During your next vacation, you could bring home more than a souvenier. You could infest your home with bed bugs, super lice or other critters. You can avoid bringing unwanted friends into your home.
Bed Bugs have been around for thousands of years. But in the U.S. most were eradicated by poisons, not allowed anymore. In the last few years there has been a huge increase in the number of cases at hotels.
With increased travel they have come back to the United states and are resistant to most pesticides. 500 complaints of bed bugs in New York City in 2005, 10,000 complaints in 2009! Chicago sited as #1 in the nation for bedbugs!
The bug: very small about 3/16 inch or 5 millmeters in length. They live typically 5-20 feet from the bed hiding around the mattress or head board. They crawl up while a person is asleep to bite to eat blood for 20 minutes then crawl back to the hiding place.
The rash: typically on exposed parts of the upper body while sleeping. Very itchy, red.
They can live off of a dog or cat in the house. Typically hide around bedroom clutter.
These are not known to transmit disease, but have been tested for bacteria after biting humans and have been positive.
PREVENTION: Check your hotel upon arrival (with a flashlight). Look for rust colored stains on the mattress cover (bed bug feces). Small bed bugs move like ants. Do not put suitcases on floor, rather bath tub or luggage rack. When you bring your suitcase home, empty clothes into the washer, and dry with heat. Don't put your suitcase in your bedroom.
Treatment: very difficult - heat from a dryer on bed sheets, vacuuming them up, probably must call a professional. Do not stay in less than clean hotels - some 4 and 5 star hotels have been infected. We prescribe medication for itching.
There is an outbreak in 25 states. The lice are resistant to common over the counter medications. Certain states have "Lice Clinics" popping up to comb the hair free of lice and treat with heat to kill the eggs.
Lice typically infects 10 percent of children in schools (also unclean hotels or places with large numbers of people - prisons, nursing homes, etc). Don't sent your child to school if they have lice. Try the over the counter preparation. Shaving the head can be effective if needed. Most painstakingly wet the hair and comb out the eggs and lice.
Lice bite the scalp and cause itching and redness.
PREVENTION: Clean Bedding! don't share hats, ear pieces for music, pillows, coats, etc.
This is something we see frequently. This is caused by a mite the burrows under the skin and lays eggs. Causes severe intense itching. Again, passed from person to person in bedsheets that are not clean.
The rash is typically web spaces of the hand, elbows or buttocks. There was a recent outbreak in the northeast at a nursing home.
Scabies is one of the top three rashes in children, or again crowded conditions - day care, hospitals, hotels, nursing home.
Treatment is to coat the patient in a cream and sleep with it overnight to kill the mites on the skin. Sometimes we retreat in a week.
For information on getting rid of infestations, contact EHS Pest.