My friends all think I am crazy, because I am taking 5 kids, a toy poodle and a box turtle on a cross country adventure. Yes I know it sounds very crazy and somehow my husband managed to get scheduled to work. My biggest fear, you ask? Not the long hours of driving, not the unfamiliar towns and complete strangers, not even the risk of multiple children being car sick and cranky. My biggest fear is what things we will pick up along the way, specifically our hotel room!
I am super paranoid about bed bugs deciding to join me for our cross country adventure (Operation Pit Stop)! Cimex Lectularius, aka bed bugs, are about the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny. They are reddish-brown and don’t have wings. The part that always makes my skin crawl…They can live for several months without sucking your blood. OK, now you can start scratching! That still doesn’t mean I want additional travel buddies on Operation Pit Stop. Before you charge into your room, leave the bags and children outside the room for a quick inspection. Bed bugs are hide and seek champions. So they can fit into the smallest of areas. They love to travel in the seams and folds of furniture, clothing and luggage. Did you know many bedspreads are not washed after every guest? It’s OK, scratch again! Check these areas prior to dragging in your luggage. Don’t forget to check again prior to packing up and leaving. Now other than local skin irritation, they are really not a serious medical threat, gross, but not a threat. A little bit of antiseptic cream or an antihistamine should do the trick. I’m telling you this now because we are really the number one reason for the spread of bed bugs, so check your bags.
The National Pest Management Association site is perfect for just in case you’re rained in your hotel room http://www.pestworld.org/crittercrafts/. I know that hotels are required to use top of the line cleaning products, but it won’t hurt to carry some cleaning wipes. I prefer the wipes with bleach. These are perfect for quick clean ups. It won’t hurt to do a quick wipe of the tub too. Be leery of reusable water glasses and don’t eat the ice from the machine. Most ice machines don’t get cleaned as often as they should. Now let’s talk about your soul or should I say soles. We all know that hotel rooms are used for whatever and by whomever. The amazing housekeeping staff can wipe down the furniture and change the sheets, but how often are the floors shampooed? All I’m saying flip flop or summer slippers would be perfect. Now that we talked a little about the inside of your hotel room, let’s talk about the outside. Try not to rent the ground floor, even if it does walk right out to the beach. Outdoor ground floors with sliding doors are easy access. You might as well put up a neon sign inviting trouble. Read the safety information in your room. If there is an emergency, you know where the closest exits are and hotel instructions. I am sure you know the basics, like park in well lit areas, and don’t use staircase at night. Don’t forget to use your room safe if you need it or if you’re concerned about valuables. Or better yet, don’t bring them. Don’t share your hotel or room number, unless with staff that might be assisting you. We only hang the “Don’t Disturb” sign up; any other sign is an invitation for trouble. Make sure your emergency contact information is correct on the reservation and don’t forget to let them know you arrived and your daily itinerary just in case. I know it seem like a ton more work, but I don’t know about you, but I would rather do this than go through the long and frustrating processes to get rid of unwanted bed bugs or risk putting my family in danger.
Always Ready (usually),
Nisi is the owner of All Heart CPR Training as well as being a nurse with specialty in infection prevention and life saving techniques. She is also a mother of 5.