Did you know this week has been designated Bed Bug Awareness Week? That’s right, April 24-30, time for everything related to Bed Bugs.
This seems like the perfect opportunity to share a delightful fact about bed bugs I learned last summer. Bed bugs aren’t relegated to beds and hotels. Airplanes can also be home to these creatures. A fact I found out after being bitten by bed bugs on a flight from Houston to Portland.
I never saw a bed bug on the plane nor did I feel a bite, but shortly after landing and before reaching our accommodations I developed hives that continued to spread for days.
The unbearable itching lasted four days but they sapped my energy for weeks. To be fair, I can’t prove bed bugs caused my discomfort, but there are numerous reports of bed bugs on planes, and it makes sense. If a passenger picked up the pests at a hotel, it’s quite possible to carry them onboard in luggage.
I haven’t flown since, but I have four round trip flights scheduled in the coming months. I don’t know how to prevent being bitten on a plane, but I know I will make sure I leave as little skin exposed as possible to avoid another unhappy start to a vacation.
The NPMA recommends the following bed bug prevention tips when traveling:
At hotels, pull back sheets and inspect mattress seams, for telltale bed bug stains. Inspect the entire room before unpacking, including sofas and chairs and behind the headboard. Notify management of anything suspect and change rooms or establishments immediately.
If you need to change rooms, don’t move to a room adjacent or directly above or below the suspected infestation.
Keep suitcases in plastic trash bags or protective covers during your stay to prevent bed bugs from nesting there.
When home, inspect suitcases before bringing them into the house and vacuum them before storing.
Wash all clothes – even those not worn – in hot water to eliminate any bed bugs and their eggs.