Battling Bed Bugs for Your Baby

Posted by Kayla Tryon on November 09, 2017 0 Comments

Battling Bed Bugs for Your Baby

 

            “Sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite.” A phrase commonly expressed to children at bedtime with little to no thought behind its traditional meaning, until recently. Bed bugs, those tiny, nasty, creepy-crawlies with a full course dinner menu comprised of warm blood. That’s right, you’re actually on a dinner menu, but you’re not alone. Your little ones are also in jeopardy. So what exactly are bed bugs and why does it feel like they came out of nowhere with a vengeance? Are they life-threatening? How can you treat yourself after contact and how are you even supposed to get rid of them? The questions are endless, but take a deep breath; relax, and let’s look a little into what these creatures are and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

Brief History

            For almost 40 years, bed bugs had almost disappeared completely. In the early 20th century bed bugs were exceedingly common until the introduction of highly potent insecticides. Bed bugs were such a huge problem that people routinely checked for them and actually resorted to constantly carrying around these potent insecticides wherever they traveled. From the mid-1950’s to the late 1990’s bed bugs vanished to the point where people could no longer identify them. A new generation of pest control professionals wasn’t quite equipped to fight them off. The potent insecticide once used so frequently and effectively enough to almost wipe them out, was banned worldwide in 2001. Thus the prevalence of bed bugs ensued.

What Are Bed Bugs?

            Cimex lectularius, also known as bed bugs, are blood-feeding parasites that prefer and thrive in warm, dry places. Their typical meal is usually humans, but any warm-blooded mammal will do. The good news is that bed bugs do not pose a threat on your life. They are distressing, yes, but NOT dangerous. Their bites are usually painless and do not spread any blood-borne diseases. However, you must be attentive of your children and animals for they are more prone to vigorously scratching at the bites and this, in turn, may cause skin infections. Approximately 1/3rd of people bitten do not even notice the bites. This can easily cause further infestation. The people that do experience reactions develop what looks like raised welts and can cause serious allergic reactions in some people. Resolution usually takes two weeks and can leave behind post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, or darker spots on the skin.

            Bed bugs have five stages of development which typically take 40 days when well fed, however, this process may be extended if food source is limited. The egg, which looks like a grain of rice, begins the process of their life cycle. The first stage nymph measures 1.5 mm and is usually difficult to see until their first feeding. The second stage nymph measures 2 mm. The third stage nymph measures 2.5 mm, the fourth stage nymph measures 3mm, and the fifth stage nymph measures 4.5 mm. Adult bed bugs are about the size of apple seeds. Females lay between one and five eggs each day and can lay up to 500 eggs in its lifetime. The eggs usually hatch within two weeks. Newly hatched nymphs can survive weeks without feeding. Adult bed bugs can live four-six months, although some may live up to a year without feeding under cool conditions. They have an oblong shell and a tiny head. If not fed recently, they are long and brown with a flat and oval shaped body. If fed recently, they swell up like a balloon, appear reddish-brown, and have a more elongated body. They are considered a “true bug” due to their beak with three segments, an antenna with four parts, wings that are not used for flying, and short, golden-colored hairs. They are skittish and don’t like movement but they can also crawl pretty fast when they need to. They usually come out at dawn to feed but can adapt to your very own sleeping schedule. The way they feed is by latching on to its host for a few minutes and then scurrying back their hiding places to digest. More time is spent digesting than actual feeding, nevertheless, since they tend to infest so rapidly, it may feel like you’re getting new bites every morning.

Rising Number of Bed Bugs in the U.S. and Recent Reports of Findings

            Arizona, the home state of the company, Susan Brown’s Baby, has just recently experienced public outbreaks of bed bugs. The first being at AMC Westgate 20 after a photo went viral claiming that bed bugs were in the theatre and clearly displaying infestations in the cracks and crevices of the theatre’s seats. Another person afterwards confirmed this. The auditorium was cleared and reopened after being treated by a pest control company.

