“Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!” Of course, this is easier said than done, especially when you’re traveling and staying in a lot of different hotels. But these little nuisances shouldn’t keep you from taking a vacation. Follow these tips to learn how you can prevent bringing home bed bugs when you travel.
Before You Arrive
The best way to prevent bed bug bites is to avoid staying in places that have them. Unfortunately, there’s no way to guarantee that your chosen hotel won’t have any of these unwanted critters, but it’s still a good idea to check out some of the reviews online; if a lot of people are complaining about infestations and itchy welts, you’re better off booking somewhere else. Sites like TripAdvisor and the Bed Bug Registry are great resources for this information. And, don’t let misconceptions get in the way; bed bugs don’t discriminate and can be found in all types of places, from budget motels to luxurious suites.
While You’re There
Before you flop down on the bed, check the mattress and surrounding areas for any signs of a bed bug infestation: pull back the covers, flip the pillows, and lift the mattress. Bed bugs bear a strong resemblance to apple seeds in both shape and size. They might also leave behind bits of dried blood excrement, so take care to notice any red-brown dots. If you do find evidence of an infestation, contact hotel management immediately. Notify them of the situation, and at the very least, request to be moved to another room. It’s likely that other rooms in the same establishment will also have bed bugs though, so if possible, ask for a reimbursement and see if you can stay at another location.
If You Do Get Bit…
If you wake up in the morning and notice itchy red bumps on your skin, don’t panic. For starters, bed bug bites look very similar to other common bug bites, like those of mosquitoes. And while bed bugs are certainly very annoying, they don’t carry any known diseases and shouldn’t be a significant problem for most people. You can treat itchy bites by washing them with soap or applying anti-itch cream. Some people, however, may be allergic to bed bug bites, which can then turn those itchy welts into a more serious issue. If you notice symptoms such as excessive swelling or a rash, take an antihistamine, such as Benadryl, and see a health care professional immediately.
After You Get Back
If you have any suspicion that you may have accidentally brought some critters home with you, leave your luggage outside on the porch or in the garage. Put all your clothes and linens into the dryer for half an hour at the highest setting to kill any bugs and their eggs. Inspect the remaining contents carefully for any signs of infestation, and only bring your luggage into the house once everything has been carefully looked over.
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