“Good night, sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite.” Literally. For many community members this is all too real a hope as they close their eyes. A simple phrase of seemingly well-intentioned nighttime wishes takes on a whole new meaning when you have been a victim of a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs do not know the difference between a poor man and a rich one. They know no barriers.
Over the last decade or so, bed bugs have seen resurgence. It is all too often that our patients have to battle these little pests. Though they are not known to carry disease, the CDC and the EPA have referred to bed bugs as a “public health pest. “ Interestingly, no literature exists on the untold costs associated with bed bug infestations — inability to receive care due to inability to get transportation, declines in health status due to inability to get needed services in the home to retard deterioration of a patient’s condition, emotional turmoil, and social isolation associated with bed bugs — to name a few items. And as this continues to be an issue across the United States and in our local community, being aware of the risk and especially to the risk of vulnerable populations is a must. Instead of cringing and just adding “bed bug infestation” to the problem list, we (as medical teams) must ask ourselves how we can help without creating health care disparities.Read More