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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sleep Tight, Don't let the...

You know the rest of that little rhyme, “…don’t let the bed bugs bite.” What does that even mean?

Who knows why parents sometimes say things to kids before tucking them into bed. That little phrase rhymed. That’s all that mattered.

Yet bed bugs really are a serious problem that can infest homes, hotels, hospitals and nursing homes. Once in the door, they can spread like crazy. That’s bad news for both recipients of bed bug bites and the people consigned to protect their guests, patients and the elderly from bedbugs.

The problem often starts when bedbugs are transported into an environment by riding on a person’s clothes and then escape onto mattresses, bedding and other locations. Bed bugs bite in order to feed, just like mosquitoes. A bed bug bite can also be an itchy affair, showing up as a raised red lump that when scratched can open up into a sore and a way for disease to enter the body.

That’s particularly problematic at hospitals, where potent infections only need a sliver of opportunity to grow on a patient’s body. Nursing homes are also seeing an increase in bedbug infestations.

Obviously neither of those facilities wants to be known for having bed bugs. Reputations and real money are on the line. The serious issue of patient risk is in play as well.

100,000 or more patients die in US hospitals every year from infections. Those risks add about $30B per year in medical costs. Medicare has decided to stop paying for certain infections picked up in hospitals. That means there is tons of pressure to eradicate infectious “bugs” like bacteria or viruses or anything that can increase the risk of patient infection.

Then along come bed bugs and sirens go off in the heads of hospital administrators and nursing home managers everywhere.

Some hospitals are taking the aggressive technological route, importing UV robots that zap germs and bugs in critical areas of patient contact.

Yet for all the technology thrown at bed bugs and other pests invading public spaces, the best prevention may be a more patient, thorough approach to patient safety. There’s no substitute for straight-on human effort, which may mean that Handheld UV Sanitizers that kill bed bugs, dust mites and a whole range of germs and viruses are likely to become standard equipment for hospitals, hotels, nursing homes and residences seeking safe, effective treatments for bed bugs and the germs and viruses they might bring about if, as you mother used to say, you let the bed bugs bite.

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