There is a growing concern about the bedbug infestation in Paris. This is causing unease not only for tourists in the city but also for travelers in general. The unpredictable nature of these pests makes it challenging to anticipate where and when they might appear. Foreseeing such a scenario poses difficulties, but the potential for a surge in travel and a shortage of hospitality industry staff raises alarm bells concerning bedbugs, according to Mr. Michael F. Potter, a professor in the Department of Entomology at the University of Kentucky.
Precautions to Follow During Travel
When you enter a hotel room, doing a preliminary bed check before unpacking is a good idea. First, pull back the sheets and blankets and examine the mattress seams, especially around the headboard, for any signs of bedbugs. Although this initial inspection may not uncover every bedbug hideout, it provides the best chance of identifying any issues with minimal effort.
It’s important to avoid placing your suitcase in a corner on the floor, as this increases the risk of carrying bedbugs into your residence. Instead, choose an elevated surface, such as the top of a dresser or luggage rack.
In addition, the American Hotel & Lodging Association provides some supplementary guidance:
– Thoroughly check behind the headboard and couches and chairs, if possible.
– If you notice any signs of bedbugs, inform the management immediately.
– Request another room, preferably not adjacent to the affected one.
– If you’re not satisfied, consider switching to another hotel if possible.
– If bedbugs are found, consider enclosing your suitcase in a plastic garbage bag or protective cover.
Dealing with Bed Bug Bites
Fortunately, bed bug bites do not transmit diseases, unlike mosquitoes carrying malaria or ticks transmitting Lyme disease. However, the itching from these bites can lead to sleep disruption and potential secondary skin infections if excessive scratching occurs. Some individuals might experience severe allergic reactions.
The Cleveland Clinic suggests the following typical treatment approach:
- Gently wash the bites with soap and water.
- Apply an anti-itch cream or lotion (preferably with 1% hydrocortisone) to the affected skin.
- Repeat application once or twice daily until the itching subsides.
- In the case of severe itching, consult a doctor or pharmacist for a more potent steroid cream or antihistamine.
What to Do If Bed Bugs Invade Your Home
Even if you suspect potential exposure to bed bugs, taking precautions to prevent their entry into your home after returning from a trip is advisable. This can include placing all travel clothing in the dryer and encasing your belongings in plastic bags for a week or longer. In the event that bed bugs have indeed infiltrated your belongings, the EPA provides guidance on how to prepare your home for treatment:
Reduce Clutter: Eliminate old magazines and newspapers, keep clothing off the floor, and discard unused garments. Replace cardboard boxes with plastic containers. Isolate
Your Beds: Move them at least 15cm away from the wall if feasible, and work to eliminate bed bugs, larvae, and eggs. Utilize mattress protectors to trap the bugs and deprive them of sustenance. Avoid letting sheets touch the floor.
Thorough Cleaning: Heat proves effective. Place clothing, bedding, and other durable items in a dryer for at least 30 minutes to ensure the extermination of bed bugs and eggs. Store cleaned items in sealed plastic bags to prevent re-infestation. Steam cleaners can effectively address carpets, headboards, bed frames, and furniture, provided the steam temperature exceeds 55 degrees Celsius.
It is best to avoid cleaning with flammable liquids like rubbing alcohol, kerosene, and gasoline. Depending on the extent of bed bug infestation and your budget, you may need to enlist professional assistance for thorough eradication.
The article includes information from: What Travelers Need to Know by Forrest Brown, CNN
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