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Article Archive >> Good Health

It's not paranoid to want to protect against bedbugs

It's not paranoid to want to protect against bedbugs

(NAPSI)-They're back-and they're making even going to the movies a feat of bravery.
No, we're not talking "Alien8." We're talking bedbugs-those nasty, bloodsucking ectoparasites (external parasites) that have returned to the U.S. with a vengeance after decades of being seemingly eradicated.
In New York City, the problem is so acute-more than 10 percent of residents reported having had them in their homes-that even the Metropolitan Opera House was recently hit. And similar sightings and/or bitings wherever throngs of people congregate-including schools, department stores, public transportation and movie theaters-have inspired near panic in cities across the nation.
With the Centers for Disease Control now warning that "bedbugs are experts in hiding," read on for ways to fight back:
* Think Minimalist. Let's make it immediately clear that once these bloodsuckers come out of hiding, they can travel on clothing, crawl into pocketbooks, and lurk in the nooks of furniture. So your watchword when going out in public-really, hibernating won't do-should be "minimalist." Meaning, no unnecessary bags or jackets. And if you do suspect you've brought some "hitchhikers" home with you, Richard J. Pollack, an entomologist and research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health, suggests "laundering clothes on high heat or dry-cleaning them."
* Encase It. If they didn't like beds so much, they'd be called microwavebugs...or refrigeratorbugs. It may feel and/or look funny to some, but cover your mattress and boxspring with an encasement made of such non-bedbug-friendly material as vinyl or polyester fiber.
* Spray 'Em. Even assuming you're not allergic to bedbug bites (which is a whole different story), they can leave you so itchy and swollen that even friends might fear coming near you. (Among psychiatrists, this is known as Bedbug Stigma.) One clinically proven solution, meant for at-home use or traveling: Stop Bugging Me!(tm) Aim this new, nontoxic, naturally derived spray at any bedbug-prone area-including luggage, mattresses, sofas, bedding, carpets and walls-and studies have shown it to be a bedbug-killing machine (100% of the bugs tested dropped dead within 15 minutes). What's more, the environmentally friendly product (www.StopBuggingMe.com) also prevents against bedbugs for up to two weeks, has a pleasant botanical scent, and is safe to use around children and pets.
* Travel Smart. Experts blame bedbugs' resurgence on two things: increased travel (including from Third World countries where the problem is even worse than here); and the 1972 ban on the use of the poisonous chemical DDT (environmentalists, then as now, love all non-human living things). We've already cited a pesticide-free alternative to the latter (see above), but immediately upon entering a hotel room travelers should drop their luggage in the bathroom and then do a top-to-bottom check of the bed. Mainly, you're looking for what the travel site travelandleisure.com calls "spotty dark stains." And don't hesitate to request a different room if something doesn't seem right.
* Go Tech. If you've got an iPhone, there's now an app that lets you both report and peruse data about bedbug sightings anywhere in the country. That's if you're not busy downloading those newly available Beatles songs.
* No Scavenging. You know those people you sometimes see on the street going through piles of discarded furniture they can cart home? Even if something looks 10 times better than what you already own, now is definitely not the time to be one of them.
* Know Your Rights. There's a move on to copy a new New York State law requiring landlords to disclose to prospective tenants any history of bedbug infestations in apartment buildings and individual units within the past year.
Check to see if there's anything like it where you live.
One last word from the CDC, to deal with as you may: "Bedbugs, like head lice, feed on the blood of humans, but are not believed to transmit disease."

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