By CHAD ABSHIRE
The West Virginia Poison Control recently contacted the Daily News via email, sending a press release with information on safely dealing with bed bugs and lice.
Carissa McBurney Community Outreach Coordinator with the WVPC, said the reason for the information was “due to recent bed bug hype throughout hotels.”
“Nothing makes your skin crawl quite like the thought of little pests like bed bugs or head lice,” the release stated.
Some examples that the release used were hearing reports that the last hotel you stayed in might have had bed bugs or that your child’s classmate had head lice.
According to the release, bed bugs and lice have a number of things in common:
• We do not want them near us;
• They can appear in dirty places and in extremely clean places;
• They are very small;
• They can feed on human blood but do not spread disease;
• They can, but not always, cause red bumps and itchy skin reactions;
• People can do more harm to themselves trying to get rid of them than these pests would cause.
The WVPC provided the following tips to safely deal with the unwanted pests:
• For bedbugs: Use a professional exterminator.
“These pest are great at hiding and pesticides need to go where they are,” the release stated. “Odds are, you will end up using more pesticide than you need, a more toxic pesticide than you need, and applying the pesticide in most of the wrong places if you do it yourself. Get rid of them by a professional and be done. This will likely be less expensive in the long run.”
• For lice: do not apply pesticides to non-living objects.
“Nits and lice on non-living objects will die,” the release stated. “Nits need body heat and humidity to survive and lice need body warmth and blood to live. Nits and lice will not live long if not on a hair shaft next to the scalp. If someone is concerned about bedding, simply wash and then dry with high heat. Combs and brushes can be boiled in water. Pesticides are unnecessary so human exposure can be avoided by not even having them in the home.”
• Also for lice: do not use lice removal products (e.g., Nix, RID, others) if they are not needed.
“Apply a lice product, purchased in a pharmacy, only if lice are seen. The presence of nits without lice is not an indication for treatment,” the release stated. “Nits that are near the scalp can be removed with a nit comb. Nits that are more than a half-inch from the scalp have likely hatched weeks ago and are not a concern.”
• The WVPC also stated that, when treating lice, “do it correctly do not do it.”
“All of the instructions on the box must be followed exactly in order for the products to be safe and to have the best chance of being effective. Never use products not specifically sold for lice treatment. Pesticides used for other purposes and certain home remedies can be toxic.”
For more information, contact 1-800-222-1222 or visit www.wvpoisoncenter.org.