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HealthExtra: Don’t let the bedbugs bite!

Word is that the bedbug invasion is on. The one-quarter-inch bloodsucking night stalkers hide everywhere: in box springs, mattresses and bed-linen seams; behind headboards and nightstands; in floors; and behind wood trim, picture frames, wallpaper and electrical outlet switch plates. They can be found in hotels, apartment buildings, dormitories—everywhere humans live. Bedbugs aren’t known to transmit infection, but they bite and cause an itch like mosquitoes and fleas do. To limit your risk of exposure to bedbugs, follow these tips from Harvard University experts:

  • Before checking into a hotel, check into their mattresses. Carefully remove the sheets and examine mattress and box-spring seams and tufts and both sides of the headboard. You may see the tiny insects or their characteristic dark brown or reddish fecal spots. While you’re checking, don’t leave your luggage on the floor or near anything that can harbor bedbugs.
  • Don’t bring your favorite pillow on vacation. You may end up bringing home some unwanted souvenirs.
  • Think twice before purchasing used furniture, luggage and curtains.