Gnawing concern

By Health Day

Perhaps it's time to find a new name for bed bugs, since they can strike you long after you've gotten out of bed.

Across America, a wave of bed bug attacks has caused widespread fear and itching in recent years. These tiny insects bite humans in order to feed on their blood. Experts don't think they spread disease, but the bites can be itchy, and they can trigger allergic reactions in some people.

In a new study presented at a recent CDC-hosted conference, researchers discuss an attack of bedbugs in an office building in Tennessee. The office manager called for help after employees reported bug bites.

Experts from the state health department descended on the office with specially trained dogs that could sniff out the bugs. The bed bugs had struck roughly half of the workers. People were four times more likely to be bitten if they worked next to cubicles where the bugs were found. Many of the workers reported feeling a fair amount of anxiety about the situation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out that bed bugs are excellent travelers. They're widespread, and if they show up, it's not a sign that the area is unclean. The CDC recommends that if you suspect an infestation, call a pest-control company with experience fighting these bugs.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the news that doctors are reading; health news that matters to you.

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