Traveling during coronavirus: Should you postpone spring break trips?

FoxNews.com | by Michael Bartiromo | March 13, 2020

Many people are rescheduling spring break plans as coronavirus spreads – but should you?

The short answer? It depends on where you are traveling and how you are getting there.

Popular domestic spring break destinations such as Miami and South Padre Island are in states that are currently experiencing increased positive cases of coronavirus.  As of March 13, Florida had 42 positive cases, and 2 deaths, while Texas had 28 confirmed.  On Friday, Texas declared a state of disaster for all counties.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which typically does not issue advisories for U.S. travel, advise those considering travel to be aware of the community spread of the disease in certain areas and the elevated risk it could potentially pose to those traveling through airports or communal areas in those states.

Ensure where you are going is still open as many popular tourist destinations both internationally and domestically have closed.  Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California, for instance, will close starting Saturday until end the end of March.

The CDC currently puts the risk of infection at “low” when flying between areas that are not experiencing “sustained community transmission.

The CDC currently puts the risk of infection at “low” when flying between areas that are not experiencing “sustained community transmission. (iStock)

Method of travel is just as important to consider, as several cruise liners have canceled voyages after the Diamond Princess and Grand Princess both experienced outbreaks that left 700 and 21 passengers testing positive for coronavirus, respectively.

Planes are still in operation – however, some domestic airlines have canceled flights or altered schedules amid the decrease in demand. The CDC currently puts the risk of infection at “low” when flying between areas that are not experiencing “sustained community transmission,” but urges travelers to always maintain best practices when it comes to safety and hygiene on flights.

For vulnerable populations – meaning those above 60 or people who have underlying health issues – travel to areas experiencing outbreaks is strongly advised against by the CDC.

Several students spoke to Fox 11 about their concerns over the virus. While many were concerned about COVID-19, and vowed to stay home, others felt the deals were too good to pass up.

Several students spoke about their concerns over the virus

Several students spoke about their concerns over the virus (iStock)

“So long as we take proper measures, we should be fine,” said Kadin Barr of Green Bay, who was flying out Tampa Bay with his family, Fox 11 reported.

“I’m staying at home spring break, I’m not going out,” said Wisconsin student Anthony Balao. “I don’t wanna get that!”

Rescheduling

If you are concerned about coronavirus and need to reschedule your travel plans, most flights and lodging services, — including Airbnb — are offering fee waivers and refunds for eligible travelers wishing to change plans.

Check with your airline or accommodations to see what their policy is regarding rescheduling or canceling vacation plans.

Traveling

If you do plan to stick to your spring break plan, make sure you take the necessary safety precautions – keep your hands washed, avoid touching your face, nose and mouth, and practice social distancing. If traveling by plane, carry alcohol-based wipes and sanitize all high-volume touch areas such as armrests, tray tables, seatbelts and call buttons.

Be prepared for the possibility that someone on the plane tests positive – which potentially could interrupt your vacation plans either at your destination or on the return flight. To prepare, pack extra clothing and medications in case of emergency or quarantine.

 

How to avoid bringing bed bugs home from spring break

Bed bugs are the one thing you don’t want to bring home with you when you return from spring break.

Despite their name, the insects can get into all of your furniture, even air ducts, once they enter your house.

Whether you’re staying in a cheap motel or a luxurious suite, we’ve heard horror stories about these creepy crawlers stowing away and getting into your home.

Inside your hotel room or short-term rental home, bed bugs could be lurking.

“They will stay waiting for the next host to come there,” said a bed bug expert.

You don’t think you could ever bring them home, think again.

“Bed bugs do not discriminate between the rich, the poor, the clean or the dirty,”. “If you happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, you will get a bed bug and bring it home with you.”

“Bed bugs hide really well. All they do is they come out and feed for ten minutes when you’re sleeping and they come back and hide inside the bed.”

As their name suggests, they love beds and people to feed on and they’re really hard to see unless you’re looking.

Chatman went along on a house call to demonstrate how to spot them. Expert said his crew only wears suits for extreme cases.

