SRxA’s Word on Health bloggers have been keeping a watchful eye on the impact of the recent bedbug outbreak on North Americans’ health. Although bedbugs present only a mild threat to physical health, their impact on psychological well-being can be more serious.
Anxiety, paranoia and stress are common results of the social rejection some bedbug victims face. Bedbugs not only consume a person’s blood, but also a person’s social interactions: Can a victim hug her family? Can she have guests over? Is it okay for her to sleep at a friend’s place? Even the decision to tell friends and colleagues about a bedbug infestation can cause distress.
The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that social rejection can occur in the workplace as well. After a sleepless night in her condo, one victim showed up to work groggy and on edge. When her co-workers asked if she was okay, she broke down into tears and confessed she might have bed bugs. They responded, ‘We’re going to support you, but we’re not going to touch you or go near you,’ the victim recalls.
People whose homes are infested with bedbugs face social stigmas. Although even top-tier luxury hotels have fallen victim of bedbug infestations, the stereotype still exists that infestations are caused by a person’s dirtiness or poor hygiene.
SRxA’s Word on Health is pleased to learn that online support forums are available. While some sites provide tips on how to prevent bedbugs, others such as BedBugger.com, specifically address the anxiety, paranoia and stress they cause.