Alamo Plaza Motel tenants allege bedbugs were in unit

by Philip Gonzales |

Apr. 12, 2018, 3:52pm

 

HOUSTON – Tenants at an Old Spanish Trail, Houston motel allege a bedbug infestation was not disclosed to them before renting a unit.

Cynthia Epps, individually, Douglas Brown and Cynthia Epps, as next friend of Noah Epps filed a complaint on March 27 in the Harris County District Court against Self Made Inc., doing business as Alamo Plaza Motel, and Larry Criswell alleging that they violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act and other counts.

According to the complaint, the plaintiffs moved into a unit at the Alamo Plaza Motel in May 2016. They allege they “immediately” noticed bites on their bodies and discovered bedbugs in the unit. They allege they would not have rented the defendants’ property had they known of the infestation.

The plaintiffs hold Self Made Inc. and Criswell responsible because the defendants allegedly failed to rent a property in a reasonably safe condition and failed to disclose bedbug activity on the property.

The plaintiffs request a trial by jury and seek monetary relief of more than $200,000 but not more than $1 million and such other lawful and equitable relief. They are represented by Tad Rice of The Rice Firm in The Woodlands.

Harris County District Court case number 2018-20738

BANISH BEDBUGS WITH LIVE FREE POWERED BY KILTRONX™ – American Hotel

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Biting hotel owners’ wallets

It’s no surprise to anyone in the hospitality industry that bedbugs are a huge concern. Since travelers today often choose their accommodations online, they are heavily influenced by fellow travelers’ reviews. Online reviews can harm a hotel’s business and reputation if even the slightest hint of a bedbug infestation exists. Signs of bedbugs are more likely than other common hotel issues (odors, unclean bathrooms, dirty sheets) to prompt guests to leave a property.

A recent survey found that even a single mention of bedbugs on travel and social media sites drops the value of a hotel room by an average of almost $30/night.

Prevention

While bedbugs are challenging to eliminate, they’re easy to avoid – if you know how and use the right products. You may think cleanliness affects whether bedbugs will infiltrate your property. In fact, cleanliness is not the issue. Bedbugs hide in miniscule crevices and because they usually come out after dark, are harder to detect. To solve the problem once and for all, American Hotel recommends Live Free powered by KiltronX™ bedbug barrier system. This proven system actively kills bedbugs, protects the entire room (not just the mattress), prevents future infestations, and its organic solution is safe for guests.

Peace of mind

There’s no doubt bedbugs are a pain in more ways than one. Treating a minor infestation is inconvenient, but far less costly than treating the same problem after it spreads. The Live Free system, powered by KiltronX, is designed to protect an entire property, not just a room or two. The active compound that kills bedbugs was developed based on organic farming pest control technology. This green compound is in the system’s mattress covers, cushion liners, box spring wraps and all other kit components.

Sweet dreams

As the single-source solution for your property, American Hotel invites you to save up to 20% on KiltronX products through January 31.

We bid you good night, and, whatever you do, don’t let the bedbugs bite!

Monkey study suggests Zika infection in infancy could cause brain damage

By HELEN BRANSWELL

new study in primates raises the possibility that children infected with the Zika virus during infancy could be at risk of experiencing brain damage.

Zika is known to destroy developing brain tissue when it infects a fetus in the womb. Scientists know less — next to nothing, essentially — about how the virus might affect the brain of an infant infected after birth.

In the new study, scientists infected rhesus macaques with Zika virus at the age of about 1 month — which corresponds to about 3 months of age in a child. The macaques showed troubling brain and behavioral changes.

The findings, published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, are worrisome, admitted Dr. Karin Nielsen-Saines, who was not involved in the research.

Nielsen-Saines, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who studies the Zika virus, said during the height of the Zika outbreak in 2016 she and colleagues were often asked if it was safe to take a baby to areas where Zika was transmitting.

“We sort of never knew what to answer, because there isn’t really much data, still, out there to determine if there are any issues or not,” Nielsen-Saines told STAT.

“I guess we will still not be able to appease those who call us to say, ‘Oh, can [an infant] travel to Zika-endemic areas?’ Because the data is not encouraging.”