“So we found a bed bug on the zipper part of the mattress, of the box spring encasement,” expert said. “We see this all the time.”

So what can you do to make sure you don’t bring bed bugs home with you?

First, put your luggage in the bathroom as soon as you walk in your room or rental home. You can also place suitcases and bags on a luggage rack off the floor and away from beds or couches.

Next, check the sheets, mattress, box springs and even around the headboard.

Look for dark, rust colored spots. You may even see casings the bugs leave behind and eggs along hard surfaces like a picture frame.

If you find any signs of bed bugs, you should ask for a new room immediately.

“When you come home, do not bring the luggage in your bedroom,” Stavropoulos said. “Instead, empty it out in the garage preferably. Put the clothes in a bag and launder it when you can.”

Jim says don’t let the thought of bed bugs ruin your trip. As with most things in life, there are risks.

But following these steps should put you at a good advantage of steering clear, so that the bed bugs don’t bite.

Bed bug experts say if you notice that bugs are in your home, it’s best to call an exterminator. Don’t try to get rid of them on your own. It can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000 to treat, depending on the severity and the size of the home.

He says bed bugs can also hide in airplane seats, bus chairs, pretty much anywhere humans sit and lay their heads and they’re the most prevalent in major cities.

Furniture Today: Nip it in the bud!

 

Please, everyone sleep tight and don’t let the bedbugs bite! We have all heard this as youngsters but we paid no attention. Maybe we should.

Here in Richmond, two of our elementary schools are having to close some classrooms to have them deep cleaned for … you guessed it, bedbugs. Parents are being told to put the child’s clothing in a pillow case and run it them in a clothes dryer at its hottest setting for one hour to kill the pests. Meanwhile, other schools are watching out for this new, but very old, problem.

Truthfully, I have not heard much about bedbugs over the past 50 years in the furniture industry until recently. If you read the hotel business publications, bedbugs are a HUGE problem, and there are a half dozen full-page ads for bedbug solutions or how to prevent them. There are occasional stories about entire floors of hotels being closed for cleaning and bedbug control.

I have read in travel publications to not leave your luggage open where bedbugs can climb in and catch a ride to a new home, yours. Be careful how you handle your clothes in hotels and just don’t throw them around, especially near the bed. This is not a problem at remote and backward third world countries; it is in major U.S. cities in a big way.

Unfortunately, bedbugs are quietly impacting the residential home furnishings business. The way I hear it, stores that help dispose of old beds when they deliver new ones, get their delivery trucks infested. Since most new beds are delivered wrapped, the bedbugs are getting into the upholstery on its way to be delivered. Customers are NOT happy with this free add-on and make demands on the stores. Recently, I read that the average cost of a resolving a bedbug problem is $1,700, which sounds low to me.

Upon hearing about this and also hearing about some of our larger furniture stores having many bedbug suits from consumers, maybe this is a problem our industry needs to address in a serious way before some crusading do-gooder starts suggesting laws and regulations we don’t want or need.

My wife and I own a 120-year-old wooden farmhouse on the Rappahannock River, just off the Chesapeake Bay. Over the past 20 years, we have had to call for help with a raccoon family in the attic, a large icky spider problem in one bedroom, tiny mice in a wall and a black snake that fell out of a closet near the pool table. But we have never found bedbugs!

W.W. “Jerry” Epperson, Jr. is a founder and managing director of Mann, Armistead & Epperson, Ltd., an investment banking and research firm. Jerry is the head of their research efforts and has in excess of thirty years of experience in the publication of hard/soft dollar research which focuses on demographics, consumer products, furnishings (residential and contract) and related issues. More specifically, Jerry’s research in the furnishings industry is recognized on a world-wide basis for its in-depth coverage of suppliers, manufacturers and retailers.

