Avoid Bringing Bedbugs Home from Vacation, the Office or the Gym

Bedbugs are nasty little blood suckers that may also carry disease. Researchers in Canada discovered recently that bedbugs may carry the bacteria for the antibiotic-resistant and deadly MRSA infection. These findings are still preliminary, and Consumer Reports says there’s no reason to panic. Still, it’s wise to take precautions so the bed bugs don’t bite you.

Travel tips

Before you finalize your reservation, check the Bedbug Registry website to be sure your hotel is not on the list.

Pack as much as you can inside sealable plastic bags, and store your clothes ‘” even dirty clothes ‘” inside the bags while you travel.

Avoid placing your luggage on the hotel’s luggage rack, especially if it’s one of those carpeted designs next to the cabinet, because of all the bags that preceded yours that may have been infected.

Before unpacking, examine folds in the bed linens, draperies and easy chair, looking for dark brown or reddish spots, which could be dried blood. If the spots dissolve when you touch them with a wet tissue or napkin, it’s blood.

Also before unpacking, use a piece of paper or sticky tape to check the area behind the headboard for black spots, which could be bedbug fecal matter or sheddings from molting.

If you see any evidence of bedbug infestation, take yourself and your unpacked suitcase back to the registration desk and insist on a new room. You might actually get an upgrade.

When you get home, put everything in the dryer for at least 15 minutes, recommends travel experts Rand McNally. Bedbugs can’t survive the heat.

Just in case your suitcase was next to an infected one in the airplane’s cargo hold or on the airport baggage carousel, it’s also a good idea to vacuum the suitcase or duffel. That includes the folds around the zippers, where bedbugs have been known to hide.

Another bit of insurance against bedbugs when you travel is an all-natural bedbug spray. RestEasy is from a company that sells gallon sizes and larger to hotels, and now packages a convenient two-ounce spray for us consumers. You can find other anti-bedbug products on travel-related online retailers Magellan’s and TravelSmith.

A few precautions can prevent you from bringing home bedbugs from the gym or the office, too.

At the gym, choose a locker at the top, since bedbugs can’t climb metal, and the further from the floor you put your things, the safer you are. Be careful about piling team uniforms, towels or other gym clothing together with that of other team or gym members.

At the office, reducing clutter gives bedbugs fewer places to hide. Which also is good advice for home.

These simple precautions can help you prevent bringing bedbugs home from your hotel, gym or office.