Answering the question by studying children born in places where Zika was spreading could be surprisingly difficult.

Scientists would have to rule out the possibility that children had been infected before birth — no easy task given that Zika infections can be mild and women don’t always know they were infected. And testing for antibodies in the women or their children might not generate a clear answer, because tests don’t easily distinguish between Zika antibodies and those created by infection with dengue viruses, which also spread in places where Zika flourished.

In the macaque study, scientists led by researchers from Emory University and working at the university’s Yerkes National Primate Research Center, studied the question in eight animals. Six were infected with Zika virus while two others were used as controls.

Four of the animals — the controls and two infected macaques — were followed until they were 12 months old to see if the brain changes persisted and if they altered behavior.

Dr. Ann Chahroudi, the senior author of the study and an assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Emory, said the brains of the infected animals developed differently than those of the controls. For instance, growth of the hippocampus — a part of the brain that is involved regulating emotions — was stunted in the infected animals. The hippocampus is also involved in long-term memory and spatial navigation.

In a bid to see if the changes were significant, the researchers put the macaques through a standardized stress test, called the human intruder test. The animals were exposed to a stranger, seen first in profile. Later the person made eye contact with the macaques. The control animals behaved the way they ought to have — they were scared. The animals that had been infected in infancy did not exhibit behavior that suggested fear; they were more inward focused, Chahroudi said.

With such small numbers of animals in the study, it’s important to be cautious about drawing too firm a conclusion about what this work can say about Zika infection in infants, she admitted.

It’s also not clear if an affected brain could rewire itself to overcome any damage the virus might have inflicted. “We don’t know the answer to that. You can hypothesize either way,” said Chahroudi, though she noted that brain damage caused by early infection with cytomegaloviruses or with HIV can be permanent.

Chahroudi said she would like to conduct an additional study, infecting macaques at different ages to see if there is a cutoff after which Zika infection no longer leads to changes in the animals’ brains. But she doesn’t currently have the funding to do this work.

In time there should be some human data that will hopefully shed some light on this question. Last year the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced funding for a study of 1,200 children in Guatemala who had been infected with the virus in their early years.

In the meantime, Chahroudi said, as a clinician, she would want to monitor the development of a young patient if told the child had been infected with Zika in infancy.

Holocaust survivor shares her escape from concentration camp with Penn State

Holocaust survivor, Inge Auerbacher, speaks about her life at the Eisenhower Auditorium on Monday, April 2, 2018.

At 7 years old, Inge Auerbacher was deported from her home in Germany to the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. On Monday night at age 83, she told Penn State students and State College community members her story.

Many people gathered in Eisenhower Auditorium to listen as Auerbacher retold the events of the Holocaust from the perspective of someone who was only four years old when it began.

She was born Dec 31, 1934 and described herself as the “typical German little girl” at the time.

She showed a presentation that included photos of her and her family when she was young to show how happy and normal their lives were at the time.

While the first couple years of her life were what many would describe as normal, it all changed in 1938.

Protests began in Germany directed toward Jewish people, and people were being transported to what would end up being concentration camps.

Between November 9 and 10, which became known as the Kristallnacht, or Night of Broken Glass, Auerbacher said all synagogues in Germany were destroyed.

Jewish homes were also being targeted at this time including her own, with the windows and glass being broken.

At this point, her family had considered leaving the country, however her father did not want to leave the nation he defended in war.

She said her family knew of people being taken away, but did not think it would happen to them. However, as she said, “the doors to the free world were closing very rapidly.”

Inge Auerbacher
Holocaust survivor, Inge Auerbacher, speaks about her life at the Eisenhower Auditorium on Monday, April 2, 2018.

Eventually they left their home to move to their grandparents village. They were the last Jewish family living in the village, but the Christian families were very polite and welcoming to her and her family and allowed her to play with their children, making her feel normal.

Auerbacher said it was “a very short but very nice childhood.”

Things in Germany got increasingly worse as Jewish children were no longer allowed to go to school with the rest of the children, as well as being forced to wear the Jewish Star on their shirts after age 6, which she still has and brought to show the audience.

