Simple steps to help avoid hotel bedbugs

Keeping luggage off floor is key

SAN ANTONIO – The sight of bedbugs is enough to put a damper on your vacation, and the bites can cause a variety of symptoms, from secondary skin infections, such as impetigo and ecthyma, to allergic reactions and, in rare cases, anaphylaxis, which can impair breathing and require a trip to the emergency room.

With spring break coming up, Consumer Reports' experts shared some tips on how to keep the bedbugs away during your next hotel stay. Taking some simple steps when you check in can help you avoid hassles and expenses when you check out.

It might sound extreme, but to be safe, Consumer Reports said to put your luggage in the bathroom as soon as you enter the hotel room.

"Bedbugs prefer anything dark and creviced that they can hide in, like bedding, seams of fabric, furniture, even inside walls, so the bathroom is usually a safe zone while you search the room for signs of critters," said Dan DiClerico, with Consumer Reports.

Check the sheets, mattress and box spring for any signs of bedbugs. Look for dark, rust-colored spots and exoskeletons, which are the casings the bugs leave behind. Don’t forget to look at the head of the bed and around and behind the headboard, too.

Be sure to lift and check under the mattress. If you find any signs of bedbugs, you should alert the manager immediately and ask for a new room in a different part of the hotel. Infestations can spread from wall to wall.

Even if your room is clear, Consumer Reports said it’s a good idea to keep your luggage and clothes off the floor and on a hard surface or luggage rack, clear of any potential bedbug zones. And when you get home, throw all of your clothes into a hot dryer for 30 minutes.

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