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Many people know that bed bugs can be commonly found in hotels and college dorms, but few people think of the danger of bed bugs in senior living facilities. Unfortunately, it’s true. Senior care facilities have many similarities to other high-risk areas, such as having lots of people sleeping under the same roof, numerous employees and visitors coming and going every day, and rooms that can turn over for new occupants.

Even the cleanest assisted living facilities can be infected with bed bugs—these pesky creatures are relentless in their pursuit of humans and will attach themselves to people’s clothes and bedding to transport to new locations. The turnover and high numbers of visitors in a senior care center make it a very desirable place for bed bugs.

Perhaps more so than in any other type of living situations, bed bugs can be even more of a nuisance to senior citizens. Bed bug bites can cause the skin to itch, lead to secondary infections, and even have recently been linked to MRSA. Aside from the physical pain, bed bugs also bring the emotional damage of physiological stress due to your home being infected.

So what can be done to control bed bugs in assisted care facilities? It’s best to start with a proactive approach. Bed bug infestations are growing in frequency, which means it might not be a matter of if, but when they reach the care center. Preventing an attack and being prepared can lessen your chances of bed bugs and make them easier to manage if they do get in.

Each senior living facility should have a plan in place of what to do if bed bugs arrive, which should include things like how to contact residents, where to move them, and how to get rid of the bugs. Bed bugs can be prevented by checking furniture for signs of bugs or carcasses and washing all bedding in hot water on a frequent basis. Keeping the space clean and uncluttered gives bed bugs fewer places to hide and fewer things to feast on. Regularly check sleeping and common areas for bed bugs and report the problem as soon as possible.

If an issue does arise, call a pest control professional right away. Over-the-counter treatments aren’t effective on bed bugs and can make the problem worse. Communicate to residents about your progress in getting rid of the bugs.

Assisted care facilities should be a safe and welcoming place for residents, even during times of stress like bed bug infestation. With a careful prevention plan, you can make things more comfortable for your residents and be prepared for the worst to happen.

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