She recalled her family at the time telling her ways to make her star less visible to protect her from being bullied by other children, however she would get picked on for it anyway.

In her old village, she said she watched many families be transported to concentration camps, and she brought rare photos from her village that showed people being taken away as their friends and neighbors watched and did nothing.

Her family was able to avoid being taken during the first few groups to be transported, which Auerbacher said was completely due to luck as there was no system in place that determined who would be taken when.

However, their luck did not last and were taken eventually in a transport group of about 1200 people. She was the youngest one in the group at age 7.

She took with her a doll that she had her entire life, and was even able to bring it with her into the camp and after when they were released. It is now on display in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C.

The train ride was very crowded and also two days long before arriving at the camp in Czechoslovakia.

As they marched into the camp they had their belongings taken away from them aside from her doll.

She said as they marched in they were being whipped and her parents had to walk closely on both sides of her to soften the blows before they hit her.

The conditions of the camp were terrible. They had to drink water from polluted wells that gave many people typhoid fever, as well as their living conditions being infested with rats, mice, fleas and bed bugs.

Almost all the children living on the camp developed scarlet fever, and in the “hospital” there were two children to a bed.

Food was also scarce on the camps. The bread rations came in once a week, and her mother had to ration out a little each day so they would be able to continue to have bread each day.

Inge Auerbacher
Holocaust survivor, Inge Auerbacher, speaks about her life at the Eisenhower Auditorium on Monday, April 2, 2018.

For lunches they often had soup or potatos, Auerbacher said the portions were “not enough to live and not enough to die.”

On May 8, 1945, Auerbacher heard an explosion. People were throwing in hand grenades to kill the rest of the Jewish people.

She and her father hid while she prayed and repeated to herself “God is one, one is God.”

She remembers the day they were released from the camp. She said someone came running to her family screaming “we are free.”

While they were happy, Auerbacher said it was not in the way most people would assume because they still had fears and worries about where the remainder of their family was.

“it was muted exhilaration,” she said.

Both her parents remarkably were able to survive, and they moved to Brooklyn, New York.

While in America she went on to finish her education and go on to college to become a chemist.

After her speech there was a question and answer where students asked her about a variety of topics such as activism, maintaining her belief in God throughout her experience, and whether or not she was able to forgive, to which she said “only God can forgive something like that.”

Megan Loftus was in the audience and said she found the pictures from Auerbacher’s childhood to be a very powerful part of the speech.

“There were about eight kids in the picture, and she said that only one of them survived which was her,” Loftus (freshman-division of undergraduate studies) said. “It’s just crazy to think that she grew up with people and here she is today, no ones left.”

Casey Fern (freshman-division of undergraduate studies) also thought that the photos included in the presentation were a fascinating part, saying they “brought the whole story to life.”

Matthew Hampel was happy he was able to listen to Auerbacher speak, and liked the way she presented her story.

“I thought she was really well-spoken and has a meaningful story,” Hampel (junior-information systems technology) said.

Now, Auerbacher lives in a neighborhood in Queens, New York surrounded by a diversity of religions and cultures.

She said she loves living among people of all religions in harmony and hope it represents the future of our world.

“That would be my wish for the future and my wish for today” she said.

County health concerns should be call to action

By Laura Morgan, MD, and Padi Selwyn

Recent news that Sonoma County’s overall health ranking has fallen to No. 7 in the state, down two places from last year in a statewide health survey, should concern us all. More alarming was the Sonoma County Department of Health Services’ January 2018 report noting that our childhood cancer rate is the fourth highest in California and that cancer is the leading cause of death in all age groups.

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According to the Sonoma County Summary Measures of Health, from 2013-2015, cancer was the leading cause of death in all age groups.

Out of 58 California counties, Sonoma County ranks 22nd in age-adjusted cancer death rates (worldlifeexpectancy.co

 

m). According to the California Cancer Registry, as of

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October 2016, we ranked 13th among the other California counties in age-adjusted cancer incidence.

Could there be a connection between the increasing use of pesticides in Sonoma County, and our increasing rates of cancer since studies have linked pesticide exposure and various cancers?

