Nobody likes bed bugs and due to social stigma, nobody wants to talk about them, but it’s time we start. Health and Human services workers across the US are telling representatives and government agencies that bed bugs are becoming a “very serious” issue in many states. Addressing the issue of growing bed bug infestations will require open communication and cooperation between the public and state and federal leaders.
Unfortunately there are no easy answers to resolving the growing bed bug problem. Treating bed bugs is costly, time consuming and often not easy.
Complicating matters, at least from a government perspective, is the fact that bed bugs are not formally recognized as a threat to public health because they don’t carry disease.
UPDATE 11/19/2014 – Researchers have proven that bed bugs can carry and transmit a deadly disease called Chagas – Get the details in our recent article.
This restricts state and city government funding to assist people with combating bed bugs. This is particularly problematic for elderly, disabled and low income families. These three groups are seeing increasing reports of bed bugs, but do not have the resource or funds to combat them.
Due to the “social stigma” about bed bugs, people are often unwilling to admit they have an infestation. As a result they hid the issue, which causes other people to become infested, further spreading bed bug infestations and causing further reaching public impact.
The time has come to start talking, and talking openly about bed bugs. This not only includes the public, but includes our government representatives and leaders as well. The sooner we begin recognizing the growing bed bug epidemic, and discussing it openly, the sooner we can begin to identifying ways to address the issue. Government leaders and committees need to start educating the public about the growing problem and making sure the public, and especially land lords, are aware of the growing problem. This also includes concerted efforts to educate them on how to detect and treat bed bugs.
As a result of the social stigma and costs associated with bed bugs, there is a large amount of finger pointing going on related to cause of bed bugs and who’s at fault. The reality is that bed bugs are popping up all over, from the most expensive hotels and homes to the dirtiest and cheapest motels and apartments available. Bed bugs do not discriminate and they spread easily. Becoming infested only takes one infested individual staying at a hotel, working at workplace, riding public transportation or attending school. Determining who started the infestation is near impossible.
One of the more common solutions proposed by the public and government officials is to put law in place, especially related to public housing. But, law makers are hesitant to put statutes in place and for good reason. Laws would just increase cost to public housing, apartment and hotel owners and really have very little effect. There are steps that owners can take, but preventing bed bugs completely is some what out of their control.
Instead of law, we should allow common sense and education to prevail. If our government and the public can begin being more open about bed bugs, people will become more educated and aware. This will result in decreased bed bug infestations and more wide spread solutions to resolving them.
The fact is at least one person you know, if not more, has bed bugs. The problem is, you probably don’t know it because those people are embarrassed to talk about it. When you visit their home, or ride in their car, or even get close to them while talking, you could become infected. Then you infect someone else, who infects someone else, just spreading the already growing epidemic.
Rather than hide your problem, be open about it. We tell our friends, co-workers and neighbors all the time “Hey, don’t come over I have the flu”. Why? To protect them. Why not do the same for bed bugs. Not only would open discussing decrease the spread of bed bugs, but it would also foster open communication and sharing of ideas around how to treat and resolve bed bug issues.
Bed bugs are not going anywhere anytime soon, and continue to spread across the US. Stop hiding your bed problem and quit being ashamed of it. Many man people are in the same boat. Let’s combat those bed bugs using communication and common sense.
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