Watch Out For The Deadly Kissing Bug!

As much as we might love or hate insects, it’s undeniable that if you live in America, you’re going to have some as housemates. We may have carved our cities from cement and steel but any warm, dry, safe environment that we like; other creatures will like as well. Mostly, this doesn’t cause much of a problem. However, it’s always smart to be on the look out for insects that could be a threat to your health (or that of your loved ones). We all know to avoid bees, wasps, ticks, fleas, and some flatworms. These are well known dangers but there’s another one that should be added to that list, and it has the cutest name.

The Kissing Bug (also known as the conenose bug, assassin bug, or vampire bug) has been making the news lately. Recently they’ve been in the headlines after several startling news reports claimed they may be “invading” our country and casing an “epidemic”. The truth is they’ve been here longer than we have, at least 12,000 years. Although they aren’t as dangerous as the media seems to believe, they are still responsible for an average of 11,000 deaths a year globally, and should be taken seriously.

The nickname “vampire bug” is well earned because like fleas and ticks, kissing bugs also feed on the blood of unsuspecting hosts.
Also like vampires, they are mostly active at night, choosing to spend their days hidden away in nests.
They are vectors for the Chagas disease parasite which, untreated, can lead to fatal cardiac arrest.
When disturbed they can release an unpleasant pungent odor. 
Never touch the kissing bug with your bare hands. If you need to remove it make sure to wear gloves and minimize contact as much as possible. 
While most bites go unnoticed, some people have terrible allergic reactions and can even suffer anaphylactic shock.
If you are bitten you should seek medical attention as soon as you can.

I never would have imagined that something so tiny could be so dangerous. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings, and if you spot one DO NOT TOUCH.


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