In 2015, nearly three million pounds of pesticides (2,839,007 million pounds to be exact) were applied in Sonoma County — 97 percent of it on wine grapes. Of those pesticides, 10,633 pounds applied to 41,412 acres were toxic or lethal to bees and birds; 47,855 pounds applied to 14,275 acres were possible/probable human carcinogens and 9,025 pounds over 7,004 acres were toxic to brain development and function (California Department of Pesticide Regulation).

Glyphosate (Roundup), a probable carcinogen according to the UN’s International Agency for Research on Cancer and Cal-EPA 2015, is widely applied throughout our county’s vineyards. In 2014, almost 77,000 pounds were applied to 48,137 acres of wine grapes in Sonoma County (Sonoma Index-Tribune, May 23, 2016).

Bee and bird-toxic pesticides currently banned in Europe are being used in vineyards from Sebastopol to Geyserville and Healdsburg. Probable carcinogens are being applied from South Sebastopol in a wide swath north to Cloverdale and east to Santa Rosa, Healdsburg, Geyserville and Cloverdale.

Mancozeb, an old-fashioned fungicide that has been largely phasedout in California because of carcinogenic and human developmental toxic effects, is still used in quantity here. Sonoma County applies 66 percent of all the Mancozeb used in California. Its use is concentrated from northwest Sebastopol through Forestville to the Russian River and in an area just south of Healdsburg. For more information, search the web for “Organic Wines Uncorked; Sonoma Gets Its (Toxics) Close-Up: What’s on those vines?” by Pam Strayer.

Prenatal and early childhood pesticide exposures are especially significant because of the vulnerability of growing children and their contact with dust through ingestion, inhalation and skin absorption. Children of agricultural workers have higher pesticide metabolites in their urine, associated with an increased risk of developing lung diseases, leukemia, lowered IQ and behavioral problems such as attention deficit disorder. Historically, children of farmworkers have had the highest risk of developing these conditions in multiple studies.

Because of the known pesticide risks to human populations, especially to children, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation was created by our state legislature and requires that every county report types and amounts of pesticides used through their County Department of Agriculture Permit Program. This information is then made available to the general public at cehtp.org.

Now that the data is in, it’s time for all of us to rethink the use of poisons in our homes, farms and vineyards. Pesticides are defined as any chemical used to kill any life form, from rodents and insects to plants and fungi. They have long been suspected, now concluded to have significant adverse effects on human health (Cal-EPA).

What are we waiting for?

Laura Morgan, MD, is a family physician practicing in west county who was educated at Sonoma State, UC Berkeley, UCSF and Sonoma County Community Hospital. She has a long term commitment to the health of residents and the environment.

Padi Selwyn is co-founder of Preserve Rural Sonoma County, a businesswoman, author, and 45-year resident of Sonoma County.

Bed-Bug Madness: The Psychological Toll of the Blood Suckers

BY: ROSE EVELETH

Right now, everything I own is in garbage bags piled up in the middle of my kitchen and bathroom and filling my shower. It’s been that way for a week and a half and will continue to be so for at least another week on top of that. If you live in a major city, you might know what’s coming. If not, welcome to the hell that is bed bugs.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had bed bugs. Nor the second. It’s the third, and this time it’s taken two visits from the exterminators to (hopefully) rid our apartment of the tiny beasts. Luckily we were able to catch the bugs early before they got a real hold on the apartment. Unluckily, that’s mostly because rather than mosquito-esque little bumps, my bites turn into hardened ping-pong ball sized welts that itch for over a week. So when we have bed bugs, I know pretty quickly. And each time everything goes into bags. I stop sleeping. I avoid furniture on the street. I refuse to enter libraries.

I used to joke that I had bed bug PTSD. There’s a certain kind of anxiety that the seemingly invisible biters incite. But in fact, it might not be a joke. Research is starting to show that bed bug infections can leave people with anxiety, depression, and paranoia. And that’s normal. In fact, it would be weird for you not to be freaked out, says Stéphane Perron, a doctor and researcher at the University of Montreal. “If you have bed bugs, and if you don’t care, that’s not a normal reaction. You should be worried. I would consider it a normal reaction to a stressor.”

