Don't bring any unintended souvenirs home from your travels this summer! Did you know that bedbugs can crawl into your suitcase or clothing when you stay at a motel, hotel, hostel, or even a cruise ship? Prevent bedbugs from coming home with you by following these tips from the American Academy of Dermatology:
1.) Place your luggage on the luggage rack, not the floor or bed. If bedbugs are in the room then can easily crawl into luggage when it is placed on the floor or bed.
2.) Pull back the sheets and check the mattress for signs of bedbugs. Look for specks of blood, shed outer skeletons of the brown bed bugs, or tiny blackish spots.
3.) Check the box spring, headboard, couch, and any other upholstered furniture for signs of bedbugs.
4.) If you see any signs of bedbugs, immediately grab your belongings and ask for another room (not one next door or immediately above or below as these rooms may also be infested with bedbugs). If you think you may have picked up bedbugs during your travels, you should immediately:
1.) Wash all the clothing that you brought home in a washing machine. Even clothes that were not worn must be washed. Use the hot setting on the washing machine.
2.) After washing, dry all the clothes in a dryer, using the hot setting.
3.) If you cannot wash some clothing in a washing machine, place it in the dryer and run the dryer on the hot setting.
4.)Use a hand steamer (or vacuum) to clean your luggage. According to the National Pest Management Association, a garment steamer will kill bedbugs and their eggs.
Dr. O'Reilly holds a PhD in cancer cell biology and an MD, both from Cornell University. She completed her internship in internal medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and her dermatology residency at New York University. Although she has a special interest and expertise in cutaneous oncology, she also enjoys treating general dermatology patients, both children and adults.