Do you care for a household member who’s temporarily bedridden or a loved one with permanent disabilities? Watch out for potential pest problems during spring and summer. Here are four tips to reduce the risk of patient exposure to pests.
1. START WITH THE BED AND BEDDING
When a person is bedridden for long periods, they’re vulnerable to bugs and bug bites. Insects are drawn to warmth, and a stationary human body definitely qualifies.
Patient bedrooms are sometimes kept warmer than other areas of the home to keep the patient comfortable. Any insects in your home will be drawn to the area to enjoy the extra cozy temperatures too.
Be vigilant about checking all bedding for insect pests each day. A good time to check is when the patient is out of bed or is sitting up to dress or bathe.
Possible pests that may trouble a bed-bound patient include:
- Pharaoh ants
These insect pests can spread diseases as well as inflict bites on people. Pharaoh ants can even enter IV tubing and wound dressings.
If you find any insects in the bedding, remove the patient from the bed. Check the patient for insect bites and other signs of pests. Clean the patient and change their clothing.
Check the mattress, box springs, bed mechanism, and under-floor area for more insects. Vacuum and sweep the area, and try to determine how the pests are coming into the bedroom. Let your pest control company know about the pests you see in the patient room and how you believe they are getting in.
Change the bedding regularly, and always wash patient bedding in hot, soapy water. Machine dry the bedding on a hot setting to kill insects.
2. KEEP PATIENT DINING AREAS FREE OF BUG DINNERS
Patients often dine in non-kitchen areas out of necessity. A sofa, easy chair, or patient bed can become the dining room for your loved one.
Crumbs, food odors, and spills will attract insects. Insects like houseflies, roaches, and fruit flies will scavenge in carpet and upholstery for the food that falls during meals.
Use floor and furniture protection in non-kitchen dining areas. Plastic sheets, vinyl tablecloths, and large food trays will catch most crumbs and liquid spills. After meals, thoroughly sweep and vacuum up all spills and crumbs in the area.
Spills from sugary drinks and fruit juices are very attractive to ants and cockroaches. Use the appropriate cleaner to remove liquid spills before they dry and harden. Purchase non-spill dinnerware for a patient with mobility or grip issues.
HAVE ALL PETS TREATED FOR TICKS AND FLEAS
Pets carry insects — including fleas and ticks — into the home. Once inside the home, both ticks and fleas will attack humans. Bedridden patients and those with limited mobility are easy targets for biting insects.
Both fleas and ticks can carry human diseases. Bites from insects can also become seriously infected when a patient has a compromised immune system.
Protect bedridden patients from tick and flea bites by purchasing high-quality anti-pest medication from your veterinarian. In most cases, the professional treatment will significantly reduce the number of fleas and ticks riding inside on the dog’s or cat’s fur.
Schedule a spring and summer inspection and treatment for fleas and ticks if these insects are a problem in your neighborhood. Your professional pest control company has effective in-home treatments that kill both adult and emerging fleas for extra protection.
PRACTICE WHOLE-HOUSE AND PATIENT-ROOM IPM
IPM stands for integrated pest management. Integrate all of the components of pest control in your maintenance routine for the patient’s room and the entire home. The areas to focus on are barriers, attractants, and chemical control.
Ensure that your entire home is treated for pests to reduce the likelihood of pests gravitating to the patient area. Caulk and seal the exterior and interior of windows and doors. Repair screens to keep out flying insects, including wasps, houseflies, and mosquitoes.
Be the barrier between bugs and your home when your bedridden loved one leaves the home for a doctor visit or vacation. Bed bugs are increasing in Central Illinois health care facilities and hotels.
Thoroughly wash and quarantine luggage, clothing, and other items that were taken out of the home before you use them in the home again. Check mattresses for bedbugs routinely.
Keep food, liquid medications, trash, and other attractants out of the patient room. Pharaoh ants in particular are drawn to proteins and nutrients in blood and IV fluids, so store these items in a protected place.
Keep the patient room as clean as possible to reduce the number of bugs such as dust mites and spiders in the space. Remove clutter from the room to take away attractive hiding places.
Some insects hide and lay eggs in carpet yarns, so replace carpeting with hardwood or tile wherever possible.
In some cases, chemicals must be used to combat a pest infestation in your home. Call in professionals to administer these treatments.
Pest-control professionals have the gear to treat homes effectively. Don’t risk your health or your patient’s health with a potential DIY disaster.
Contact American Pest Control Inc. to schedule spring pest inspection and treatment for your home in Central Illinois.