Perron has published a number of papers on the psychological ramifications of bed bugs. In one study, he and his team looked at apartments that had been reported to the Montreal Public Health Department for unsafe conditions. Some of those units were infested with bedbugs, but not all of them. Perron and his team gave the tenants of these buildings a series of questionnaires that assessed all sorts of health impacts, including psychological ones. All told, 39 of the units had bed bugs, and 52 of them didn’t. When they compared the psychological results between those two samples—a method that helps to control for factors that impact mental health like socioeconomic status—they found that tenants with bed bugs were far more likely to report anxiety and sleep disturbances than those without.

Another study by medical entomologist Jerome Goddard at Mississippi State University examined posts on bed bug related websites like Bedbugger.com. When they compared those posts against a checklist of PTSD symptoms they found that 81 percent of people writing these forum posts were describing psychological and emotional effects often associated with the disorder, things like hyper-vigilance, paranoia, obsessive thoughts, and depression. “One person scored high enough to actually be considered a PTSD patient,” Goddard says. (The comparison they did here isn’t diagnostic. In other words, Goddard can’t actually diagnose anybody with PTSD from the results.)

In another study, researchers sent out questionnaires to seven different cities. They got 474 back. In the survey, they asked people to describe their reaction to the bites. Beyond the physical reactions, 29 percent of people said they suffered from insomnia, 22 percent reported emotional distress, and 20 percent said they had anxiety due to the bugs.

There are a number of reasons to take these preliminary studies with a grain of salt. For one, researchers don’t know anything about the mental state of the participants before they got bed bugs. And that’s important. In one case study that Perron published, a woman with a prior history of mental health issues got bed bugs and eventually committed suicide. “The bed bug is a stressor like many other stressors,” Perron says. “For people who are vulnerable, it may result in having a pathological fear of bedbugs or even delusions of parasitosis,” when a person falsely believes they are infested with bugs. So knowing the mental state of people before they were infected is key, and missing in these early reports.

It’s early days for studies like these, and Goddard is the first to admit that they aren’t perfect. But they’re a start. “I think all these things sort of added together, suggest that at least bed bugs are associated with anxiety and sleep disturbance,” he says. “Now whether or not a person can truly have PTSD I don’t know.” And they do suggest that there’s something particular about bed bugs that sets them apart from other biting insects like tics, fleas, mosquitos, and chiggers.

When I tell people I have bed bugs, they say things like, “So, you’re setting fire to everything you own, right?” The EPA acknowledges the urge. “There is no need to throw out all of your things,” they assure visitors to their bed bug information page. But after weeks of garbage-bag living, the prospect of just lighting it all on fire and leaving doesn’t seem so unreasonable. And several bed bug studies note the extreme lengths to which people go to get rid of the bugs—everything from actually setting things on fire, to attempting to self-treat with loads of toxic chemicals. Even my exterminators are aware of the trauma the bugs incite. At the bottom of the two-page preparation guide for treatment, they write:

NOTE: Bed bug infestations are very traumatizing and it may take time to get over what you have experienced. There have been many cases where people feel they are still being bitten, even though the bed bugs have been eradicated from the home. Before you contact our office due to bites, please ensure that you are actually being bitten and that you do not have a rash or scratches from something else.

(When I read that passage to Perron he explained that it’s actually highly unlikely to continue to feel like you’re getting bitten once the bugs are gone. “I’m surprised they put that in their pamphlet, because no, it’s quite rare,” he says. More likely, the company simply doesn’t want its customers to bug them.)

There are a lot of reasons the tiny insects incite such insanity. Bed bugs strike you where you’re most vulnerable. Sleeping becomes impossible. Every tiny movement, every air molecule that touches your skin in just the wrong way, becomes a bug. I pecked out most of this post on my iPhone during a sleepless night. Thankfully my boyfriend is a heavy sleeper, and doesn’t notice when every half-hour throughout the night I leap out of bed, grab my headlamp, and root around under the covers searching for the insect I was so sure I felt.

