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Bed bug advice for your home healthcare clients

|  August 7, 2020
PHOTO: FGORGUN/E+/GETTY IMAGES

PHOTO: FGORGUN/E+/GETTY IMAGES

Traveling and visiting healthcare, social services and other such professionals are subject to the conditions encountered at the abodes of their clients they visit on a daily basis. While we’d like to assume that all such locations are neat, clean and tidy, the truth is that this is not the case.

I’ve received numerous requests for suggestions on preventative measures regarding bed bugs in particular, and I bet you have, too. Beyond the sanitation precautions they’ve taken in recent months in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, home healthcare professionals should also consider the following:

  • Wear light-colored clothing and shoes, so you can easily spot any pest hitchhikers.
  • Use bed bug-proof bags or containers (that is, tightly sealed) in which to store your equipment, supplies and tools.
  • Do not bring personal items like a purse or backpack into a client location. If you must bring something inside, seal it in a bed bug-proof plastic bag or container.
  • For that matter, carry as little as possible into a client location.
  • Keep a spare set of clothes stored in a sealed plastic bag or container to change into, so that you do not bring suspect clothing into your vehicle or home. When changing, seal the suspect clothing in a plastic bag or bed bug-proof container.
  • Launder suspect clothing using a hot wash and dry cycle.
  • Learn to recognize the telltale signs of bed bugs, such as fecal stains, shed skins, carcasses, eggs and live bed bugs. (Readers, providing a leave-behind brochure with images can go a long way in helping your customers understand what they’re looking for.)
  • Be wary of clients who present with insect bite marks and/or may comment or complain about “itchy bug bites.” Take such comments seriously.
  • Purchase and use a decent LED-type flashlight to inspect the chair, bed and other areas. Do not rely upon your cell phone light for an inspection.
  • Learn how to inspect for bed bugs. Know where, how and what to look for when inspecting for telltale signs of bed bug activity. (Again, readers, help them with such information.)

BELLO is president of PJB Pest Consulting & Education based in Alpharetta, Ga. He has more than 40 years of industry experience.

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