When traveling, seniors and caregivers usually think about the more obvious dangers – plane malfunctions or tropical hurricanes. However, some of the most annoying travel dangers can actually be the ones that are invisible. One of the most frightening invisible dangers seniors can face when traveling is, without a doubt, bedbugs. Seniors and their caregivers need to be prepared during summer travels so that, with some forethought and planning, they can avoid the potential harm caused by bringing bedbugs home.
The following tips will help seniors to keep bugs out of their beds:
- Seniors or caregivers should talk to hotel management or inquire on their website before checking in as to what their policies and procedures are for handling bedbugs. It is necessary for hotels to have some kind of prevention plan in place, otherwise seniors may be sleeping in beds infested with these bedbugs.
- Seniors and their caregivers must be observant of the surroundings during summer travel. Take a good look at the areas for sleeping, sitting and storing clothing. Caregivers should pay close attention to sleeping quarters or bathroom cabinets since bedbugs are attracted to heat and carbon dioxide produced by the body.
Caregivers should use a flashlight to look for bedbugs or tiny spots of blood in the following areas when inspecting the rooms for bedbugs:
- In corners, cracks or crevices
- Around and behind headboards
- Along the seams of the mattress
- Under the mattress pad
- Under the fitted sheet and between flat sheets
- Along the edges and underneath the box springs
- Around the joints and edges of bedside tables
- Inside the drawers and along the edges
- Around the frames of pictures hanging on the wall above the bed
Caregivers should follow these tips to ensure seniors can sleep safe and sound during their travels, preventing seniors from bringing unwanted bedbugs home:
- Don’t set luggage on the bed or in upholstered chairs
- Place all luggage in the bathtub until caregiver has completed a room inspection
- Caregivers should put all items that could be infested inside a sealed plastic bag until they are heat treated or professionally treated
- Put all clothes that may be contaminated into the clothes dryer at 120 degrees for 40 minutes
- For items that caregivers can’t heat in the dryer, place them in the freezer for two weeks