Then there are the garbage bags. If I have one tip for you from all this, it’s to use clear garbage bags. This isn’t just about being able to see which bag holds what as you unpack. It’s about looking around your apartment every day for several weeks at a vast sea of black garbage bags—pushing past them as you try to weave through the living room into the kitchen.

I’m not alone in my fight against bed bugs. A 2013 survey called Bugs Without Borders estimates that 99.6 percent of exterminators got calls about bed bugs last year. In New York City alone there were 9,233 complaints about bed bugs in 2013. And according to the pest control company Orkin, New York City isn’t the worst city for the suckers. In fact, the Big Apple is number 17 on their list, behind Chicago, Los Angeles, Columbus, Ohio, Detroit, and 13 unlucky others. There aren’t good numbers on exactly how many bed-bugged units there are in the United States, but the public has been whipped into a frenzy about the insects for years. This year, they were spotted on the subway system in New York City and I considered giving up transportation all together.

But, of course, despite how common they are, you can’t tell anybody you have bed bugs. Admit you have them, and forget having anybody over again.

I am lucky, though. My landlords responded quickly to each call about the bugs, and after a few weeks of garbage-bag living we are always back to normal. That’s not the case for many people, who might live in buildings with landlords who aren’t as responsive, or in places where the landlord has no responsibility to deal with the problem. Exterminators are expensive, and the whole process is time consuming and costly. None of this was a barrier for me, but it is for a huge number of people. “The very poor can’t do anything about it, and the rich, it’s a pain and it costs a lot of money but sooner or later they’ll get rid of them,” Goddard says. And it’s true. I can see the light at the end of the bedbug tunnel. And once it’s over, my madness will likely subside.

Both Goddard and Perron say that more work needs to be done to truly understand the ways in which bed bugs mess with our minds. But in the meantime, doctors should be aware of the potential risks. Goddard says he’s not sure whether doctors know to watch for psychological impacts when patients come in with bites. “I suspect those doctors just say call an exterminator. I don’t think they would think ‘Oh my gosh this person has some severe emotional distress.’” Perron agrees. “I would say that the goal of this research is to say we should deal with it because it has more than skin deep consequences. It has consequences especially for a vulnerable individual.

As for me, I’m starting to sleep again. And tomorrow I’ll begin the long process of unpacking the seemingly endless piles of garbage bags. It will all be over soon, and I didn’t even have to set anything on fire.

Bed bugs cause more than just itching — they can lead to serious mental health problems too, study finds

‘The issue with bed bugs is that you’re going to bed and you know that at any time some insect will bite you, and you’re at your most vulnerable,’ said Dr. Stéphane Perron

Tyler Anderson / National Post

Tom Blackwell
Tom Blackwell

As she met the man at the door of his east-end Toronto apartment, Sharon Younger witnessed a scene she says belonged in a Stephen King novel.

“He was oblivious to how bad his problem was,” Ms. Younger said of her neighbour’s bed bug infestation. “There were bugs going through his hair, coming out of his ear, blood-soaked tissues. There were thousands and thousands in his apartment.”

[np-related /]

The tenant activist and her pest-control committee had the unit treated. Months later, the man she had assumed had psychiatric troubles — he used to be seen shuffling zombie-like through the hallways at night — had undergone a remarkable change. “He had a cheery ‘Hello,’ he wasn’t slurring his words, he was walking more upright and purposefully. … He wasn’t mentally ill at all. He was suffering the insidious effects of bed bugs.”

The Scarborough resident said she sees every day how the fallout from infestations stretches far beyond the obvious itching and scratching, and now a new Canadian study has provided the first scientific evidence of the insects’ mental-health repercussions, concluding that bug victims  are much more likely than others to suffer anxiety disorder, sleeplessness and possibly depression.

Doctors should be aware of the possibility of psychological distress in bed-bug patients and help provide the appropriate insect-eradication or mental-health help if needed, the Montreal-based researchers say.

They bill their study as the first to detail the psychological impact of a global resurgence of the blood-sucking insects.

