You may not have to look further than your bed for the cause of an unexplained cough, weariness or odd rashes and bumps on your skin. Unattended and unclean beds welcome unwanted and potentially harmful guests like disease carrying insects, bed bugs and dust mites. Is your bed at risk of becoming infested? Learn about potential hazards and how to prevent them in this article.
It’s hard to deny our furry friends when they circle in and plop themselves on our beds in attempt for a night time cuddle. Although they are adorable, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says pets that share beds with their owners can cause them health problems. In a New York Times article about the possible health threat that sharing a bed with an animal can cause, it was reported that according to the CDC “14 to 62 percent of the 165 million dogs and cats in this country sleep in bed with humans, with other surveys skewing higher.”
In reference to the same study conducted by CDC doctors, the report stated that animals can spread certain types of pathogens and diseases like “Cat scratch fever … (and) various forms of meningitis, Pasturella pneumonia and other infections.”
Pets can cause these health problems when coming into contact with a disease carrying insect like a flea or tick, making outdoor animals at greater risk. Although catching a harmful and potentially fatal disease from a pet is extremely rare, stay aware and take proper care of pets so that it is avoided. Regular veterinary check-ups and attentive care of your pet can assure a clean and healthy animal.
Bed bugs are blood-sucking parasites that reside in bed cushions, pillows and bed frames. Unlike the health problems caused by pets, having bed bugs is not necessarily caused by uncleanliness. The CDC states they are likely caused by travel, long term absence from a home owner, lack of awareness and lack of pest control programs by state and local public health agencies.
According to the CDC, bed bugs are not known to transmit disease, although their bites typically cause allergic reactions which, in some cases, can lead to “secondary infections of the skin such as impetigo, ecthyma, and lymphanigitis.” Along with physical complications bed bugs can cause mental health problems for people with infestations with “reported effects include anxiety, insomnia and systemic reactions.”
How can you tell if bed bugs are living in your bed? The only real way to know for sure is to visibly see them. Often they will leave small, brown spots on your covers and you will be able to see them alive or dead on or around your bed.
Unlike bed bugs, dust mites are not visible to the eye. According to Web MD, dust mites are microscopic organisms that feed on dead skin.
Nearly 20 million Americans are allergic to these microscopic critters and the allergy can cause people to feel like they have an ongoing cold or asthma.
Dust mites are attracted to clean, moist areas and according to a report in BBC News, not making your bed in the morning can help repel dust mites. “A Kingston University study discovered the bugs cannot survive in the warm, dry conditions found in an unmade bed,” said the BBC article.
It’s suggested to leave your bed covers open and unmade in the morning to kill any potential dust mites that may have found their way to your sheets over night.