The Prevalence of Bedbugs on the Rise — Bedbugs are easy to transport in luggage and very hard to get rid of and for this reason they have become an especial nuisance for hotels and other public spaces so learn how to avoid getting bitten!
How can a bedbug affect you? The main health issue is your risk of allergic reactions and potential asthma attacks even after they are gone. When bedbugs discard their waste on your bed they leave behind a chemical called histamine, which can cause allergy symptoms for some people.
A bedbug’s poo is loaded with histamine, a chemical found naturally in your body during allergic reactions and can cause runny nose, itchy eyes, sneezing and even trouble breathing. Histamine is found naturally in all of us during an allergic reaction and manifest as nasty rashes that appear on your skin and for those with underlying lung conditions such as asthma the chemical causes an inflammatory response in your airways.
According to WebMD, bedbugs are small, oval, brownish insects that live on the blood of animals or humans. Adult bedbugs have flat bodies about the size of an apple seed. After feeding, however, their bodies swell and are a reddish color.
Bedbugs do not fly, but they can move quickly over floors, walls, and ceilings. Female bedbugs may lay hundreds of eggs, each of which is about the size of a speck of dust, over a lifetime. Bedbugs may enter your home undetected through luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Their flattened bodies make it possible for them to fit into tiny spaces, about the width of a credit card.
Consumer Reports online provides travelers five tips to avoid them and help keep the pests from hitching a ride home with you.
- When you first enter a new hotel room, put your luggage in the bathroom — an unlikely place for bed bugs to hide — while you inspect the bedding and furniture.
- Pull back the bed sheets and check the mattress and box-spring seams for bugs, especially at the head of the bed. Adults, nymphs, and eggs are visible to the naked eye. Also keep your eyes peeled for exoskeletons (casings that the bugs leave behind when they molt) and dark, rust-colored spots.
- Lift the mattress and check underneath, too, using a flashlight if possible. If you see any telltale signs, tell the hotel and ask for a new room in another part of the building.
- Stow your suitcases on a luggage rack or a hard surface after checking it to make sure it’s bed bug-free. Even better, pack large plastic trash bags and keep your luggage in them during your stay.
- When you get home, kill any bed-bug hitchhikers by tumbling your travel clothes in a hot dryer for 30 minutes. (Simply washing the clothes usually won’t kill bed bugs.) And if possible, store your emptied luggage in the garage, the basement, or a hot attic. (Temperatures above 120° F kill bed bugs.)