How to Avoid Bed Bug Bites | the Independent

They're unglamorous, but for regular travelers they're unfortunately sometimes part of the package - bed bugs have been in the media a lot recently, so what can travelers do to avoid them?

Capable of giving nasty bites akin to those of a mosquito (but often in a tell-tale line rather than randomly on the body like a mosquito), bed bugs have been the cause of several law suits from disgruntled guests this year, particularly against hotels in New York.

The best way to avoid a nasty confrontation is to avoid hotels reported to be infested at all, by using a website such as Bed Bug Registry , which lists reported cases, or all-round guide bedbugger.com On arrival, travelers should check out their rooms for signs of the nocturnal animals, says this guide from Bug Girl's Blog, keeping an eye out for the brown spots left by bed bugs' waste and places that they might hide during the stay, such as the headboard, wall, and mattress seams.

It's also worth checking couches, drawers and furniture near the bed, as bed bugs don't like to live far from their food source - sleeping humans.

To ensure you haven't picked up bed bugs from a contaminated place, keep suspect items in a plastic bag and wash them on the hottest temperature possible for the fabric, says the University of Minnesota's Dr Stephen A Kells in this paper For items that can't be washed, have them professionally dry-cleaned or hand wash them, scrubbing the seams and folds and ensuring the temperature is above 45ºC.

Finally, if you get bitten, don't scratch it, but wash with warm soapy water and apply an anti-itch cream, says Dr Dini M. Miller on MSNBC

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5 Tips for Avoiding Bed Bugs with Second Hand Furniture
1Inspect the Items You Buy Bed bugs are hard to identify, but they aren't invisible. They leave signs you can sometimes detect if you're careful and observant. If you find an item from a reputable seller you think is worth serious consideration, grab a magnifying glass and flashlight and look for these telltale signs of bed bug activity:These are just a few places bed bugs hide. There are many, many more. Bed bugs can shelter inside hollow towel racks and curtain rods as well as in small appliances. They can burrow into plush toys. They can conceal themselves in clothing, bedding, curtains, rugs, shoes, handbags and just about anything else you can imagine.After you invest in a second hand piece of furniture, consider heat treating it in a dark plastic bag to be sure it doesn't harbor bed bugs or their eggs. (Remember, your target is at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit for three hours or more.) If that's not feasible given the size of the object, place it in quarantine in an empty bathtub. Bed bugs can't escape up the slippery sides of tubs, so they'll be contained and easier to detect. Barring all other options, keep new acquisitions away from sleeping areas and inspect them periodically for bedbug activity like spots, exoskeletons and eggs.
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