Worried About Bed Bugs Biting This Holiday Season? Travelers Should Take Precautions Going and Returning from Holiday Trips

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Eighty million people are expected to travel this holiday season and bed bug experts warn travelers to take precautionary steps when checking into a hotel and when they return home. Bed bugs are amazing hitchhikers and can travel on people, in suitcases, in cars and even on airplanes. Petra Minoff of Protect-A-Bed works with hotels across the country to mitigate the risks associated with bed bug infestations and can offer basic tips for travelers to take when going and returning from their trips.

Bed Bug Infested Matress

If you are a frequent traveler, it helps to encase your mattresses and box springs before you leave

With an estimated 80 million people expected to travel this holiday season, it's likely they'll be focused on enjoying the company of good friends and family, and the merriment of the season. But bed bug experts warn the holiday getaways they've been looking forward to could quickly be ruined by some unwanted friends.

Bed bugs are popping up everywhere - in dorms, mansions, subways, and even in movie theaters and airplanes. They are in every corner of the country at every type of hotel and inn, from one-star to five-star. According to Petra J. Minoff, Vice President of Hospitality for Protect-A-Bed®, the nation's premier provider of bed bug-proof mattress and box spring encasements, there are precautionary steps for bed bug protection (http://www.protectabed.com/health-and-hygiene/bed-bug-treatment.aspx) travelers can take when checking in - and returning home - that can help them stay bed bug-free.

(Note to editors: please see full list of tips at the end of the release).

Minoff, who helped develop Protect-A-Bed's mattress and box spring encasements (http://www.protectabed.com/full-encasements/allerzip-mattress-protector-smooth.aspx) for the hospitality industry, sees firsthand the rising problem of bed bugs in hotels and works with general managers to mitigate the risks associated with a potential bed bug infestation. "Our hospitality clients are very concerned about bed bugs so they are choosing to proactively put a program in place to address an infestation," Minoff says.

Checking Into the Hotel
Minoff encourages travelers to spend a few minutes inspecting their rooms upon checking in to their hotel.

"Pack a small travel flashlight and use it to conduct a very basic inspection of the bed by pulling back the bed linens and checking the visible edges of the mattress," she says. "You are looking for evidence of live bugs, dark brownish to black spots or stains that could indicate bed bugs."
Next, spend some time looking at the headboard and the spaces between the carpet and the wall for bed bugs.

"These are additional places where bed bugs can be found," Minoff says. "Visible signs that the room could have a problem include moulted skins, excrement and eggs from the bed bugs."
Another rule of thumb, according to Minoff, is to never place your luggage on the floor or
the bed.

"Always use the luggage stand and keep your luggage closed at all times."

Minoff's company works with hotels to cut down on infestations by offering an essential tool for bed bug protection - a bed bug-proof encasement.

"Encasements aid in the early detection of bed bugs because they make the tell tale signs of bed bugs readily identifiable," Minoff says. "They allow you to know if you have a problem early on so it can easily and quickly be addressed."

Returning Home
Minoff cautions travelers to also take measures when returning from a trip to ensure unwanted guests haven't been brought home.

"Bed bugs are amazing hitchhikers - they can travel on people, in suitcases, in cars, on airplanes," she said. "Even though you'll be exhausted when you return from a trip, it's important to put some additional measures in place to cut down on an infestation at home."

"You never want to bring your suitcase inside your home," Minoff warns. "Unpack it in the garage or an area that is well-lit and away from furniture."

Next, immediately place all of your clothing that can be hot-laundered in the washing machine or in a garbage bag that can be sealed and placed aside.

"The key is to keep any items that could possibly contain bed bugs away from sleeping areas or furniture."

Getting rid of bed bugs is no easy task. That's why many hotels and homeowners are proactively choosing to use mattress and box spring encasements.

"If you are a frequent traveler, it helps to encase your mattresses and box springs before you leave," Minoff says. "If you accidentally bring them home, this will help aid in the early detection and treatment of them."

"Even pest control management companies utilize Protect-A-Bed encasements as a tool to help salvage previously infested mattress and to prevent further mattress infestations," Minoff said. "It's important to understand the gravity of the situation - that bed bugs can pose a serious threat to your home."    

"Whether an area has 1000 residents or 20 million, it's at risk for a bed bug infestation," Minoff said. "It's important to be proactive to limit your risk. We're happy that people are beginning to understand that bed bugs are real and pose a serious threat to their homes and businesses."

For additional information on Protect-A-Bed encasement products, visit http://www.protectabed.com. For an in-depth explanation and additional comprehensive measures a traveler can take for bed bug protection, visit http://www.bedbugcentral.com.

About Protect-A-Bed®
Protect-A-Bed produces mattress protectors that provide consumers with a healthy and comfortable sleep environment. The product was developed in South Africa in 1980 and Protect-A-Bed was first established in the USA in 2000, offering bedding protectors to help create a dry, bed bug free, anti-allergy sleep zone for people of all ages. The product is now sold in 27 countries. Protect-A-Bed is the leader in mattress protection innovation, developing the proprietary Miracle Membrane® and patent pending Bug Lock® Secure Seal for bed bug protection. Protect-A-Bed products are listed as a Class 1 Medical Device with the Food and Drug Administration and have received the Good Housekeeping Seal. For more information, visit http://www.protectabed.com.

Protect-A-Bed's basic tips for travelers to follow upon checking-in to their hotel:

1.Using a travel flashlight, conduct a very basic inspection of the bed by pulling back the bed
linens and checking the visible edges of the mattress. You are looking for evidence of live bugs, dark brownish to black spots or stains that could indicate bed bugs.

2. Inspect the headboard and the spaces between the carpet and the wall where moulted
skins, excrement and eggs of the bed bugs could be found.

3. Do not place your luggage near the places where bed bugs are typically found - on the
bed, near the bed, on the couch or any type of upholstered furniture.

4.Elevate your luggage on a luggage stand.

5.Keep your luggage closed at all times. If possible, use hard shelled luggage.

6.When not in use, keep items like laptops, books, toiletries, jewelry and electronics in sealed
plastic bags.

7.Notify the manager-on-duty immediately if you suspect bed bugs or if you begin to develop
itchy welts on your body.

Protect-A-Bed's basic tips for travelers to follow upon returning home:
1.If you are a frequent traveler, encase mattresses and box springs before you leave
home.

2.Do not take luggage inside your home.

3.Unpack your luggage in an area that is well-lit and away from furniture and sleeping areas, such as a garage.

4.Unpack one suitcase at a time. Immediately place all of your clothing that can be
hot-laundered into the washing machine or into a garbage bag that can be sealed and placed aside.

5.All items being laundered should be laundered in the hottest possible wash cycle and placed in the dryer on the hottest possible setting.

6.Place all dry-clean clothing in a garbage bag, seal it and place it aside. Consider using
GreenClean™ Dissolvable Laundry Bags to transport your clothes from your luggage to the washing machine a simple one-step process.

7.Empty items that you sealed in plastic bags (computer, books, toiletries, etc.) and immediately discard the bags in an outdoor trash can.

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Laura Deaton Morarity

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