Bed bug prevention is especially important at long-term care and medical facilities where there are dozens or hundreds of beds. A bed bug infestation of one person or a single bed won't be contained for long, and will quickly multiply to every person, bed and chair in the facility.
The National Pest Management Association points to nursing homes, hospitals and long-term care facilities as being particularly vulnerable to bed bugs. Because of this susceptibility, there are federal laws that require these types of facilities to properly "maintain an effective pest control program so that the facility is free of pests and rodents."
One of the reasons why medical or long-term facilities use pest control services for getting rid of bed bugs is because, as the CDC explained, the blood-sucking pests can cause physical, mental and emotional damage. Bed bugs don't carry disease, but they can cause allergic reactions, secondary infections, anxiety, stress and insomnia.
Although pest management firms come to the rescue in order to eliminate these annoying parasites, bed bugs are extremely tough. They can survive in a wide range of temperatures, fit through thread-sized holes, lay five eggs a day and survive for months without food, the NPMA explained. Bed bugs' resilience underscores the importance of preventing them from establishing a foothold in any long-term care or medical facility.
Be cautious about what you allow in
The first step to prevention is to stop bed bugs from coming into the facility, so it's important to look at the ways that bed bugs usually enter. Although people don't usually bring their own mattresses to long-term care facilities, it doesn't mean they can't bring another furniture or clothing item that may have bed bugs on it. A professional and a trained canine can be used to check patients' belongings. Secondhand or found items should be banned from the facility. And, in addition to checking bedding and clothing, be sure to check luggage and plush items like stuffed animals, which may have been infested, the Cuyahoga County Bed Bug Task Force recommended.
Keep sleeping areas clean and well-sealed
The NPMA advised long-term care facilities to regularly and thoroughly clean areas where bed bugs are most likely to be found (in and around the bed). The association also recommended the facility make sure any cracks or crevices are completely sealed - bed bugs don't need much room. It's also important to keep laundry away from bedding before it's washed, so that if there is an infestation, it'll have a harder time spreading.