With Spring Break being a popular time of year for people to travel, Health Canada is reminding vacationers to make sure they don’t bring back any unwanted souvenirs.
Health Canada has issued a warning to Canadians about bedbugs, and is offering suggestions of how to avoid returning from vacation with bedbugs attached to luggage, clothing and other personal items.
Bedbugs bite people when they sleep and feed on their blood. While reactions to a bedbug bite is usually harmless, they can cause skin reactions and in rare cases, allergic reactions.
Bedbugs are small, brown and have a flat, oval shaped body that look similar to an apple seed. Their size allows them to hide in extremely small places. Health Canada said guests should check throughout their hotel room upon arrival, searching for bedbugs in electrical outlets, inside box springs, in mattress pads, and in night tables.
“Slowly lift up each corner of the mattress and examine any creases or ridges on the mattress and box spring. Also look behind the headboard and wall behind the bed, pillows, bed frame, and legs.”
Health Canada said travellers should never place their luggage on the bed, as it can cause bedbugs to hitchhike onto personal belongings.
If signs of bedbugs are found within a hotel room, Health Canada advises the public to notify the front desk right away, ask for another room or stay somewhere else.
If bedbugs are contracted and brought home, washing items at a high heat should kill the bugs. Bedbugs die at 50 degrees Celsius, so dry cleaning or machine washing affected items at the highest heat should kill them. Cold will also kill bedbugs, but the items must be kept at freezing temperatures for a prolonged period (four days), at a consistent cold (-19 degrees Celsius).