The sight of bed bugs is enough to put a damper on your vacation but the bites can cause a variety of symptoms from secondary skin infections to allergic reactions and in rare cases anaphylaxis which can impair breathing and require a trip to the ER.
With spring break coming up, our partners at Consumer Reports Magazine shared 4 tips to keep the bed bugs away during your next hotel stay.
They list some simple steps when you check in can help avoid hassles and expenses when you check out.
1. Don't drop luggage on the floor
It might sound extreme, but to be safe, put your luggage in the bathroom as soon as you enter the hotel room. If the bathroom is too tight, a table top will also do.
Bed bugs prefer anything dark and creviced that they can hide in like bedding, seams of fabric, furniture, even inside walls so the bathroom is usually a the safe zone while you search the room for signs of critters.
2. Now check the bedding
Check the sheets, mattress and box spring for any signs of bed bugs. Look for dark, rust colored spots and exoskeletons - the casings the bugs leave behind.
Don’t forget to look at the head of the bed and in, around and behind the headboard, too.
Be sure to lift and check under the mattress, too.
3. Suspicious? Ask for another room
It’s important to take action if you do find anything suspicious.
If you find any signs of bed bugs, do not continue unpacking. Alert the manager immediately and ask for a new room in a different part of the hotel.
Do not accept the room next door. Infestations can spread from wall to wall.
4. Store luggage off floor your entire stay
Even if your room is clear, Consumer Reports says it’s a good idea to keep your luggage and clothes off the floor, and on a hard surface or luggage rack, clear of any potential bed bug zones, such as carpeting.
Finally, Consumer Reports says if you have any strange feelings, when you get home throw all of your clothes into a hot dryer for 30 minutes. And store your empty luggage in your garage or a hot attic.
Never store empty suitcases in your bedroom closet. You can pick up bedbugs on planes, buses, and at airports, too.
One caution, almost all hotels have a bed bug complaint at some point, so you could drive yourself crazy trying to find a "clean" hotel. Just one or two complaints should not keep you away, if the hotel gets good reviews on Tripadvisor.com and other sites.
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