How to avoid bed bugs while traveling

July 7, 2011 at 2:59 PM
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ROCKVILLE, Md., July 7 (UPI) -- Although bedbugs pose no real threat to human health, many U.S. tourists and vacationers prefer never meeting any, cleaning experts say.

Restoration Industry Association, a non-profit trade association that promotes best practices in the cleaning and restoration industry, says although bedbugs are about the size of an apple seed and visible to the naked eye, their flat, rusty-red oval bodies can travel through walls via cracks and crevices.

They often hide behind headboards, in the seams and tufts of mattresses, inside box springs, along baseboards, in and around nightstands and inside pictures, moldings and loose wallpaper, as well as furniture, Restoration officials say.

They can attach themselves to anything and can easily make their way into a vacationer's home. To prevent taking bedbugs home, Restoration officials advise:

-- Before traveling, pack clothes in large Ziploc bags.

-- At a hotel, check the piping along the mattress and frame around the bed, look for empty body shells under the bed and between the mattress and box spring.

-- Using a flashlight, check the closet for evidence of bedbugs before using.

-- Leave clothes in a suitcase on a luggage rack.

-- Place shoes out in the open instead of under the bed.

-- At home, immediately unpack in a laundry room or garage, wash clothes and inspect the suitcases.

-- If bedbugs are discovered once home: washable items should be laundered using the hottest temperature for washing and drying. Suitcases, purses and unwashable items can be placed in a plastic bag and left in the sun for a day.

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