Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Bedbugs Bite

With all my articles on household cleanliness, you all are going to think I am a cleanliness freak, but I am not. I DO think there are things we take for granted that we should not. I never thought twice about bedbugs until we stayed once in a reputable hotel and ended up with bites. I am particularly sensitive to all insect bites, and ended up with huge swellings. Fortunately, we were able to get rid of them easily, but we had to sterilize all our bedding and get rid of our mattress – we brought the bugs home with us from Florida. 😦

Now, both AdventureMan and I check the sheets everywhere we stay, and we often feel creepy-crawlies even when none are there! We will never feel entirely safe again.

You can read the entire article on the world-wide bedbug resurgence at BBC Health News You can read more about bedbugs on Wikipedia: Bedbugs

Bedbugs were almost entirely eliminated, and then when the use of DDT was forbidden – for good reasons, by the way. They are now world-wide such a big problem that a conference was recently held in Seattle on how to deal with the bedbug problem.

There has been a massive increase in the number of bed bug infestations, according to a survey.

Statistics from councils in London and the Midlands show the rate increased three-fold in the last decade.
The figures were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Bed Bugs Limited, which says the insects “breed at a phenomenal rate”.

Bed bugs are insects that commonly hide in mattresses and carpets and in the crevices of furniture.

They are a reddish-brown colour, oval-shaped insect that can grow to a quarter of an inch long.

They cannot fly and survive by sucking blood from a host animal, mainly at night.

There are distinct hotspots in highly populated areas, with lots of multi-occupancy housing where the bugs can easily spread from one household to another.

Bed bugs spread on clothes, bags and in furniture when it is moved.

They do not choose a dirty home over a clean one – all they are interested in is your blood.

BED BUG SIGNS
Bed bugs are not known to carry diseases, but many people develop an itchy swelling when bitten
Check bed and furniture for black dots, which are bed bug faeces
Check sheets for blood, as feeding bugs can be rolled on and squashed

Microbiologist for Bed Bugs Limited, David Cain, said: “If exposed, anyone can bring them home and quickly have a problem, as they breed at a phenomenal rate.”

It is thought that one of the reasons for the rise is increased travelling.

There are corridors of infestations that radiate out from airports like Heathrow and Gatwick, which support the theory that bedbugs have been brought back to this country from countries where they have never been eradicated.

Experts say they are also spread on public transport and short of decontaminating passengers every time they get on a bus, train or plane it would be impossible to stop them spreading.

The advice from Mr Cain is “don’t sit down”. But the epidemic is not just a British problem.

The World Health Organisation says there are infestations in many cities throughout Europe and North America, where bed bugs have been stopped in the past through the use of strong pesticides like DDT, many of which are now longer used.
Bed bugs are not known to carry diseases, but many people develop an itchy swelling when bitten.

Microbiologist for Bed Bugs Limited, David Cain, said: “If exposed, anyone can bring them home and quickly have a problem, as they breed at a phenomenal rate.”

It is thought that one of the reasons for the rise is increased travelling.

There are corridors of infestations that radiate out from airports like Heathrow and Gatwick, which support the theory that bedbugs have been brought back to this country from countries where they have never been eradicated.

Experts say they are also spread on public transport and short of decontaminating passengers every time they get on a bus, train or plane it would be impossible to stop them spreading.

The advice from Mr Cain is “don’t sit down”. But the epidemic is not just a British problem.

The World Health Organisation says there are infestations in many cities throughout Europe and North America, where bed bugs have been stopped in the past through the use of strong pesticides like DDT, many of which are now longer used.

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September 16, 2009 Posted by | ExPat Life, Family Issues, Florida, Health Issues, Hygiene, Interconnected, Living Conditions | 3 Comments

Showering May Be Bad for your Health

LLOOLL, whoda thunk it? A new article published in Proceedings tells us to watch out for dirty shower heads; they can deliver a cartload of bacteria. You can read the entire article on BBC Health News

Showering may be bad for your health, say US scientists, who have shown that dirty shower heads can deliver a face full of harmful bacteria.

Tests revealed nearly a third of devices harbour significant levels of a bug that causes lung disease.
Levels of Mycobacterium avium were 100 times higher than those found in typical household water supplies.
M. avium forms a biofilm that clings to the inside of the shower head, reports the National Academy of Science.

If you are getting a face full of water when you first turn your shower on, that means you are probably getting a particularly high load of Mycobacterium avium, which may not be too healthy
Researcher Professor Norman Pace

In the Proceedings journal, the study authors say their findings might explain why there have been more cases of these lung infections in recent years, linked with people tending to take more showers and fewer baths.
Water spurting from shower heads can distribute bacteria-filled droplets that suspend themselves in the air and can easily be inhaled into the deepest parts of the lungs, say the scientists from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Potential threat
Lead researcher Professor Norman Pace, said: “If you are getting a face full of water when you first turn your shower on, that means you are probably getting a particularly high load of Mycobacterium avium, which may not be too healthy.”

While it is rarely a problem for most healthy people, those with weakened immune systems, like the elderly, pregnant women or those who are fighting off other diseases, can be susceptible to infection.

They may develop lung infection with M. avium and experience symptoms including tiredness, a persistent, dry cough, shortness of breath and weakness, and generally feel unwell.

When the researchers swabbed and tested 50 shower heads from nine cities in seven different states in the US, including New York City and Denver, they found 30% of the devices posed a potential risk.

Since plastic shower heads appear to “load up” with more bacteria-rich biofilms, metal shower heads may be a good alternative, said Professor Pace.

September 16, 2009 Posted by | Family Issues, Health Issues, Living Conditions, News | Leave a comment