When I first heard of the Ghana government’s initiative to give free mattresses to boarders in senior high schools, my first reaction was that of shock. I asked myself why a government which could barely pay for the feeding grants for the Northern Scholarship Initiative could be so extravagant as to bother to duplicate mattresses for students. I was preparing to write an article to air my views when bedbug infestation plagued our school.
We saw it on our girls; their skins showed bites and others had scratches and sores on their bodies. Then the boys started complaining too as some teachers felt the pinches of their presence. The management of the school acted as fast as they could and brought in a fumigator for fumigation. Even the fumigation, which was very costly, did no good. Then I saw the sense in the giving of the new students mattresses but it held a flaw, because then, beds must be changed, chop boxes and trunks must also be changed right up to the boxer shorts and panties of students for complete clearance.
What I find difficult to understand is why these insects breakout in almost all schools each term. Some claim it is always from the girls’ dormitories because the girls eat like fowls, and the crumbs from their foods breed these insects. Well, I know they do but I also do know boys also hide foods to eat at night.
Also, it is clearly evident that these bed bugs are mostly seen during inter zonal sporting activities where most schools come together to compete. So obviously, schools who are affected spread it to the other host schools and other visiting schools who in turn send them to their schools. Even day students risk sending them to their homes because they sit with the boarders in their classes.
It is a fact that these insects breed in corners and places difficult to reach. It is also true that they are difficult to kill. Wherever humans are, they multiply in great fold. Reading on bedbugs, I came across this site http://www.emedicinehealth.com/bedbugs/page2_em.htm
“Causes of Bedbug Infestations
Bedbugs are found in temperate and tropical climates worldwide. They are most commonly found in living quarters where their host resides. Bedbugs generally hide in the seams and crevices of mattresses and box springs, bed frames, headboards, old furniture, and in spaces underneath baseboards or behind loose wallpaper. Clutter and disarray also provide additional hiding places for bedbugs. Bedbugs may be transported from one location to another via luggage, furniture, clothing, and used mattresses. Although they are often associated with unsanitary living conditions, bedbug infestations also occur in clean, well-maintained living quarters, including five-star hotels and resorts. Bedbug infestations have been increasingly reported in hotels, dormitories, homes, apartments, nursing homes, jails, and hospitals. There have been several cases in the U.S. involving litigation because of bedbug infestations.
Prior to World War II, bedbug infestations were common; however, after the widespread introduction of the use of the insecticide DDT in the mid-20th century, bedbug infestations became much less common. The recent resurgence in bedbug infestations worldwide is thought to be related to several different factors, including the increase in international travel, dense urban living conditions, insecticide resistance, and new, ineffective pest-control measures.
The symptoms of a bedbug bite are usually mild when present, and often individuals will not experience any symptoms at all. Bedbug bites can occur on any exposed part of the body, with the face, neck, arms, and hands being areas commonly affected. The signs and symptoms can appear from minutes to days after the initial bite. Affected individuals will usually complain of localized itching and reddish-colored skin lesions, which may look like a flat welt or a raised bump. Sometimes, the lesions can be found in clusters or in a linear pattern. Typically, these skin lesions will go away after one to two weeks.
Individuals who experience repeated bites over time may have more pronounced symptoms. Some people may also develop scarring or a skin infection from intense scratching of the skin. Rarely, a more severe systemic allergic reaction to a bedbug bite may develop. Some individuals may develop insomnia andanxiety from serious or repeated bedbug infestations.
When to Seek Medical Care
The vast majority of the time, bedbug bites can be managed at home. However, if someone begins to experience any of the following symptoms, consult a health-care professional or go to the nearest emergency department:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Tightness in the throat or difficulty swallowing
- Lip or tongue swelling
- Dizziness or fainting
- Itchy rash all over the body
- Spreading redness around the site of the bedbug bite
This was a very enlightening read so I thought to share. I hope the education sector finds a way to battle this so students will be safe in their rooms instead of fleeing to sleep outside to be bitten by snakes and other harmful animals.
(Photo Credit: http://www.bedbugs.org/pictures/)