Hollywood Actress Trapped On A Cruise Ship With Bed Bugs: MYBEDBUGLAWYER™ Files Lawsuit

LOS ANGELESJan. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — MYBEDBUGLAWYERTM, the nation’s leading law firm for Bed Bug Litigation has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Connie Flores and her husband Alvin, against Princess Cruises Line over the couple’s horrific exposure in a stateroom infested by bed bugs during a recent cruise from Los Angeles to MexicoConnie Flores is an actress who has recently appeared in the Oscar Nominated Netflix film Marriage Story.MYBEDBUGLAWYER

“Imagine yourself on a cruise at sea with your stateroom infested with bed bugs. There was nowhere to go. We were trapped. We felt helpless. There were bed bugs coming out of the pillows and the mattress, we felt betrayed,” said Mrs. Flores.

Blood can be seen on the pillows while bed bugs crawl under the mattress, as shown by the video the couple recorded. The bed bugs feasted on Connie and her husband as they slept. The bites were so severe that it landed Mrs. Flores in the hospital. Her husband remains traumatized by the entire incident, said Brian Virag, Founder of MYBEDBUGLAWYERTM.2

The emotional suffering, however, continues to be the bigger nightmare for our clients. They continue to relive waking up in the middle of the night imagining bed bugs sucking the blood from their body as they slept, added Virag.

“After this ordeal, I wanted to advocate and bring awareness to people who get exposed to bed bugs. No one should have to go through what we experienced,” said Mrs. Flores.

According to the lawsuit filed in Federal Court in Los Angeles (Case Number 2:19cv09961) by MYBEDBUGLAWYERTM and Law Offices of Aksana Coone (maritime cruise ship injury attorney), the cruise ship knew or should have known of the bed bug infestation and simply failed to protect its passengers from physical and emotional harm. The lawsuit also alleges that the cruise ship’s policies and procedures were inadequate in maintaining the safety of their guests. “They simply were negligent in providing safe premises,” said Virag.

According to Virag, about one in every five Americans has either experienced or knows someone who has experienced bed bugs.

MYBEDBUGLAWYERTM is the only law firm that specializes exclusively in bed bug litigation and has lawsuits pending against Disneyland, the Queen Mary and represents Brazilian Supermodel Sabrina Jales against Hilton Hotels. Virag and his firm have obtained the largest jury verdicts ever recorded in US History for victims of bed bug exposure.

 

Bedbug infestation wreaking havoc at Paris hotels

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS JAN 10, 2020  by Storm Gifford

Bedbugs are ruining business for many Parisian hoteliers.

Bedbugs are ruining business for many Parisian hoteliers. (animatedfunk/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Quelle horreur!

Bedbugs, usually thought of as an American nuisance, are driving Parisians crazy with their appearance in hotels.

The pests, known as punaises de lit in France, are causing financial losses upwards of millions of euros for business owners in the French capital.

One Paris hotel group conceded that even ritzy hotels are falling victim to the pests — and the problem is worsening.

“It’s traumatizing hotel managers. We talk about it among ourselves, but timidly,” Jean-Marc D’Orx, the general president of a French hotel union, told Le Parisien. “The hotelier is a victim in this kind of case. It’s not that the hotel is dirty, but it has welcomed people who have brought the bedbugs with them.”

The number of reported bedbug cases in the nation has ballooned from 180,000 to 4000,000 in two short years, reported The Local.

And in 2018, there were 100,000 bedbug infestations just in Paris alone, according to the French Union for Pest Control.

Fearing massive financial losses and bad reputations, hotel managers also must shutter their establishments until the arrival of new beds and pest controls carry out inspections.

Bedbugs, usually only just 7 millimeters long, crave human blood. Bites can result in allergic reactions, skin rashes, and in some cases, psychological trauma.

One TripAdvisor commenter, who allegedly stayed at a Paris hotel in November, stated, “Bedbugs, no handling of the matter and no treatment. You’re better off sleeping in your car.”

 

HOTEL HORROR Tourist’s trip to Dublin ruined after she is bitten 77 times by bed bugs in Hotel Riu Plaza The Gresham

THE IRISH SUN | by Danny de Vaal | December 10, 2019

A SWEDISH woman was treated for bed bugs after staying at a lavish city centre hotel in Dublin.

Sanja Manduric, from Lund in Sweden, forked out almost €350 ($389 USD) for a two night stay at Hotel Riu Plaza The Gresham on O’Connell Street while on a business trip.

