Traitomines, commonly referred to as the kissing bug, are an approximately ¾-inch, nocturnal, blackish-brown insect with the ability to fly. Kissing bugs live in the United States, South America, Latin America and Central America.
A kissing bug will bite the mouth, eyelids and ears of a sleeping person, which is the reason for the unique label. They are attracted to the carbon monoxide we expel out of our mouths. Unlike bed bugs, a kissing bug will only bite exposed skin, which is commonly the face.
When a kissing bug bites, it will inject a small amount of saliva into the wound. For a person who is allergic or sensitive to the bites this may cause allergic reactions ranging from skin irritation to anaphylactic shock. A kissing bug bite requires immediate medical attention.
Chagas disease is a life-threatening illness, caused by a parasite, which lives in the kissing bugs digestive tract. After feeding, the kissing bug will urinate or defecate creating the possibility for this parasite to enter the bloodstream through the wound thus infecting the victim. Infection increases the risks of becoming sick.
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