            The most recent public sighting of bed bugs occurred at Phoenix Sky Harbor in Terminal 4. There, near the food courts, bed bugs were spotted on a padded bench. The benches were removed and a pest control company was called. They agreed to follow up to confirm that the areas at Sky Harbor were clear.

            Nonetheless, a long-time employee whose name was not disclosed reports that the bed bug problem has been an ongoing issue for a long while now. He also claimed seeing and moving multiple pieces of furniture so infested you could see the bugs moving on it. In fact, he’s helped move so much furniture that people are noticing and concluding that it must be due to a bed bug issue. He doesn’t think they have what it takes to dispose of the bed bugs completely. Not a fun thought for those of you who travel so often, so beware.

How They Spread and Signs of Bed Bugs in Your Home

            Bed bugs are considered hitchhikers. Anywhere you travel they can simply crawl onto your clothes, and your personal belongings. You do not need to have a dirty home to contract bed bugs since their sole meal is blood and not filth.

            They love to hide in seams, headboards, bed frames, dressers, behind wallpaper, mattresses, cracks and crevices, and anywhere they can fit their small bodies so make sure to check these areas thoroughly. Also check before bringing home second-hand furniture.

            Signs of infestation include: fecal spots, shed skin, egg shells, blood stains and dark spots on sheets and pillowcases, and an offensive, musty odor from their scent glands. Also, the new bites you wake up with in the morning are a pretty significant sign.

            If you think you have come in contact with bed bugs make sure you put your clothes directly in the washer, followed by the dryer for at least 30 minutes. This part is very important as bed bugs cannot stand high heat. Make sure to vacuum often, buy a light colored mattress protector and springs to easily spot bed bugs, and install door sweeps to keep them from traveling into other rooms.

 

Tune in for next week’s blog for extermination and treatment of bed bugs! Also, don’t miss out on your opportunity for an exclusive 20% off discount code for Susan Brown’s Baby Botanical Gelèe!

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Can medications make you more sensitive to the sun?

Posted by Susan Brown on August 29, 2017 0 Comments

This summer's must-reads aren't romances or thrillers; they're the warning labels and package inserts for your drugs and supplements. As Consumer Reports on Health warned in a recent article, “[s]ome widely used medications can make you far more sensitive to summer’s sunlight and heat than you’d usually be.”

That sensitivity can mean anything from a reduced ability to sweat to an increase in the amount of fluid you lose through your urine. So it’s important to revisit whatever safety info you have, and to check in with your doctor, who can let you know about potential risks during the brightest, warmest time of year.

Here are some of the better-known substances that may allow summer's sun and heat to hit you harder:

Antibiotics

 

“Antibiotics can cause photosensitivity and phototoxic reactions, meaning that they’re going to worsen your sunburn,” Rech says. “The one that comes to mind right away is Bactrim, or sulfamethoxozole trimethoprim.” Bactrim is prescribed to treat everything from bronchitis to bladder infections. “That’s a big offender, and so are tetracyclines and fluoroqinolones.” That said, you should never, ever skip an antibiotic for the sake of sunbathing, warns Rech. Your doctor can help you juggle your plans and your meds. 

Allergy medications

 

Some users find that oral antihistamines like diphenydramine (found in products like Benadryl and Dramamine) reduce their ability to sweat. In extreme cases, as the Consumer Reports medical advisory board noted, the overheating that can result leads to cramps, exhaustion, and even heat stroke. If you find that your allergy meds make it difficult for you to cool down, plan outdoor activities for the morning and evening, and try to spend the hottest hours of the day indoors.

Antidepressants

 

Tricyclic antidepressants may cause problems in hot weather because they "prevent the area in your brain that regulates heat response from knowing you’re overheating,” Rech explains. “They can also decrease sweating, which leads to a decrease in heat loss.”

