tired. I wasn’t alone either – the other 6 people with me were feeling the exact same effects from all the bug bites. Then we had 3 days in a row with lots of wind – too much wind for the bugs to hang around in. And guess what? Every one of us started feeling better and had more energy. It’s pretty easy to see the excessive number of bug bites were the sole cause.
The same holds true for bed bug bites. Repeated bed bug bites will leave you with low energy and a generally sour feel if you don’t get rid of them.