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Bed bugs - Don't let the bed bugs bite


Thursday, January 27, 2011 


"Goodnight girls. Sleep tight. Don't let the bed bugs bite."bed bug

"Aahh! Don't say that," screamed my older daughter.

Who would have thought that a harmless term of endearment from childhood could evoke fits of terror in our kids? Ah, but you see, when we were little, there was no "bed bug" epidemic sweeping lower Manhattan and no danger of hearing about it on the 6 o'clock news. I have to admit, they scare me as well, and it's all I can do not to scratch myself to sleep at night.

When you stop and think about it, many children's stories and nursery rhymes are downright terrifying. When I was 5, our family was preparing to move into our very own home after years of apartment living. About a month before the big move, the "Wizard of Oz" aired on television and my parents agreed I was old enough to watch it. Wrong. I spent the next month waking with a reoccurring nightmare that the wicked witch would pick up our new house and toss it to the ground, just like she had done with Dorothy's home.

Ironically, when Ally was 2 1/2, she became obsessed with the wicked witch after watching "The Wizard of Oz" (thanks to the magic of VCR's, my kids didn't have to wait a year to catch an annual televised event) over and over again with her big brother.

"Why her face geen, mommy?" she'd ask with her big brown eyes as wide as saucers. "The wicka witch won't get me, right mommy? I like her geen face," she'd say, hoping that flattery would keep her safe.

When my brother was young, he was terrified of "Hansel and Gretel." Perhaps he was afraid of abandonment, or perhaps he hated clogs (in our version, Hansel's were brown, while Gretel wore green), but whatever the reason, he would quickly flip past the pages of "Hansel and Gretel" in our Brother's Grimm storybook and start to cry if I suggested that my mom read it to us. I loved the pictures of the candy-covered house and reveled that in the end, clever Gretel outsmarted the evil witch by pushing her into the hot oven.

Then there's that crazy lady with all those kids. No, I'm not talking about the Octomom or Michelle Duggar, although clearly Mother Goose was ahead of her time. I'm referring, of course, to the old lady who lived in a shoe. Nothing terrifies little kids more than the thought of a spanking, except maybe the threat of an early bedtime. Well, that sadistic old woman beat her poor kids and then sent them to bed — now that's positively chilling for a 4-year-old!

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Spider Control - Beware of Brown Recluse, Black Widow Spiders



Spiders can be found in nearly every corner of the world, except Antarctica, but the spiders most people worry about are the ones lurking in the corners of their homes, like the brown recluse or black widow. A brown recluse spider has been named as the possible culprit in the recent case of Victoria Franklin, a woman living in Georgia who lost her breast from gangrene after being bit by the arachnid.

black widowAccording to The World Spider Catalog, there were 41,253 species of spiders identified as of December 16, 2009, but only a few are dangerous to humans. Two of those dangerous spiders can be found in the contiguous United States, and especially in the southern states where Ms. Franklin lives: the brown recluse and the black widow. These spiders prefer a warm environment and dark, dry hiding places where they can be left alone, like closets and woodpiles.

Although a great many people fear spiders (some to the point of phobia, called arachnophobia), the creatures do much good by capturing and eating other insects. Even though all spiders have some amount of venom that varies in potency, the vast majority of spiders are not dangerous to people because their fangs are too short or too fragile to penetrate a person's skin.

A spider generally bites a person because it has been frightened or disturbed in its hiding place and it is trying to defend itself. In brown reclusemost cases, a bite mark from a spider is too small to be seen easily, and often people do not remember being bitten.

According to the California Poison Control System, spider bites typically cause pain, small puncture wounds, redness, swelling, and itching that may last a few days. It is rare for a spider to bite more than once, so if you have multiple bites, you have probably been bit by fleas, bedbugs, ticks, mites, biting flies, or another insect.

The black widow spider bite is serious, but it is rarely lethal. If you see the spider, it has a red hourglass mark on its underside. A bite from a female black widow spider results in slight swelling and faint red marks initially, and then within a few hours intense pain and stiffness set in. Other signs and symptoms include chills, fever, weakness, headache, elevated blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. Those at greatest risk of developing symptoms are young children, the elderly, and people who have high blood pressure.

In many cases, the spider does not inject venom and no serious symptoms develop. If muscle cramps develop, you should seek medical care for treatment of the symptoms. A black widow spider antivenin is rarely necessary but it is available.

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