 Sanja was left in agony after waking up to 77 large red bites on her face and arms
Sanja was left in agony after waking up to 77 large red bites on her face and arms

The 54-year-old Swedish Board of Agriculture official was also planning on spending the weekend in Dublin with her daughter when her work commitments wrapped up but she was left in agony after waking up to 77 large red bites on her face and arms.

Sanja told the Irish Sun: “I picked the hotel because it had a great reputation.

“I never expected that something like this was going to happen.

“I have big marks on my face, my neck and my arms.

“I tried to show the managers and they were just like ‘No, no’.

“I travel a lot and I’ve never had an experience like this.”

‘I HAD 77 BITES’

Sanja booked the hotel for two nights and checked in on October 30 and stayed until November 1.

She was forced to spend €70 on a visit to the doctor and a further €30 on steroid tablets and cream.

Sanja, who left Dublin last month, said she had to work from home as she had large marks on her face.

She said: “The hotel was aware of what the problem was because there wasn’t a small infestation.

“I had 77 bites on me. I don’t know how many bed bugs there were in total but I saw several. I brought the manager up to the room to show him.”

‘WE TAKE MATTER VERY SERIOUSLY’

Sanja claimed the manager told her it looked like “something” but wasn’t sure because he “wasn’t a specialist”.

A spokeswoman for Riu Plaza The Gresham said: “Please let us assure you that the health and safety of our clients is our number one priority.

“We know of the case you refer to and please let us say that we take this matter very seriously.

“After the first notification, the hotel contacted its specialised partner and the result of the analysis conducted was negative.

“No bed bugs were found in the hotel. In any case, and as a gesture of goodwill, the belongings of the guest were treated via our cleaning partner and the luggage replaced.”

The Irish Sun then sent the hotel a video of a bed bug which Sanja filmed and requested a copy of the report from the pest company.

“But we can tell you that we have had no other reports of this kind from any other guest staying either in this very bedroom nor in any of the other 339 guestrooms during these dates.

“Despite this, if there is the minimum suspicion, we activate the specific protocol to avoid any possible problem from spreading.”

 A Swedish woman was treated for bed bugs after staying at a lavish city centre hotel in Dublin

A Swedish woman was treated for bed bugs after staying at a lavish city centre hotel in Dublin

How I got even with the 5-Star Hotel that gave me Bed Bugs

brokelyn.png by Erin Scottberg | November 7, 2017

brokelyn1.jpg

I kept a folder in my phone called #BiteThings before I knew what it was. All photos by Erin Scottberg

Of all the questionable places I’ve spent the night — dingy apartments in Bushwick, shady hostels in Cambodia, cut-rate motels on cross-country road trips — the last place I expected to pick up bed bugs was from a luxury hotel in the Bay Area. But lo and behold, that’s what happened: I brought home one of New York’s biggest nightmares on a cross-country flight from SFO, not on a cross-borough ride on the G train.

On the mildly bright side, I figured getting bed bugs from a fancy, five-star hotel chain that was known for their excellent customer service was at least the best way to get them. There’s no way I’d be responsible for treating my apartment, which I knew could be super expensive. It was their fault, end of story. Sure, they may not have a legal responsibility — a few states have laws protecting hotel guests from bed bugs, though they usually aren’t very effective — but anything else would be bad business.

Turns out, it wasn’t that simple.

This all happened two years ago during a business trip to San Francisco. I was enjoying happy hour with a friend at Rickhouse, a trendy cocktail bar in the Financial District filled with lots of dark wood and tech-engineer types crowded around whiskey barrel tables, when I noticed a small cluster of itchy pink bumps on my foot. As the bartender handed us our drinks, I joked, “The mosquitoes out here just love me!”

“That’s weird,” my friend replied with a confused look. “I don’t think I’ve been bitten once in the seven years I’ve lived here.”

I was so used to being the one who gets eaten alive while everyone else remains unscathed that I thought nothing of it. Having never lived there, I had no idea that the Bay Area has basically zero mosquitoes.

That night, I tucked myself once again into my fancy, king-sized hotel bed. Two days later I flew back to Brooklyn and crawled into my own bed for a daytime nap.

