How to deal with Bed Bugs
Bed Bugs are the nightmare of every traveler. Being a citizen of the world has a thousand of great benefits. You learn new cultures, meet new people, enjoy the most beautiful sunsets in the most amazing places and eat some really delicious food. But has a dozen of bad things like getting a food poisoning, having to deal with all kinds of cultures and some full of disrespect and arrogance or living a nightmare after being bitten by Bed Bugs. Yes, they exist and they can transform your travel into a nightmare.
They are small, very small – but even though, the adults are visible to the eyes. Sometimes you feel they crawling over you, but when you look nothing is there. You have a nice night of sleep and on the next day you look like a mine field of some weird bites. You look around in that super, mega clean room and don’t understand what just happened with you. Would that have been a mosquito? Spider? Ants? Well my friend, welcome to the statistics of those who were victims of those little but evil bugs: the Bed Bugs!
Where do they come from?
Actually they were almost exterminated in the 50’s, but thanks to us, the travelers, they managed to survive. Their presence has nothing to do with hygiene, so not even 5 stars hotels are completely free of them. They simply take a ride inside the travelers luggage. Also, they can’t be exterminated with poison. The abusive use of poison over them, made them very strong against it.
But is not only bad news, here is the only good thing about them: they don’t carry any disease. So, if you were eaten alive by one, the only bad thing that can happen to you, besides the nightmare of extremely etching, is that you might have some kind of bad reaction and end up with some fever or so.
How to know it is Bed Bugs?
The bites from the bed bugs are very hard to be mistaken, because they leave a trail on your body. It takes only one minute for the bed bug to walk 3 meters feeding itself. He bites, walks a bit, bite again, walks another bit and bite again. So it will be several of marks and it will look like a trail or will be a lot of them in a small area. So, it is really easy to identify when it is a bed bug bite.
How they go all around?
A nice information is that the Bed Bugs goes all around only inside the bags of the travelers. The fact is that they don’t like high temperatures, so they don’t stay connected to the body of their victims. They can go to your bag if you, for example, lay your bag in an infected bed. Or if the room is infected and you put your bag on the floor. Leaving your clothes all around can also help you to bring the bug to your bag when you pack it all together again. So, the best thing you can do while traveling is always take a good care of your luggage and put them over tables or chairs. Never leave your clothes all around and all the clothes that you take out of you body should go to a plastic bag well closed before going to your bag.
How to detect them?
Like said before, the bed bugs has nothing to do with hygiene, so you can find them in a 5 stars hotel or in a cheap hostel. Most of the times you will just realise that the bedroom is infected with bed bugs after you have been bitten. So if you want to prevent it to happen, you can develop a small ritual while arriving to a hotel or hostel: lay your bags over the table or some chair. Before laying in bed take your phone lamp and make a search all over the bed, specially in the sewing areas, take a closer look to corners or difficult places to reach. Check the mattress also focusing on the sewing corners. Use the light all around the floor as well. You will be looking for very small black dots. If the bed is infected, you are going to find a lot of them, but they are not so easy to be seeing, that’s why you need a strong flash light.
Too late, I was bitten. What shall I do?
Well my friend. We’ve been there. We know what you are going through and we wish you a lot of power. From the day of the attack until the complete healing might take up to 5 weeks. The sad thing is that there are people who even have a late reaction! Sometimes takes up to 14 days to your body start reacting to the bites, so you don’t even know where you got them.
After the harsh is spread, it is going to be hard and very itchy. You got to be patient to not scratch it all open, because if the wounds get infected, it will be much harder to heal. During the net weeks you will go through some peaceful days and some really hard ones. Sometimes the bites will start to go away, won’t be itching anymore and you will think that they are finally gone, but out of nowhere they come back bigger and worse. You got to keep the control.
You can try some anti-itching solutions like rubbing a bit of alcohol, or making solutions of 1 dose of vinegar to 3 of water and moistening the bitten areas with that or even try some anti-itching creams. To be honest we tried many things and nothing relieved the itching for sure. Sometimes we had some better moments, but was not really gone. What helped a bit was to buy some strong anti allergic pills with some corticoids like Betamethasone. Two pills per day and it went away a bit quicker.
If you have a hard reaction, like Simon did, the bites can come back later (4 weeks after the bites) swallowed, red, hot and getting bigger. Looks a bit scary, but it is a normal reaction and you just need to be patient and not itch it open. In this phase the anti allergic pills are really helpful!
How to not infect your house
Well, if you were exposed in a place infected with Bed Bugs, all you don’t want is to bring them home with you. Remember: they don’t die with poison and the treatment to kill them must be with heating. If you live in a cold country and the presence of the sun is not big, you will have to hire a company that will come with some hot air blower to exterminate them. So, to not let this happened with you, this you what you must do as soon as you get home:
Don’t bring your bags inside. If you have a balcony, leave it there or if you have a garden also can be a nice place to leave your luggage. Than you open and take all the clothes inside and go straight to the washing machine. The clothes must be washed in a temperature over 40ºC, so make sure that your washer has this feature or bring them to a specialized company to wash it. Don’t leave any single sock out of this washing. Even if your clothes are still clean, wash all of them.
Now you take a vacuum cleaner and vacuum your luggage. Every corner of it. Make a very good work there. Than you must pack your luggage in black bags and leave it in the sun for two days. The other items that are not clothes, clean them before bringing back home.
If you do this, the chances that you are bringing the Bed Bugs home are very little. But if you think that you might have infected your house, vacuum everything very well and bring pillows, mattress, blankets, etc, to the sun. If there’s no sun, then unfortunately you will need specialized help. Be ready to spend some money there, this service is not cheap.
Prevention is your best friend
Well, if you want to avoid the Bed Bugs at all, simply check well the hotel room before relaxing over it. If you were already a victim, make sure to clean your luggage well before bringing them inside your home. Just remember that preventing it is much less headache (and an itching body) for you. Don’t be afraid of traveling, just learn to do it even better to avoid the dozen bad things and just enjoy the thousands of good ones! 😉