What to do with bug bites at Airbnb, Hotel, Hostel or Rental unit.
Have you ever woken up with itchy red bumps that you didn’t notice before going to bed? Did you notice them after spending the night in a new place, like an Airbnb, hotel, hostel or rental unit? All of us know what it’s like to wake up with itchy spots, and it definitely makes us feel like we might have been bitten by bedbugs.
Traveling First Derm user in London, UK
Small red bumps have appeared over last day, over arms, legs, trunk, hands. 4 of us traveling together staying in AirBnB apartment in London; only one has these; 20 year female with celiac (well managed), which appeared after 1st night here. We were recently in Paris, Barcelona and Madrid. Bumps do not enlarge, but continue to proliferate.
First Derm dermatologist’s answer within hours
This looks like INSECT BITES. I would recommend a mild steroid cream (hydrocortisone) and antihistamin (cetirizin or desloratadine), which can usually be bought over-the-counter. In some cases you might need more potent steroid creams to relieve the inflammation. If you don’t notice an improvement within a few days, see a physician in person. If new lesions appear or the inflamed spots extend to larger areas, see your physician to exclude other diagnoses.
Many different types of bugs cause bug bites, like fleas, mosquitos, spiders and bedbugs. Lots of other things can be confused with bedbug bites, too. Sometimes, we are allergic to bedding or detergents that were used to launder our sheets. Sometimes, an acne pimple can make us think we were bitten by something. Hives, or urticaria, can also present as new itchy spots and they can come from lots of things, like foods to which we’re allergic.
What are bedbugs
What are bedbugs? Bedbugs are wingless insects that hide in bedding, mattresses, and the corners of the room during the day and become active at night, when they like to feed. They can hide in our suitcases and travel home with us, and can go months without feeding on a human or animal. They are all over the world, and are often in places where lots of people come and go, like an Airbnb.
It’s also important to know that bedbugs don’t spread infectious diseases. Phew! But the itching can make us scratch until we’re bleeding. And some people can remain itchy for weeks!
“I woke up with itchy spots, but someone else who shared the bed doesn’t have any spots, so we can’t have bedbugs, right?” Wrong! It’s possible that the bugs only bit one of you, and even if they did bite both of you, not everyone is sensitive to bedbug bites. One sign that you were bit by bedbugs is rows of 3 bites in a line, which is called the “breakfast, lunch and dinner” sign.
How can one know for sure that they have bedbugs? It’s a hard thing to prove. Only by finding the insects themselves can you prove it. It’s important to think about circumstances – new spots first thing in the morning, for example, are quite suspicious. Some travelers check the seams of mattresses for bedbugs when they check in at a new place. Some use bedbug traps, called “interceptors”. But just because you can’t find them, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Bedbugs hide from light and they move fast! You can also look for their droppings, which look like little black spots that smear when they are wiped.
The presence of bedbugs isn’t an indication of the cleanliness of a place. 5-star hotels can get bedbugs, and so can a mud shack. Unfortunately, Airbnb doesn’t have any guest protection policies in place at the time of writing this article that require your host to refund your money or cover medical evaluation. The smartest thing to do would be to contact your host ASAP, so they can come check out the scene. Most hosts are honest and reasonable people. If they choose to refund you, you won’t be able to leave a review, per Airbnb policies. It’s your choice – warn future travellers, or take the money and run!
Do you think you got bedbugs, ask a dermatologist today!
Also read Airbnb Hell
Feature image source: http://images.medicinenet.com/images/appictures/bedbugs-s6-symptoms-signs-bites.jpg
Medical Doctor and PhD candidate