“The issue with bed bugs is that you’re going to bed and you know that at any time some insect will bite you, and you’re at your most vulnerable, you’re sleeping,” said Dr. Stéphane Perron of the Montreal public-health department, University of Montreal and McGill University. “You cannot protect yourself.”

Bed bugs have returned to cities in recent years, with surveys suggesting that close to 3% of Montreal’s 1.9 million residents — about 57,000 people — have had problems with the pests.

Dr. Perron and colleagues compared 39 people exposed to the insects with 52 free of infestation at two housing complexes in the city that had been targeted by the public-health office because of unfit-housing conditions. The participants in the research, just published in the British Medical Journal Open, completed standard questionnaires designed to measure symptoms of depression, anxiety and other mental-health problems.

Those with bed-bug infestations were found to be about five times as likely to suffer from anxiety disorders and sleep disturbance, and 2.5 times as likely to be depressed, although the small numbers with depression make that finding not statistically significant.

Dr. Perron said the results need to be replicated in follow-up research but seem to fall in line with the panic and disorientation he has observed in people plagued by the bugs.

Ms. Younger said she attributes the stresses partly to the social isolation of being bed-bug afflicted, noting that many people end up being shunned by family and friends. They also feel constant wariness, “an automatic visceral reaction when they see a speck on the floor — ‘Is that a bed bug?’ ”

But she said sleep deprivation is perhaps the biggest factor, a result not just of the bites that typically start as soon as someone falls asleep, but also from the fear of actually being asleep and falling victim to the insects.

“You try not sleeping for days, weeks, months, years on end,” said the activist. “It doesn’t just make you a bear, it changes your entire personality. You become withdrawn, anti-social, you fly off the handle more easily.”

The process of having a home treated for the insects is stressful in itself, as clothes have to be washed and bagged and furniture and other belongings steamed, before a pest-control worker sprays the apartment once, then again two weeks later.

She said she has seen residents resort to substance abuse, act out with vandalism and, in one case, throw a pet cat off an apartment balcony in frustration at their infestation. Ms. Younger said she is even aware of suicides where the bugs were at least a factor.

“You can walk into the lobby [of an infested building] and the sense of utter despair is palpable.”

Toronto’s Woodgreen Community Services has been working on the problem since 2004, when it first started getting regular calls about bed bugs, and has even produced a manual on how to cope with the pests.

“It is very, very stressful for [bed-bug victims], especially people who have limited resources and who don’t always have a friendly landlord who is going to assist them in dealing with it,” said Brian Smith, the agency’s CEO. “It’s one of those things it’s hard to escape from.”

National Post
• Email: tblackwell@nationalpost.com

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF BED BUG ATTACKS

By: 

Experts have concluded that bed bugs are not classified as a vector of disease.  This means that bed bugs are not known to carry diseases the same way mosquitoes or other biting insects can.  Although you are not likely to contract a physical illness, bed bug bite reactions vary widely from person to person.  Some cases involve individuals with a few painful itchy bites.  Other cases involve hospitalizations due to severe allergic reactions and permanent scarring of the skin.  The physical pain and suffering experienced by many bed bug bite victims seems to gather the most attention in considering effects of a bed bug infestation.  The psychological effects of bed bug attacks include mental and emotional anxiety and distress and can be just as painful.

Bed Bugs Will Infest Any Location with Humans to Feed On.

This means that bed bugs are just as likely to infest a cheap motel as much as they are likely to infest a 5 star luxury resort.  Often associated with unsanitary conditions, bed bug infestations carry a painful and embarrassing stigma.  When bed bugs attack, it occurs in the night when we are most vulnerable, while we sleep.  Sleep is a very important aspect of good health and should be enjoyed in a safe and comfortable location.  Bed bug attacks violate our personal space either at home or when we are away.  The pain and distress following a bed bug is very real and longer lasting than the physical bite marks.

Apart from being robbed of the comfort of your own bed and a good night’s sleep, it is humiliating to bear the physical marks of a bed bug attack.  The embarrassment of having to explain why your face, arms, hands legs or other parts of your body have red marks is extremely stressful.  Further, people who have suffered a bed bug attack, or have an infestation in their home are treated as if they are diseased.  We have represented many individuals who have been socially isolated by friends and coworkers when it is discovered that they had suffered bed bug bites.

