Just thinking about those little critters might make you itch, but staying up-to-date on information related to bed bugs and creating a policy is as necessary for home health agencies as it is for nursing homes and hospitals. It might be even more important because there’s less control over the patient’s environment and because home health workers travel between patients’ homes. The best prevention measure is regular inspection and identifying homes that have infestations.
General Facts about Bed Bugs from the CDC (2013):
- Usually are found near places where people sleep (including hotels, trains, cruises, buses, etc.)
- Hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed
- Not thought to spread disease
- May cause itchiness and loss of sleep to person
- Anyone visiting an infected area is at risk for getting bed bugs
Signs and Symptoms of Infestation:
- Bite marks on person’s face, neck, arms, hands, or other body parts when sleeping (may take up to 14 days to develop)
- Bed bug exoskeletons after molting
- Bed bugs in the folds of mattresses and sheets
- Rust-colored spots on mattresses or nearby furniture (from blood-filled fecal material)
- Sweet, musty odor
- Bites are treated with antiseptic creams or lotions or antihistamines to avoid itching
- Additional treatment information is listed on the CDC’s website
- Infestations are treated by insecticide spraying
Bed Bugs Grow Faster When in a Group
A recent study by North Carolina State University found that bedbug nymphs (baby bed bugs) grow more than two days faster than nymphs that are by themselves. The groups do not need to have adult bed bugs, so eggs can thrive on their own and start new infestations.
Read more here at healthfinder.gov.
Additional resources for clinician’s prevention of carrying bed bugs from patients’ homes:
- McGoldrick, M. (2014). Bag technique: Preventing and controlling infections in Home Care and Hospice. Home Healthcare Nurse. 32 (1), pp. 39–4. doi: 10.1097/NHH.0000000000000003
- Visiting Nurse Association of New York. (2012). Excerpt from their Infection Control Policies. Retrieved from http://www.homecarenyc.org/upload/MyDocuments/Clinical%20Policy%20Manual%202013/Section%207/07.06.03.pdf