Bed Bugs are a Top Healthcare Concern, Well Ants too
Bed bugs and ants made the top of the list this year in a survey collected as a join venture between the Association for the Healthcare Environment and Orkin. It has been revealed year after year, bed bugs are a top healthcare concern due to the pests finding their way easily into many medical facilities. Even though hospitals, medical offices, longterm care facilities, and other clinics can be extremely clean and sterile, they can still harbor a bed bug infestation. Of those surveyed, more than 1 in 4 participates claimed their facility has dealt with bed bugs.
Bed bugs become masters at hitchhiking; they travel by way of personal items, clothing, shoes, luggage, purses, anything they can safely cling to or hide in. Elimination treatments can become quite dire and cumbersome in healthcare facilities if proper early detection protocol and monitoring procedures are not in play.
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) offers some valuable tips for healthcare facilities.
- Develop a written “bed bug protocol” in advance of problems being identified with specific procedures and responsibilities for responding to a bed bug incident.
- Institute bed bug prevention measures, particularly in higher-risk areas.
- Implement a bed bug awareness and education program for all staff and residents
Things to avoid
- Do not overreact. If bed bugs are discovered, there is rarely the need to close down a facility or even a portion of the facility beyond the immediate area of concern.
- Do not allow untrained staff to apply insecticides to control bed bugs.
- Widespread insecticide applications are usually not necessary.
- Avoid stigmatizing patients, family, or staff, whom you suspect may have brought bed bugs to the site.
Bed Bug Prevention
To avoid new introductions of bed bugs into healthcare facilities consider:
- A bed bug information sheet including information on how to avoid bringing bed bugs into the facility.
- Prohibiting used or secondhand furniture.
- Only necessary patient items should be brought into the facility, sealed in plastic bags.
- A requirement that furniture, luggage, and other personal items be inspected by a professional (or a certified canine bed bug detection dog scent detection team) and declared free of bed bugs, or fumigated before coming into the facility.
- Regularly vacuum or steam clean areas prone to bed bugs (under and around beds, upholstered furniture, luggage racks, wall/floor junction, etc.)
- Reduce clutter, seal cracks, crevices and holes near beds, repair or replace peeling wallpaper or paint, and take other actions to reduce bed bug hiding places.
- Follow good laundry handling practices to prevent the dispersal of bed bugs.
For additional bed bug education, information, certification, coordination, and free elimination provider referral services, please contact Bed Bugs and Beyond at (888) 410-1333 or visit the links provided below.
- Early Detection Bed Bug Guide
- Bed Bug Educational Seminars
- Beyond Bed Bug Certification
- Pest Elimination Provider Referrals
Please note: Under no circumstances should a patient be refused medical treatment based on their exposure to bed bugs.