So many things can turn your trip to a nice place into an annoying experience. Sharing your room with bed bugs is quite like the same. Not only is it annoying, it puts you at an increased risk of developing a secondary skin infection. The thing is that when you first get in your hotel room, you do not notice anything wrong and have no clue about the presence of bed bugs. Most people discover the issue the next morning when they have bites all over their bodies. What should you do then?
First thing first, understand that bed bug prevalence is definitely on the rise, and motels and hotels are among their favorite hangouts. Not doing anything to avoid contact with these pesky critters can cause severe itching and welt-like bites. Even if you do not get bitten, you may end up bringing them home with you. If that happens, you will have to spend a lot of money to get them out of your home. To avoid anxiety, financial stress, and social isolation, it is of utmost importance to precautionary measures and avoid staying in rooms infested with bed bugs.
Practice Some Care When Staying in a Hotel
Many people do not practice care when they stay in a hotel and find them in trouble later. The best thing is to inspect your hotel room carefully before you unpack your stuff and settle in. The only thing you really need to help confirm whether you have bed bugs in your hotel room or not is a small flashlight.
Always bring it with you when you are going to book a hotel room. The moment you enter the room, get your flashlight out of your bag. Be sure to keep your suitcase away from the bed – it is even better to leave it in the bathroom for a while because bed bugs are less likely to be in these areas. Under no circumstances should you be putting your luggage or any of your personal items on the bed, unless you have inspected the room and are sure there is no infestation of bed bugs in your hotel room. Here is how to confirm if you have bed bugs in your hotel room.
- Start with a Basic Inspection: The first place to inspect is under the mattress. These bugs are just in love with this area. Be very careful and remove the sheet as gently as possible – you should also remove the mattress pad as well. Now, use your flashlight and inspect all four corners of the mattress and box spring. Next up, check the luggage rack or valet with focus on crack and crevices. You are likely to find bed bugs on the luggage rack if they have come from someone else’s luggage.
- Continue with an In-Depth Inspection: You should be carefully inspecting the seams, edging, and other small areas of the mattress. Check the headboard as well – make use of your flashlight in case the headboard is attached to the wall. Now, move on to the furniture around your bed – do not ignore the pictures on the wall because bed bugs can hide behind these pictures and furniture. Similarly, check the cracks and crevices of the nightstand – do not overlook all those joints and screw holes. When checking furniture, check the seams of upholstered chairs with special care.
It is also a good idea to pack a large plastic bag when you intend to stay in a hotel – you can put all your dirty clothes into the bag to ensure bed bugs cannot smell any chemical you leave on your clothing and stay away from them. If you find bed bugs in any of these areas and believe there is an infestation, be sure to inform the front desk immediately to move into a new room.
The thing is that if you have indeed been exposed to bed bugs, you are going to face some issues. For starters, you may have to discard some of your personal stuff to avoid taking bed bugs home. Other stuff that you cannot throw away has to be cleaned properly. All this can be annoying, but the last thing you want is your home infested with bed bugs.
How to Proceed When You Have Bed Bugs in Your Hotel Room
As mentioned already, you need to inform the management about your concern and ask them to change the room. However, you need to confirm there really are bed bugs around. The mattresses may be infected with bed bugs – you may see brownish spots on the mattresses when you remove them. When inspecting, look for the pests with small oval-shaped bodies. They usually do not have wings, but adults may have vestiges of wings. They will be of brown color, but they may look rather red if they have fed on your blood. They can be up to 5mm in size, so you can find and identify them with little effort.
Now, suppose you have stayed in a hotel room and never get the chance to inspect it first. If you wake up in the morning with bite marks on your body, it could be because you have selected a wrong room. There will be blood spots on your sheets and you may also notice bed bug feces around. You are more likely to have bite marks on your exposed body parts, such as the hands, face, neck, legs, shoulders, and arms. When you are sure you have been bitten by bed bugs, it is time to call your attorney to seek some legal advice and know the law about beg bugs in your state.
