It's a common misconception that bed bugs are only a problem in hotels or motels. While bed bugs are commonly encountered in these buildings, you can find them in other places, too, including hospitals. A survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association found that a shocking 36% of pest control professionals have treated a bedbug infestation in a hospital, so if you're visiting a sick friend or family member, you need to take precautions. Here are three ways to avoid getting bed bugs in the hospital.
Avoid sitting on upholstered chairs
Upholstered chairs are more comfortable than hard, plastic chairs, especially when you're facing a long wait in the hospital, but it's not just people who prefer upholstered chairs: bed bugs like them too. This is because upholstered chairs have lots of seams where bed bugs can hide.
Those hard, uncomfortable plastic chairs don't provide as many hiding places for bed bugs. Also, it's easier to inspect them for signs of bedbug activity because there are no seams and there is no cushion to hide inside. If the hospital you're visiting only has upholstered chairs for visitors, you need to stand, just to be safe.
Be careful where you put your bag
Bed bugs can hitch a ride in purses, duffel bags, briefcases, or any other bag that you bring with you to the hospital. A single female bedbug can lay hundreds of eggs in her lifetime, so only one bedbug needs to crawl inside your bag to lead to an infestation in your home. To prevent this, you need to be very careful about where you put your bag when you're in the hospital.
Just as you shouldn't let your body come into contact with upholstered chairs, you shouldn't set your purse there either. You should only sit your bag on hard, smooth surfaces that you have carefully inspected first. If possible, hold onto your bag the entire time you're in the hospital instead of sitting it down.
Wash your clothes when you get home
Even if you take precautions at the hospital, there's still a chance that a bed bug will hitch a ride on your clothes. To avoid an infestation in your home, you need to wash your clothes as soon as you get home from the hospital. Put the clothes that you wore to the hospital directly into the washing machine and wash them in a hot water cycle. Afterwards, dry your clothes using the hot setting of your tumble dryer. Bed bugs die at temperatures of more than 113°F, so the heat inside your dryer is enough to kill both bed bugs in their eggs. Experts recommend allowing your clothes to remain in the dryer on high heat for at least 30 minutes to ensure that any bed bugs that were present are killed.
If you need to go to the hospital to visit a friend or a family member, make sure to take precautions to avoid bringing bed bugs home with you.
To learn more, contact a pest control company like Pestco Inc.