Why Kissing Bugs Are Not Anything You Should Love
As if there were not enough things to worry about, now kissing bugs are coming back into the news cycle of things you need to know about.
Kissing bugs are creatures you hope don't bite you because they spread a disease called Chagas.
Why Should We Care?
This nasty little bug carries Chagas disease, and it can make you feel terrible.
They call them kissing bugs because they are attracted to our faces, specifically our mouths because as we release carbon dioxide, they are immediately drawn to this.
Why Do They Call These Bugs Kissing Bugs?
These bugs come over near our lips or other places on our faces and bite us. They even have anesthetic in their saliva so we don't feel it. Once they bite, they drop their feces on your face! While you don't feel the bite when it happens, you feel it later. When you start itching, you scratch and rub, thus putting their feces into your open bite mark. And that's how they pass on Chagas disease.
There are two phases of Chagas, the Acute phase which happens within the days and weeks that you have been bitten, and if not treated, you will into the chronic phase.
The Mayo Clinic gives the list of the terrible symptoms you will experience with Chagas disease infection in the acute phase:
- You likely will see swelling where the bugs bit you
- You could get a fever
- You might experience your eyelids swelling if they bit you there
- You could get a headache
- You could see a rash
- You might be exhausted
- You might find you don't want to eat
- Your glands could swell.
- Body aches are possible.
- You could experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Some people may experience enlargement of the liver or spleen
These nasty little creatures travel in packs so it's possible you can have multiple bites. If you think you have been bitten, getting to your doctor's office is a good idea so you can avoid the chronic phase of Chagas infection. Those symptoms include:
- You could experience an irregular heartbeat
- You might have trouble swallowing because your esophagus enlarges
- You could experience stomach pain or constipation because your colon enlarges
- You could have a sudden cardiac arrest
- You could end up with heart failure
In addition to potentially giving us Chagas disease, kissing bugs can also infect your pets.
Please be on the lookout for these nasty little creatures. And while you are looking for kissing bugs, here are some tips about mosquitoes.