The Psychological Effects of Bed Bug Attacks can be Profound

Our clients have described the psychological effects of bed bugs as living in a “constant state of fear and itching”.  Every night in bed, they feel the sheets move or will start scratching their legs thinking bed bugs are biting even though  there is nothing there.  This anxiety and “phantom itching” is a very common effect from experiencing a bed bug attack.  Any itch on the body can cause a flashback to the incredible pain and itching from the original bed bug bites.  The constant itching and pain combined with the social stigma over a long period of time can be devastating.

Bed bug bites and bed bug infestations can cause both physical and psychological discomfort resulting in sleeplessness, nervousness and anxiety.  The psychological effects of experiencing a bed bug attack are closely linked to Traumatic Stress Disorder.  In addition to the stress and pain from the bites, is the anxiety involved with the loss of possessions, the preparation of the home for proper bed bug pest control treatment.  Even further, the financial cost of professional bed bug treatment can be thousands of dollars.  Bed bug attacks will cause significant disruption in the lives of those they invade.  Every aspect of your life is affected and can remain disrupted for months or longer.

Thoughts of Bringing Bed Bugs Home from a Hotel

Think about your home and how many places bed bugs could hide and infest.  Next, think about what kind of effort it would take to empty all closets, dressers, storage areas, mattress and box springs, under the bed, couches and other areas to prepare for a bed bug pest treatment.  Then about then how long you would need to be out of your home.  Now think about having to put your home back together with the thought that there still may be bed bugs present.  Bed bugs are difficult to remove from a home once they have taken hold.  However, even after a pest control professional gives the all clear, people tend to continue to stress about bed bugs.  The stress continues while at home and especially while traveling.  The thought of a bed bug infestation emerging in the home is too much to bear.

The average life span of a bed bug is one year.  Adult and nymph bed bugs can survive for several months.  Bed bugs can reach adulthood in approximately 30 days.  During that time, they can produce hundreds of eggs.  A bed bug population can grow exponentially if they are not detected and given time to reproduce.  Knowing this is absolutely horrifying to bed bug bite victims afraid of infesting their homes.  This is the reason why so many people continue to have fear and anxiety following a bed bug bite incident.

Contact a Bed Bug Injury Attorney

Bed bugs can enter your home in many ways.  If you were exposed to bed bugs at a hotel and unknowingly brought them home with you, you could be entitled to compensation for you injuries and property damage.  Contact our office today to discuss your potential case.

UPDATE: Mezzanine in Terminal B back open after closing for bed bugs

By: Tom Dempsey

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City International Airport officials temporarily shut down the food court in Terminal B on Thursday after bed bugs were found on a chair. The food court reopened just before 6 a.m. Friday.

The food court is home to Burger King, Starbucks, California Pizza Kitchen and a bar.

A spokesperson for the airport said while the bed bugs were found in the food court’s seating area, they did not spread to any of the kitchens.

With barriers and signs up at the food court to keep travelers away, the closure brought a big inconvenience for some travelers.

“It’s a bummer because I’m not sure if there’s anything else open,” explained Michelle Micsko, who was waiting to fly to Arizona to tour colleges with her daughter. “There’s really nothing else except snacks.”

Others, like nurse Jeanie Osborn, said they were hoping to relax at the food court.

“For me, I’m going to be here for three hours so I need a place to park my behind,” explained Osborn, who was traveling to Los Angeles for a trip. “I’m glad they caught it.”

The closure on Thursday highlighted the lack of places to eat inside KCI.

While the new terminal expected to open in 2021 will feature more dining options, the closure caught some travelers new to KCI off guard.

“There’s nothing to eat in the whole airport and I’m really confused,” explained Dadra Davis, who was traveling to Milwaukee. “I’m probably going to get some snacks from the little snack store here and just wait until I get home to get some dinner.”

The origin of the bed bugs remains unknown.

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Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety

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Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety

Bed Bug Blog

Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety

Information and Perspectives on Bed Bug Prevention, Protection and Safety