- How do I protect myself from bed bugs when I travel?
How do I protect myself from bed bugs when I travel?
Unfortunately, the incidence of bed bugs is occurring at an increasing rate within the United States. Business travelers, vacationers and multi-family dwelling residents are now at risk to encountering bed bugs. The bed bug threat has spread to include common locations that people might not normally suspect. Industry experts report that bed bugs may be encountered in places such as airplanes, mass transit, health care facilities, all types of hotels, resorts, senior citizen facilities, libraries, and other places. Bed bugs are a people problem and not a building problem and are an “equal opportunity infester”.
While there’s no guarantee that you’ll never encounter bed bugs during business or vacation travel, the following steps may help you avoid bringing bed bugs home with you when you travel:
Before Traveling: There isn't much you can do before traveling. Bed bugs are an “equal opportunity infester” and have been found in everything from five star resorts all the way down to "flea bag" hotels. Checking out one of the many online bed bug reporting sites isn't much use. The content of such websites is reported by the general public and not subject to verification. As such, the information posted may or may not be reliable or timely.
Before Checking In: Some experts advise travelers to ask the front desk attendant if they have ever had a pest problem or if there is an existing pest problem within the hotel. You can ask but, in general, they will answer indicating they do not now or have ever had a bed bug situation at their location. If you do have a concern or suspicion it may be wise to go ahead and ask. Be mindful of how your question is answered.
After Checking In: Enter your room just far enough to close the door behind you. Keep your luggage there or put it in the bathtub. Bed bugs cannot climb smooth surfaces such as glass, smooth plastics, smooth tile, and porcelain.
In The Room: Using a suitable flashlight, check the for signs of bed bugs:
- Around the mattress. Check the bed sheets and along the seams of the mattress. Generally speaking, bed bugs are more likely to be found at the head of the bed than the foot.
- Around the box spring. Check along the seams of the box spring.
- Around and behind the head board. Bed bugs prefer to hide in undisturbed areas. In a hotel, the maid changes the sheets regularly. As such, the mattress become a less desirable hiding place. The head board is close by and seldom disturbed.
- Around the side tables, including the drawers
- Under lamps and phones
- Any surface close to the bed
If You Find Signs: Leave the room immediately, take your luggage with you. Tell the front desk what you found and ask to be placed in another room. Repeat steps 2 and 3.
Protect Your Luggage: To prevent bed bugs from hitching a ride home with you in your luggage, use the Mattress Safe® SuitcaseSafe® luggage encasement. Made of a lightweight stretch knit fabric that packs easily and encases your luggage at your destination. SuitcaseSafe® should be used for all types of travel.
Protect Your Laundry: Protect your laundry from a bed bug invasion with the LaundrySafe® Travel Laundry Bag. The LaundrySafe® bag offers you a simple and cost effective way to protect your laundry from inadvertently bringing bed bugs home with you. Made of a lightweight stretch fabric that transfers directly to the washing machine.
Returning Home: Leave your suitcase outside until you are able to launder all clothing on high temperature. Then, while outside, thoroughly inspect and vacuum the interior and exterior of your suitcases. Be sure to immediately discard the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag. For additional protection, use high quality bed bug certified mattress and box spring encasements, such as the Mattress Safe® Ultimate or Superior encasement, on your beds at home to prevent "hitch hiking" bed bugs from infesting your mattress and box spring.
Protect yourself when traveling to a known bed bug location
When you have no choice and must travel to a known bed bug infested area, the best way to protect yourself form becoming a bed bug buffet is the Mattress Safe® NightSafe® Sleep System. The NightSafe® tent is designed to give you a good nights sleep while protecting you in a bed bug infested location or during an infestation treatment program. Lightweight and portable, the NiteSafe® sleep system provides immediate relief against bed bug bites.
In an emergency situation, sleeping in a tub is an option since bed bugs cannot climb smooth surfaces.
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