The whole bed bug outbreak is nothing short of gross. The idea of having little creepy-crawly things under the sheets is super ew. But the latest study in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Emerging Diseases Journal suggests that bed bugs might be spreading MRSA? That's just plain scary.
While scientists aren't sure if the bed bugs are actually transmitting or just carrying the disease (or something else entirely), there does seem to be a link. MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and is used to describe a number of strains of bacteria that are resistant to many antibiotics, including methicillin. You can contract MRSA through an open wound on the skin, and MRSA can be highly dangerous and sometimes fatal to those with weakened immune systems. In a nutshell, it's bad news bears. So how can you stay safe from bed bugs? Follow these tips from the EPA!
5 Tips to Prevent Bed Bugs
1. Check for signs. Bed bugs will leave small black or dark brown dots on sheets or the mattress. If you see this at home be wary -- and consider hiring a pest management professional to help. If you're traveling, ask for another hotel room far, far away, and report the incident to the Bed Bug Registry.
2. Clean up clutter. Reduce the number of hiding places that bed bugs have. Just because their name is "bed bugs," it doesn't mean that they don't like to live in the dog's kennel or that pile of clothes on the floor.
3. Consider buying a mattress/box-spring encasement. If bed bugs are in your mattress, these make it more difficult for bed bugs to get to you while you sleep. The EPA recommends that you buy a product that has been tested for bed bugs and is strong enough to last for a full year without tearing.
4. Wash those sheets. Be sure to frequently wash and heat-dry your bed linens, bed spreads and any clothing that touches the floor. It's super gross, but bed bugs and their eggs can hide in laundry containers/hampers.
5. Vacuum frequently. Thoroughly vacuuming rugs, floors, under beds, around bed legs, bed frame and all cracks and crevices around the room can help to cut your risk. After vacuuming, be sure to change the bag, placing it in a tightly sealed plastic bag and in an outside garbage bin so that bed bugs can't migrate to another part of your house.
Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.