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Bed Bugs Are Stressful and That’s Okay

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Where do the bed bugs hide?

Everywhere. But especially in your mind.

“Should I just burn the house down now?” posted a user on Reddit, after finding the telltale evidence of a bedbug infestation. I know how he feels. There’s something about these critters that makes you feel powerless, like you can do nothing against an advancing army.

Bed bugs hide everywhere – and they’re very good at it. Even professional treatments can fail if so much as a pile of laundry gets overlooked. [LINK ORIGIN STORY] It can feel like you’re outnumbered and outplayed, fighting an invisible enemy that can come back at any time.

 

What are the effects of bed bugs on our health?

Bed bugs don’t carry disease, says the CDC. But it is possible – although rare – to be allergic to them. It’s also possible to get skin infections from scratching the bites. If your bites swell up, or you develop blisters, you may want to go to your doctor.

It’s much more common to experience mental health trauma from bed bugs. One study analyzed posts on a popular bed bug forum from bed bug victims. Of those posting, 81% displayed signs of PTSD – paranoia, obsessive thoughts, even depression. Another study found that bed bug victims were much more likely to fight anxiety and sleeplessness, long after the infestation had been treated.

When victims talk to us, they often tell us of times they’ve woken up in the night, thinking they feel a bed bug’s bite. Or of times they spotted a bite mark, months after treatment, and nearly had a panic attack – until they realized it was a spider bite.

It’s normal to be freaked out – and there’s a few things you can do to take back control and ease your mind while the exterminators do their job.

“These tiny insects incite such insanity. Bed bugs strike you where you’re most vulnerable. Sleeping becomes impossible. Every tiny movement, every air molecule that touches your skin in just the wrong way, becomes a bug.”The Atlantic on bedbugs and PTSD

 

Here’s what to do first to reclaim your safety and peace of mind:

  • Take back your bed from the bugs. They make you feel vulnerable in the place you feel safest – so kick them out from your bed first. Start by taking your bedding and putting it in the dryer on a high heat cycle for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Buy or borrow a handheld steam cleaner. Turn it to the highest setting and carefully, methodically, go over your bed and your bed frame with the steamer. (INSERT LINK TO AMAZON STEAM CLEANER HERE).
  • Go over the nooks and crannies in your walls and floors with the steam cleaner. These bugs are tricky and love to hide where you can’t see them.
  • Begin regularly vacuuming your bed. Not all vacuums will work for this (LINK TO GUIDE) but the right vacuum can also be incredibly effective to manage bedbugs.
  • Buy a bed cover. Ours is great (LINK) – but you could also buy (LINK)

Hopefully, this will help you sleep – and help you reclaim your space. While you should call an exterminator (LINK TO EXTERMINATOR GUIDE), don’t minimize the emotional impact you’re feeling. It’s real, and it can affect your health just as much as the bites will.

Here’s what to do first to reclaim your safety and peace of mind:

  • Take back your bed from the bugs. They make you feel vulnerable in the place you feel safest – so kick them out from your bed first. Start by taking your bedding and putting it in the dryer on a high heat cycle for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • Buy or borrow a handheld steam cleaner. Turn it to the highest setting and carefully, methodically, go over your bed and your bed frame with the steamer. (INSERT LINK TO AMAZON STEAM CLEANER HERE).
  • Go over the nooks and crannies in your walls and floors with the steam cleaner. These bugs are tricky and love to hide where you can’t see them.
  • Begin regularly vacuuming your bed. Not all vacuums will work for this (LINK TO GUIDE) but the right vacuum can also be incredibly effective to manage bedbugs.
  • Buy a bed cover. Ours is great (LINK) – but you could also buy (LINK)

Hopefully, this will help you sleep – and help you reclaim your space. While you should call an exterminator (LINK TO EXTERMINATOR GUIDE), don’t minimize the emotional impact you’re feeling. It’s real, and it can affect your health just as much as the bites will.

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