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Don't let the bed bugs bite

Don't let the bed bugs bite

Good night, sleep tight, and don't let the bed bugs bite

That was a common childhood rhyme parents used 50 years or so ago when tucking their children into bed. Bed bugs were thought to have been eradicated in the 1930s but they are now found everywhere—from homes to upscale hotels, office buildings and cruise ships. A common myth is that bed bugs live in dirty places, but that isn't the case. Bed bugs are attracted to warmth, blood and carbon dioxide from breathing.

What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small, oval wingless insects that feed on human blood. They typically feed every 5-10 days but are capable of surviving for more than a year without feeding. It's very easy to bring them into your home without even knowing it.

The good news: bed bug bites usually don't pose a serious medical threat and are not known to spread diseases.

When looking for bed bugs, focus on mattresses, box springs, bed frames and areas around the bed. Remove bedding and look in cracks and crevices. You can see adult bed bugs, nymphs and eggs with the naked eye. When you travel, check mattresses and headboards before sleeping. When packing or unpacking luggage, place it on a rack, not the bed or floor. When you return home, unpack directly into the washing machine and wash immediately. Then inspect your luggage carefully.

What do you do if you have bed bugs?
Thoroughly clean all bedding, linens, curtains, rugs, carpets and clothing. Washing in hot water and drying on the highest heat setting will kill bed bugs. If items can't be washed or dried at high temperatures, soak them in warm water with lots of laundry soap for several hours before rinsing. Repair any cracks in walls and loosened wallpaper, especially in bedrooms. You may need to hire a pest control professional for serious infestations.

Visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's bed bug page for more information about getting these little buggers out and keeping them out: http://www2.epa.gov/bedbugs

This post is brought to you by the Campbell County Medical Group Walk-In Clinic. Walk-In Clinics provide patients with fast, convenient care for serious but not life threatening illnesses and injuries 365 days a year with no appointment needed. The experienced physicians and physician assistants in Gillette can treat your whole family with quality care and personal service. And, the Clinic provides complete occupational healthcare for industry in the region. You can learn more about the Gillette Walk-In Clinic at www.cchwyo.org/WIC.