When you’re taking a drug that increases the likelihood of overheating, stay alert for warning signssuch as headaches, lightheadedness, nausea, and weakness. If you experience any of those symptoms, get out of the sun and reach for water or a sports drink with sodium (which will help your body retain fluid until balance is restored). In the event of a severe reaction such as confusion, fever, or fainting, contact your doctor or call 911.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

 

“The main non-steroidals that cause phototoxicity are probably not ones that we commonly use," Rech says. But still, caution should be used, especially if you're on other medications. "Any time you’re taking a non-steroidal and going out in the sun I would recommend barrier protection with sunscreen and avoidance if possible, because any of the non-steroidals can worsen [phototoxicity],” Rech explains.

Vitamins and herbs

 

“A lot of over-the-counter herbal medications [can have phototoxic effects]—for example, St. John’s Wort is a big inducer of photosensitivity, and that medication in particular has a number of drug interactions. Anyone [interested in taking it] should ask their doctor or pharmacist first,” says Rech. Another pill that might put you at risk: Niacin, a form of Vitamin B3 that’s used to treat high cholesterol. It can cause skin reactions, Rech says, "so it could potentially cause [sun sensitivity].”


Topical medications

 

Significant sun exposure can amplify the effect of transdermal patches (such as Fentanyl, a powerful pain reliever, or Clonidine, which lowers blood pressure) that deliver medication directly through the skin. When you get a sunburn, the blood vessels in the surface of your skin dilate, explains Rech, and that can lead to increased absorption of your meds. So if you’re wearing a patch, it's a good idea to consider long sleeves.

Source: http://www.health.com/family/heat-sun-sensitivity-medication

 

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Is Being Gifted Really a Gift?

Posted by Kathleen George on September 18, 2016 0 Comments

     “As expected getting back into routine is a little rough for Jane.  She has had 2 pretty difficult days.” As expected. That’s how her teacher started the e-mail she sent to me when we returned from a family trip to attend a friend’s wedding. As expected…she had two pretty difficult days. My daughter has an IEP (Individualized Education Program) for ADHD. I’m not going to get into ADHD being over-diagnosed and how it doesn’t really exist. Spend a few days with my daughter or husband and you will be a believer. In addition to her IEP, my daughter is in Kindergarten and reading at a third grade level. Originally, the principal wanted to move her directly to first grade after Pre-K but her ADHD coupled with lagging social and emotional behavior made the decision easy. Jane is in her first 60 days of Kindergarten and “as expected” she is having some difficulty.

 

     It’s hard to say when my daughter doesn’t have difficult days. My husband and I knew Jane showed some interesting signs when she was young, even as young as 18 months. She was an early talker and walker. She was singing the alphabet before she turned one and was having full conversations by two. She crawled at 6 months and was walking by ten. And she never slept. Ok, not never, but rarely. While the other parents were conversing about three hour naps, I was lucky to get an hour and fifteen minutes. By three, she was tested through the school district’s early intervention program after being kicked out of two other preschools. I will be forever grateful for early intervention. It is through that program that we learned Jane is “most likely gifted”. Official testing occurs in the second grade but based on the assessments the school has done, this is their opinion.

 

     One one hand, I was excited. I was an over-achiever myself and had always hoped for a protégé I could take under my wing. On the other hand, I knew Jane would already face issues in her academic future. And let’s face it, smart kids can be weird, odd, socially awkward and the like. As parents, we all want our kids to fit in and not face the perils of being left out, bullied or treated unkind by their peers.

 

Even moderately gifted children are vulnerable to a variety of adjustment difficulties. As the degree of intellectual advancement increases, so does the child's risk of social maladjustment and unhappiness.”*

 

     Only time will tell how being gifted will impact our child’s life but as of now, she is just a Kindergartner and as expected, we will support her every step of the way.

 

 

*(Hollingworth, 1942; Terman, 1925; Terman & Oden, 1947; Tannenbaum, 1983). http://www.davidsongifted.org/Search-Database/entry/A10065

 

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