__________

A victim of ‘Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner’ bites, I wasn’t about to give up.

brokelyn2.jpg

Once I saw ‘breakfast, lunch and dinner’ bites, I knew it was bedbugs.

I woke up a few hours later with three big, itchy red bumps on my thigh. The next morning, there were a few more. When the same thing happened a third time, I assumed a mosquito had gotten into my apartment when I was out of town so I Googled “How to catch a mosquito” and started taking advice from internet commenters.

I’m no fool. Of course I’d suspected bed bugs, but I had no evidence — no physical bugs, no reddish-brown marks where I might have squashed one after it bit me, not even any “brown, coffee-grind like residue” I’d been told to look for (it’s their poop). And I’d been searching hard. Plus, I couldn’t come up with a source. I hadn’t had any house guests, hadn’t lugged home sidewalk furniture, hadn’t seen a movie at The Pavilion. The only possibility was that fancy hotel. But surely they’d have that stuff on lock to keep their reputation pristine?

After nearly two weeks of dotting each bite with a marker before bed to keep track of new bites, I woke up to three in a row on the side of my left shin — breakfast, lunch and dinner, as it’s called in bedbug-savvy circles. I was disgusted and freaking out. I tore apart my bed more thoroughly than ever, flipping over the box spring and prying the fabric from the frame with a butter knife while peaking in with a flashlight. Finally, after half an hour of hunting, there they were: two tiny, slightly reddish bed bugs tucked underneath a staple on the bottom side of my box spring.

Redemption. Success. An intense feeling of violation. Terror. Fears of bankruptcy and social ostracization and having to throw out everything I owned and start from scratch. The irony of having travelled to the opposite coast only to come face to face with New York’s public enemy number one was not lost on me. For a hot minute (ok, probably about 15 minutes), I lost it. I sat on my floor in the middle of my basic metal bed frame and cried.

But then, I started handling shit. And I was going to go after that fucking hotel.

___________

brokelyn3

I lived out of bags I kept in my kitchen, which was declared bed bug free.

First, I went to the hardware store for construction grade trash bags, mattress bags (like the kind you use for moving) and duct tape and sealed up pretty much everything in my bedroom — bedding, books, the actual luggage I’d used in SF. Anything that could went straight to the laundromat for a high-temp wash and dry. When the exterminators came later, they complimented my work.

Next, I called the hotel.

The manager listened calmly, then he explained that they couldn’t inspect the room because it was currently occupied.

I was incredulous. “Well, get them out of there! It has bed bugs!” He took down my contact info and said he’d get back to me. They didn’t seem to be taking things seriously.

The next day I got an email thanking me “for reaching out to us regarding any bed bug concerns that you have” and explaining that “after the inspection conducted today we did find minimal bed bug activity in the room.”

Minimal. Ha. The email then went on to explain how bed bugs aren’t a reflection of a hotel’s cleanliness (true) and are just a result of travelers (also true) and I should probably do my laundry and call a professional (obviously), and oh, won’t you please stay with us again?

I wasn’t about to spend thousands of dollars on professional extermination brought on by the hotel’s own negligence, so I asked about their plan to cover my fumigation costs. After a few days of general corporate non-answers, they explained that they had to follow the appropriate process and get their insurance company involved. Sounded good to me — they’d already said, in writing, that my room had bed bugs. Of course they were going to take responsibility for the situation.

_________

brokelyn4.jpg

I became BFFs with the crew at the laundromat.

Encouraged by the hotel’s management to “accelerate the process” at my personal cost (“keeping my receipts to be reimbursed”), I hired a pest control company. They decided to “bomb” my closet (where I’d hung unworn clothes from the trip and stored my luggage) and bookshelves (where I’d replaced paperwork and other books) with Nuvan strips and treat other potentially affected areas with Cryonite, a rapidly freezing carbon dioxide snow-like compound that goes by the tagline “The chill that kills”. Both treatments would require the items be out of commision for about a month. The total cost was just shy of $3,000.

