If you’re planning a summer vacation the last thing you want to do is bring unwelcome guests home with you, especially ones that bite.
Some hotels and motels are crawling – literally – with bedbugs. So what can you do to protect your family?
First of all, research the place you’re thinking about staying. If an online search turns up a history of bedbug problems, choose another place to stay. Even if your online sleuthing doesn’t uncover anything suspicious, don’t assume all is OK.
Upon your arrival, and before you check out that oceanfront view, inspect the sheets and mattress for telltale signs of infestation. Small black dots or bloodstains on or under the mattress will alert you to their presence.
Bedbugs are the size of apple seeds and hide during the day in or around beds and crevices in chairs, couches, curtains, rugs, mattress seams and headboards and footboards.
Report any signs of these pesky critters to the management and ask to be moved to another room, preferably 2 or more floors away.
If your new room has signs of bedbugs, switch hotels immediately.
While bedbugs don’t carry disease, their bites can definitely take the fun out of your vacation by causing itchy bumps, rashes and skin infections that result from scratching.
If by chance you end up getting bitten, wash bites with soap and water and use antihistamines and anti-itch creams to relieve symptoms.
Even if your hotel seems pristine, you never know. Bedbugs can survive for several months without food and have a lifespan of 12-18 months. Keeping luggage and clothing off the floor and bed and hanging up your clothes whenever possible limits their ability to hitch a ride home in your suitcase.
By following these simple precautions you’re less likely to bring home any unwanted souvenirs this summer.