They may sound cute, but you don’t want to ever come across one! The presence of “Kissing Bugs” is on the rise and and these little suckers are carrying a dangerous parasite that can even cause death! Health experts are issuing a public warning.
Triatoma is the official name of a genus of bugs that have been dubbed the “kissing bug.” They are aptly named due to their nasty little habit of biting victims near the eyes and mouth.
The bugs themselves aren’t deadly. However, they host a parasite that carries a disease called Chagas. The Centers for Disease Control has targeted Chagas Disease for “public health action.” In other words, it’s very important for the public to recognize these bugs by sight, and be aware of the symptoms of being bitten by one!
If you’re bitten, a cure is available if caught within the first month! That’s why it’s important to be informed and recognize the symptoms, especially in kids. Skin swelling, rashes, loss of appetite and body aches are some of the signs of a kissing bug bite. If left untreated, the parasite can eventually make its way to the heart and result in death.
This is what kissing bugs actually look like:
The parasite can be spread by touching the site of the bite, and then rubbing your eye or mouth with the same hand. Keep your hands off all bug bites, or be very careful of what you touch after accidentally making contact with a bite mark.
If you think you’ve been bitten by a kissing bug, seek immediate assistance from a medical professional. A test can be performed to confirm the presence of the disease. A course of anti-parasite drugs must be given in order to rid yourself of these parasites for good.
Make sure you’ve got your bug repellant, and be vigilant this summer. It’s always best to be safe rather than sorry! This is one kiss you definitely DON’T want!