Meanwhile, my battle ground had moved from the hotel to their insurance company. I was required to give a recorded statement to a claims specialists describing the ordeal. During our conversation, the specialist asked multiple times whether I’d turned down cleaning services at all during my stay. Luckily, I hadn’t. Turns out this is because checking for bed bugs is part of the cleaning checklist. If I’d told them to stay out of the room, then they wouldn’t have had a chance to inspect (however poorly) for bed bugs. This gave me leverage. (Ever since, I always accept the cleaning service — you can still tell them not to replace your sheets for environmental reasons, but at least allow them to come in and remake the bed.)

On top of all this, I’d learned via the public bedbug registry (it’s a thing!) that other guests had had the same problem around the same time. Given that irrefutable evidence, it’s understandable how livid I was that when the insurance company called a couple weeks later to let me know they determined the hotel not at fault.

A vendetta was born. I became a woman with a single mission: Make. Them. Pay.

___________

My apartment has a few recessed areas like this which are easy to seal off and treat.

brokelyn5.jpg

Luckily, my apartment has a few recessed areas like this which are easy to seal off and treat.

I’ve spent most of my career in online publishing in some form or another. I fully understand the power of SEO. And as a hotel — or anyone in the service industry — you reputation is everything. I started searching and found that there were multiple variations of “HOTELNAMEhasbedbugs.com” available. Two minutes later, I was the proud owner of a new URL. It was incredibly cathartic. I started dreaming of how I would detail every story, every photo and every dollar of my ordeal — all due to this hotel — to the world. I had mentally psyched myself up for my inevitable appearance on The Today Show during which my chyron would read “’Crazy Bed Bug Lady’ publically shames hotel into taking responsibility for their mistake”.

I sent word of my plans to the hotel, making it clear that I, too, could be a pest who wouldn’t go away.

After a month of continual phone calls, strongly worded emails and more conversations with their insurance company, I finally received an email from the hotel manager stating that “due to the nature of our business as well as our understanding of your frustration with this situation we would like as a hotel, regardless of fault, [to] reimburse you for the expenses you submitted.” Save your receipts, kids! I signed some papers — hence why I haven’t mentioned the chain’s name — and got my check. Blood had been shed (well, more like feasted on) but the battle had been won.

A few weeks later, I was able to remove the plastic sealing off my bookshelves and closet, and I no longer needed to pick my clothes out of trash bags. I was able to stop going to the laundromat every other day and I felt comfortable, kind of, replacing my duvet and bringing things into my house. Roscoe, the bed bug detecting beagle, did a complete sniff-test and cleared my apartment. I was happier to receive that piece of paper than I was my college degree.

__________

I recently found this guy crawling on my floor and I freaked out. I sent pics to the exterminators I used but it was just a beetle. Phew!

brokelyn6.jpg

I found this guy crawling on my floor and I freaked out, sent pics to the exterminators. But it was just a beetle.

But there are still times when I’m not convinced. I find a random, itchy bump on my elbow and tense up. I wake up to a red spot on the back of my shin and I’m flipping over the mattress. Earlier this summer, I was at a wedding in the Catskills where all of the guests stayed in cabins and when I got back to New York, I noticed my back looked like a game of connect the dots. I sent a text to the group asking “What’s everyone’s bug bite situation? I have so many it’s unreal. I’m nervous…” I wasn’t the only one.

A few hours later, we figured out we were dealing with chiggers, not bed bugs. While the others slept soundly that night, I dug out my markers and dotted each bite I could reach before going to bed and woke up early to do my laundry before work. Just in case.

That’s the thing with bed bugs. They’re not going to make you sick, or cause you any actual harm. But they can slowly drive you crazy, cost you more than twice your rent money, and make you fear for every bite, itch and bump you’ll ever have, for the rest of your life.

And while a business can’t possibly return your sense of security, they absolutely can — and should — take responsibility for their errors and make sure you don’t drain your savings (or go into debt) trying to recover from their mistake. If it comes down to it, just take a cue from our blood-sucking friends and keep at it for as long as you need to (and maybe register a domain name or two). Eventually, they’ll do whatever it takes to make you go away.

