You’re a home healthcare professional, a cable guy, babysitter, or any of the countless other jobs that take you into the homes of others. You haven’t had bed bugs yet? Congratulations! You’ve dodged a bullet… so far.
Bed bugs are very real, very difficult and expensive to treat, and the psychological impact of having them can last a lifetime. Here are some helpful tips to greatly decrease your chances of bringing home the creepy crawlies.
Do not sit on the furniture
This cannot be stressed enough. They’re called bed bugs, but that’s only because bed/chair/couch/recliner/blanket/pillow/ottoman/baseboard/carpet/etc bug would be just too long of a name. They can be anywhere, especially in fabric and wood and are masters at hiding. You can be in the middle of an infestation and not see any unless you know how to look for them. If you’ll be in the home for extended periods, such as sitting with a patient, bring your own folding (preferably metal) chair. If you’re worried about hurting their feelings, tell them it’s the only chair that doesn’t hurt your back.
Take off your clothes
If you’ve been working where you know or think bed bugs are present, take off your clothes before you enter your own home. This hopefully can be done in a garage, but if you have to step in the house, remove your clothes immediately and place them in the dryer. Keep spare clothes and bags in your car to change in your car. Best case:
- Remove clothing before entering the house
- Place clothing in a bag and seal the bag
- The clothing should go directly in the dryer
A full cycle in the dryer will kill any bed bugs you may have carried home.
Don’t place bags on furniture
Bed bugs will crawl on or in your work bag, purse, briefcase just as they will you and your clothes. Bags should be placed on the floor, away from walls, and preferably on a hard floor instead of carpet. You should use bags that are able to go into a dryer without being damaged, so that you can do so if they’ve been exposed to bed bugs.
These precautions will go a long way to keep you bed bug free. Getting bitten on the job is one thing; slightly annoying rash at worst, but what you’re really trying to avoid is bringing them into your home. Use a healthy dose of common sense when working in areas where there are bed bugs. If you have a choice, don’t work there until the area has been treated and elimination of bed bugs has been confirmed. Heed these precautions and you should stay bed bug free.