Keep in mind that you will have to spend money to clean your stuff and clear the infestation, but you can ask the management to pay the bills. They may not acknowledge your request at first, so it is better to collect evidence immediately. As mentioned already, you have to check every corner to find bed bugs. Take out your camera and take some clear pictures of those bed bugs. If you fail to find them, you should at least take pictures of the brown spots on your sheets because they could be bloodstains left behind by bed bugs. Also, look for fecal spots – they are more likely to be on the mattress and furniture.
Once you have collected some evidence, you should call the manager and report the bed bug findings. Know that despite your good efforts you may still end up taking bed bugs home and clearing that infestation may cost a lot. Therefore, you should insist on getting a report – the hotel management will ask a representative to create a report and give you a copy of it. You can use this report to file a case if you face any problems related to bed bugs. Moreover, you should ask them to provide you with a different room or you can ask for a refund and move to another hotel. Before you switch hotels, be sure to ask the management to get your belongings treated by a professional to ensure you do not spread it to other places.
It is also important to insist on getting paid for medical bills incurred on getting your bites or injuries treated. You can receive treatment at a walk in clinic, emergency room, or with your primary care physician. Clearly explain all your symptoms and tell your doctor that you have been exposed to bed bugs.
Most hotels would not mind reimbursing you for all your losses, but there can be problems. When they refuse to take full responsibility of everything you had to face, you will require legal help. This is where the photos you have taken earlier will help make things easier. Your attorney will help you in this regard but even they would require photos to document your injuries and loss. Be sure to take photos of all your belongings that you may have discarded because of the infestation. It is even better to make a video of everything, including your injuries, bed bugs, and your discarded clothing and belongings.
Once everything is ready, you may consider filing a report to your local Department of Health and inform them about how unprofessional the hotel management was. While there may be different rules associated with how much reimbursement you get for your injuries, you are usually entitled to reimbursement for lost wages, medical bills, and refund for hotel stay. Depending on the law, other attorneys may also help you get some compensation for pain and suffering, extermination treatment to your belongings, property damage, and any expenses caused by the bed bug infestation.
It is important that you do not suffer in silence and let the authority know how you have been treated by the hotel management. Taking a legal action is a good idea, especially considering the fact that many lawyers will not charge you anything unless they win your case.
Do Not Take Bed Bugs Home
It is important to point out that you need to proceed carefully once you have confirmed the presence of bed bugs in your hotel room. If you do not pay attention to the finer details, you might end up fighting with the hotel management for reimbursement of your lost stuff. Once you notice bed bugs, be sure to report it to the hotel. Then, you need to take several other steps to protect yourself. For instance:
- Do not panic. It is annoying and carries some risk, but you are not always going to take those pests home. Still, it makes sense to inspect your luggage first. Anything you have placed near your bed is more likely to have bed bugs. Check it carefully. Any luggage you have placed in the closet is less likely to be infested with bed bugs. Give that stuff a closer look as well to be on the safer side.
- Handle your luggage carefully after your arrive home. The best thing is to keep it on an outdoor porch or in the garage. Even if you do not see any bed bugs on your luggage, you still need to be careful. Therefore, you have to wash whatever you can. Place all your washables in a garbage bag and take them to the washing machine. You now have to wash your stuff at a high temperature for at least half an hour. You can also place your clothes in the dryer on the HOT setting for half an hour to get rid of bed bugs as well as their eggs. Remember to throw out the bag after you have unloaded your clothes into the washer or dryer. Be sure to send all your sweaters, suits, or anything that you cannot wash in hot water to the dry cleaners.
- Handle shoes, toiletry, and everything other than washables with equal care. The best thing is to keep these items in isolated areas until you have inspected and treated them with cold, heat, or insecticide. You can kill bed bugs with heat – simply place those items in a bag and leave it in a hot, sunny area. Alternatively, you can heat the stuff by keeping it in 120degrees for an hour or so. You can also disinfect your belongings by using your chest freezer that has enough space to store your luggage for a day or two. Finally, you can contact a pest management professional and have your non-washable items treated properly.
This can be a demanding task for sure, but you have to go through all the hassle to ensure you do not bring bed bugs home and end up running into a bigger problem. Just be sure to precautionary measures and spend some time inspecting the hotel room to make sure the room is clean and free of any annoying pests. A little effort there can save you from washing all your stuff and dealing with all the legalities involved in getting reimbursed for all your damages.