Bed bugs at The Carlton? Guest says Atascadero hotel stay left him with ‘physical scarring’

carlton hotel_2

The Tribune | by Matt Fountain | December 3, 2019

Update, 1:45 p.m. Wednesday:

On Wednesday afternoon, Deana Alexander, general manager of The Carlton Hotel, emailed the following statement in response to Tuesday’s article:

“The Carlton Hotel takes pride in being an established premier property on the Central Coast of California, known for its hospitality, cleanliness, comfort, and value. Management takes reports of bed bugs very seriously. When a guest reports that there may be bed bugs, all measures are taken to address the situation immediately. Quarantine, inspection and eradication if necessary are the steps taken with complete concern for the guests and others that will be in that room.

Our housekeeping staff is trained and diligent about looking for the signs of bed bugs. Our mattresses have been encased in ‘bed bug’ zippered protective covering. No expense is spared when there are reports of bed bugs that have ‘traveled’ in with guests as bed bugs move around by finding their way into purses, backpacks, suitcases, briefcases, clothing, and jackets.

A Los Angeles man who stayed at The Carlton Hotel in Atascadero in 2017 says bed bugs in his room left him with physical and emotional “scarring,” according to a lawsuit filed in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

Moreover, the guest says hotel staff knew that a previous infestation in the room had not been eradicated, but “turned a blind eye” and checked him in anyway.

The lawsuit alleges hotel staff was negligent, fraudulently concealed the problem, and contributed to a public nuisance, naming the business as well as owner David Weyrich and a past manager as defendants.

The plaintiff, Geoffrey Shelden, is seeking damages of at least $25,000 for medical care and to replace personal property that reportedly had to be destroyed.

When reached by phone Monday, The Carlton Hotel’s general manager, Deana Alexander, told The Tribune she was not aware of Shelden’s lawsuit — which was filed in April — but called the allegations untrue.

After being provided the complaint, Alexander, who is not personally listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, did not respond to followup requests for comment.

Ilan Rosen Janfaza, Shelden’s Los Angeles-based attorney, declined to comment Monday beyond what’s listed in the complaint and said he was unable to immediately provide photographs of his client’s bug bites.

HOTEL GUEST ‘BITTEN DOZENS OF TIMES’

In the complaint, filed April 4, Janfaza wrote that bed bugs, “small, flat, parasitic insects that feed solely on the blood of people and animals while they sleep,” have recently been “spreading rapidly” through parts of the United States, including in five-star hotels and resorts.

Contrary to popular belief, the pests’ presence are “not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found,” the lawsuit states, citing the Centers for Disease Control website.

The CDC says that bed bug bites have different effects on people, from no reaction to severe anaphylaxis, or allergic reaction.

Sheldon stayed at The Carlton Hotel on April 7, 2017, and the next day “awoke to itchiness and discomfort on his body, but did not think much of it,” the complaint reads.

He checked out later that day. About 10 days later, Shelden “noticed that the severity of his itching had worsened and that he was in fact bitten dozens of times from head to toe.”

“He also realized that his bite marks were in a trail-type formation,” the lawsuit states.

DID THE CARLTON ‘TURN A BLIND EYE’ TO COMPLAINTS?

A doctor reportedly diagnosed Shelden with bed bug exposure on April 18, 2017.

As a result of his diagnosis and treatment, Shelden incurred costs related to medical treatment, the cost of the room and replacement of luggage and clothing, as well as other expenses, according to the complaint.

“To this day, Mr. Shelden still has physical scarring on his body and emotional scarring as a result of the bed bug bites,” the lawsuit reads.

The complaint further accuses staff at The Carlton of knowing that the room had previously been the site of a bed bug infestation that had not been eradicated when it was rented to Shelden.

The lawsuit alleges that The Carlton Hotel’s staff also “recklessly chose to turn a blind eye” to previous complaints by guests. Ignoring those previous complaints show a “pattern and culture of extreme indifference and reckless disregard for the value of human life and the rights of (the hotel’s) guests.”

