“In the next decade, every household and business will have experienced bed bugs to some degree. Isn’t it about time that you found out why and what steps you can take to prevent it?” 2009/Denise Donovan
I remember back in March of 2009, when I went on television and made that statement. The cinematographer peeked out from behind his camera and said, “That’s a pretty bold statement, are you serious?” I replied, “From my lips to God’s ears I wish I were wrong, but unfortunately unless we get information and education out to the masses we are headed for a plague that will be un-stoppable for many years. I also added, I am not pretentious and if I am wrong, I will be more than happy to re-film this, eat my words and apologize to the world” Unfortunately, it is happening and bed bugs are growing at record speed and affecting more people’s lives.
Eventually, everyone will know what a bed bug is. They will become as common as an ant, flea, spiders or fly in homes and businesses. People will have firsthand experienced them, have them at work or know a friend, co-worker or family member that may have them. Sadly, any way you look at it, bed bugs are here to stay and will be one of the biggest financial and emotional focuses of this century.
For close to a decade, I have been writing and posting articles to create awareness and educate people on bed bugs. As I opened up to this morning’s bed bug media and news, I noticed yet another dozen or so posts underscoring the effects of bed bugs. The sad part is that these articles and writings reiterate, [Bed bugs are a just nuisance, making “light” of the real effects of bed bugs and how they are destroying people’s lives both emotionally and financially]. This only goes to show how very important massive public awareness and understanding of bed bugs is warranted!
People spend hours on the Internet searching for a “quick fix solution” to their problem. In many cases, these people cannot afford the services of a professional. Some live in rental properties where owners blame them, do a quick cover-up or ignore their cries for help. They become desperate for some kind, any kind of relief and out of shear hopelessness, it drives them to do things that are unsafe for their health, or environments. Risk management procedures need to be implemented to reduce the potential of bed bug infestations.
This can only be done through education!
The Real Health Effects of Bed Bugs on Society
Cost of Treatment and Replacement: Starting with the realization that one has bed bugs begins the cost of getting rid of them. Some people, repulsed at the thought of bed bugs, will go to extremes and immediately throw away all their furniture and personal belongings with no thought of how they are going to replace them. They just want the bugs gone from their lives! Some purchase new and in time, it too is infested because they didn’t understand that it isn’t always “just the bed” that can house bed bugs.
The financial outlay for treatment [depending upon the extent of the infestation], can exceed a full month’s salary, which many haven’t the means. This now spirals into uneducated self-treatments. [This usually spreads the bugs further, causing harm to their environment by means of poisons or fire] Are you starting to see the picture here?
So you “think” that bed bugs are just a nuisance, OK, let me go on…
Then, depending upon the type of reaction one gets to the bites, add some hefty medical costs. Doctors often assume people have an allergic reaction to something else and treat without knowing it is bed bugs. I spoke to a young college woman who lived with bed bugs for six years who now has permanent scaring. [Not only physically but also emotionally]
Insane, persistent itching for one diabetic man I spoke to caused open wounds that led to secondary infections that won’t heal. In these cases, depending on a person’s immune system, can lead to hospitalization or long term sensitivity issues as well. I’ve even spoken to those who have serious infestations and were bitten for so long that anemia became an issue. Although extremely rare and dependent upon extent, anaphylaxis can occur for sensitive individuals in which I have only spoken to two.
Psychological Costs – Now let’s move on to physical/emotional costs. Normal to “not so normal” is more common than you think. I get calls from people who live with a spouse or roommate that verbally spew off “You’re a mental case” to their significant others when they are fearful of bed bugs. Here’s where the intrinsic worth of preventing bed bugs in the first place would have been smart. No likes to be called a “mental” case because of bed bugs. They didn’t cause it, they did nothing wrong, they just wound up with bed bugs. In addition, the person doing the name-calling may not fully understand or be sensitive to the true anguish they are going through, so I created a name to ease the label, mental case. #BedBugAfflictionDisorder
I think that sums it up, an affliction [suffering] of dis-order [condition] of their lives.
Developing Moderate-To-Severe Negative Emotional Symptoms after Infestations
The adverse effects on health and quality of life particularly when affordability plays a significant role are growing. The stress alone for some can exacerbate prior disease or physical injury. Many people experience insomnia and nightmares, anxiety, and overall personal dysfunction. People have graphically described their bed bug attacks as a violation like rape. Within time, they are preoccupied with detecting the threat of bed bugs wherever they go. These feelings worsen with time and cause severe depression for some. I’ve spoken to people that have a strong delusional belief that they are infested whereas several professionals including detections dogs have never found anything. A form of psychosis called Delusional Parasitosis.
Some people distance or isolate themselves altogether physically and emotionally. During the holidays each year, I receive calls from those who had bed bugs or knew of a family member or friend that did and didn’t want them to come over. They feel that any social interaction what so ever brings the possibility of getting them or someone finding out they have them. Embarrassment, shame, and disgust plague their every thought.
Like the woman who I wrote about in my last post, she lost her coping skills and has developed dysfunctional ways of thinking by compulsive cleaning at all hours of the night and other such obsessive behaviors like constantly changing linens and showering several times a day. She expressed how “dirty” she felt. Post-traumatic stresses, insomnia, obsessive behaviors of all kinds have been reported. In addition, if you already have an emotional illness, [by-polar, depression, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, etc.], bed bugs worsen conditions beyond what they really are.
There is a known suicide. On the night of her death, she awoke at 3 am and found a drop of blood on her dressing gown. She was convinced the bed bugs had returned and wrote a note stating that she had been depressed since their arrival and would be going to a better world. She also wrote an email to a friend a few minutes before killing herself: “I am panicking now because I just saw a drop of blood on my dressing gown sleeve and I am sure that vampires are back and I cannot stand to live in fear of me being eaten alive… I cannot stand it and I chose to take my life… At the time of writing, I have swallowed a bottle of wine and two hundred pills and I feel nothing, I feel completely empty, it is unbearable…” [authors’ translation]. When she called to notify her employer that she would be absent from work, he picked up on her distress and immediately called 911. The police arrived and found Ms. A on her balcony on the 17th floor. Efforts to dissuade her from jumping were unsuccessful and she died instantly with multiple injuries to the brain, thorax and pelvis as a result of her fall.
Recently a man murdered his mother over bed bugs.
Aside from a surplus of emotional disarrangements associated with bed bugs, people abandon their homes or set them on fire. [Not always on accident] I received a call from a man that purposely set his house on fire, collected the insurance, was feeling “guilty”, and needed to confess to someone to clear his conscience, he said.
With this said, these emotional problems are added to bed bug lawsuits when people are traumatized by bed bugs.
As you can see, bed bugs are so much more than an “annoyance or nuisance” and can turn a person’s life upside down and inside out. So, the next time you read an article saying “bed bugs are a nuisance” you will know that it comes from an uneducated source!
“Bed Bug Education will Never be as Expensive as Bed Bug Ignorance”
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We are always here to help! www.ibbra.org Murder http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/minnesota-man-charged-killing-mom-89-over-bedbug-infestation-n484236 Self-treatment http://www.ndtv.com/offbeat/anti-bedbug-operation-goes-horribly-wrong-man-sets-himself-apartments-on-fire-1264172 Fire http://www.wnd.com/2016/01/invasion-of-the-killer-bedbugs/ Suicide http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3700489/ Psychological effects of bed bug attacks http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22195533/ Delusional Parasitosis https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic-disorders/parasitic-skin-infections/delusional-parasitosis
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Jul 28, 2015