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Bed Bugs, Ambulatory Care

Bed bugs

are small, flat insects that bite exposed skin while you sleep and feed on your blood. They can spread from person to person. They hide in the folds and seams of bed linens, furniture cracks, and electrical outlets. They are common in areas of frequent travel or buildings with shared walls, such as hotels or apartments.

Common symptoms include the following:

You may have one or more red and swollen areas that are irritated or itch. These areas may appear right away or several days after you were bitten. The bite marks may be in a straight line or in random areas. They look like a mosquito or flea bite. You may also have any of the following:

  • Swelling and fluid filled blisters
  • Loss of sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Open sores from scratching the bites

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Swollen lips, tongue, or throat
  • Feeling lightheaded, dizzy, or faint
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Repeated vomiting

Treatment for bed bugs

may include medicines to help decrease itching and inflammation. These may be given as a pill, cream, or ointment.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Do not scratch the bite marks. A skin infection can occur with scratching.
  • Wash bed linens and clothes in hot, soapy water. Dry them in a dryer on the hot setting for at least 20 minutes. Dry cleaning is also effective to get rid of bed bugs.
  • Tell someone about the bed bugs. This may include a landlord, hotel manager, or pest control company. Insecticide sprays are used to get rid of bed bugs.

Prevent bed bugs:

  • Protect your clothes and luggage when you travel. Inspect them often for bed bugs. Keep your luggage closed tightly when you are not using them. Keep your luggage in the bathroom, or place them in sealed plastic bags.
  • Inspect any used items you bring into your home. You may need to fumigate used furniture. Examine cardboard boxes or other items with small cracks where bed bugs could hide.
  • Remove clutter from the area where you sleep. Place your mattress or box spring in a sealed bag. Seal any cracks or molding in the walls or furniture.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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