“(Shelden) has suffered and continues to suffer physical injuries (including, but not limited to, bed bug bites, itching, and permanent scarring) and emotional injuries (including, but not limited to, severe embarrassment, annoyance, discomfort, pain, apprehension, tension, anxiety, and emotional distress) as a direct result of his stay at (The Carlton Hotel),” the complaint reads.

The case has a hearing scheduled in the Paso Robles Courthouse in April.

Gross! What you need to know and do if your hotel room has bedbugs

USA TODAY | David Oliver | October 30, 2019

One of the last things anyone wants to see after entering a hotel room is a creepy, crawly bedbug — or to wake up with bedbug bites.

Bedbugs are tiny insects approximately the size of an apple seed. Adult bedbugs are oval, reddish-brown and flat. Younger ones can be difficult to see because they’re so small.

And there’s a reason they’re called bedbugs: They like to lurk during the daytime where people sleep and feed on them at night (bed bugs feed on both human and animal blood). The insects can be found in a host of places from mattresses to bedding to cracks in furniture to under carpeting and more.

Bedbugs can be found worldwide, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and are not a reflection on the cleanliness of any accommodation (so, yes, even a five-star hotel can have bedbugs). They don’t spread disease nor are they seen as dangerous, but allergic reactions to bites could require a doctor visit.

The bites look like mosquito or flea bites, with a swollen, red spot that could itch or hurt. They could present randomly as well as in a straight line. Some people might not have any adverse reaction to the bites, but others could see swelling.

AP-Bedbug-Insecticide-Risk

One of the last things anyone wants to see after entering a hotel room is a creepy, crawly bedbug — or to wake up with bedbug bites. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)

One of the last things anyone wants to see after entering a hotel room is a creepy, crawly bedbug — or to wake up with bedbug bites.
How do I look for bedbugs in my hotel room?
Make this a priority.

The University of Minnesota recommends looking at the edging and seams of mattresses and box springs, as well as a bed’s headboard. You should also check out the furniture near the bed, cracks in night stands as well as behind picture frames, where bedbugs can hide.

“If you think your hotel bed has bedbugs, you can either check your bed yourself, looking for small blood spots or small blood smears on the sheets and strip the bed and check under the mattress seams or ask the manager to organize for the housekeeper to do it for you,” Maureen Spencer, travel blogger, told USA TODAY. “Take photos of any evidence you find and ask for a room change.”

There’s no federal bedbug law, but 21 states do have bedbug-related legislation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, like ensuring hotels are maintaining cleanliness and that hotels must exterminate bedbugs before housing different guests.

What should I do if I find bedbugs in my hotel room?
Step one: Panic! (Just kidding.)

“The very first thing that you should do if you encounter bedbugs in your hotel room, or even if you have a suspicion that there might be bedbugs in your room, is to pack up your stuff and place it as far away from the bedbug-infested places as possible,” Kristiana Kripena, digital and content marketing director for InsectCop tells USA TODAY. You want to avoid the bugs coming with you to your own house, she says.

You should also obviously notify hotel staff, but do your best to stay calm.

“Remember – this is never going to be something that hotel staff wants to hear,” Becca Siegel of travel blog and Instagram @halfhalftravel tells USA TODAY. “Actually, it’s the last thing they want to hear because it’s going to affect everyone staying in the hotel, their staff, their efforts in eradicating bedbugs and also their ratings online. Try to remain calm and empathetic.”

Also remember that what you think is a bedbug might not be one at all.

“I can’t tell you the number of times that a guest just sees a bug near a bed or on a bed and makes an assumption,” Victoria Agredo, a hospitality industry veteran, tells USA TODAY. “An untrained eye checking a room for themselves really isn’t that helpful. They may find something or they may create a panic over nothing.”

If they are indeed bedbugs, make sure you ask to be moved to a different room (and not one next to the one where you stayed).

Jordan Bishop, founder of consumer watchdog and travel website Yore Oyster, recommends sealing your clothes and other belongings in plastic bags and running them through a hot laundry cycle ASAP.

You can also use a garbage bag, and place that in a freezer overnight to get rid of bedbugs. For non-washable items, enlist a pest-management professional.

 

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