Bed Bugs Allergy Alert: What You Should Know

February 16, 2018

Bed Bugs Allergy Alert: What You Should Know

February 16, 2018

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In the last two decades, the dreaded Cimex lectularius, commonly known as the bedbug, has re-emerged as a result of developing a resistance to commonly used pesticides. Although many consider infestations unsightly and undesirable, researchers declare that the pests are not carriers of any known harmful illnesses. However, scientists from the North Carolina State University recently learned that the insects have the potential for causing illness in a different way.

Infested Home Tests

After a series of known infested homes underwent successful eradication of bedbugs, scientists entered the residences to test the environments. In order to establish a baseline control, the researchers also tested the environments of homes that did not suffer an infestation. In particular, the group was interested in finding histamine levels. Histamine is a natural chemical compound produced by the human body and is commonly released to initiate an immune response. Histamines are responsible for causing the symptoms experienced during allergic reactions.

When evaluating the previously infested homes, the researchers found elevated levels of histamines. The treated homes had histamine levels sometimes 20 times higher than the control residences. The group was also surprised to find that the histamine levels did not change three months later. Dr. Zachary DeVries from the university explained that the chemical is released into the air when the bedbugs leave fecal matter on surfaces. The histamine may enter the insects when they obtain blood from human hosts. The chemical might then be released by bedbugs as a homing signal to other bedbugs.

Health Implications

Being exposed to high levels of histamine on a continual basis is a health concern for the people living in the affected homes. The researcher also explained that while other common household pests may increase histamine levels in the places that they infest, the fact that bedbugs tend to infect areas that humans closely contact makes the problem more serious. The scientists theorize that being exposed to the air and surfaces where high levels of histamine exist could make the individuals more sensitive to developing allergic reactions to other allergens.

Heat Treatment Eradication

While heat treatment has been shown the most effective means of eradicating bedbugs, the process does not reduce histamine levels. Until research finds a more beneficial method, cleansing areas with bleach and vacuuming remain the standard.

Although many pest eradication services may advertise the use of treatments to eradicate bed bugs, all heat treatments are not the same. ACTION Termite & Pest Control uses TEMP-AIR equipment, which produces effective thermal remediation to eliminate bedbugs.

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