- Bedbugs: they live in mattresses, furniture and love to travel in your luggage. They bite you in the middle of the night, leaving marks that may look like mosquito bites. If you’ve brought bedbugs home in your suitcase, they can set up colonies in your home. One can become thousands in six months. The good news is that bedbugs are big enough to see, so inspect your bags, and mattress and look for flat, dark mahogany-colored bugs about the size (and shape) of an apple seed.
- Body lice: very hard to see because they’re tiny. They look like little gray fleas that crawl rather than jump. If you suspect lice, look in your clothes, because these insects often congregate in the seams of clothing. Fortunately, they live primarily on clothing and bedding, so washing your clothes and linens in hot water will kill them.
- Crabs: a type of lice that live in pubic hair, in underarm hair, and on eyelashes. If you’re itching in these areas, get a mirror and look carefully. You’ll know if you have crabs because that’s what you’ll see—tiny gray crabs.
- Scabies: the trickiest to discover because they’re so hard to see. You may itch all over, and the itching is typically worse at night. Characteristic signs of scabies include red bumps and tiny blisters between the fingers, inside the wrists, under the arms, in the belly button, and in the groin. Scabies can also live on your clothing for up to a week.
If you think you’ve caught something, see a dermatologist. The next time you stay at a hotel, inspect the bedding carefully before you get in, and pull off the comforter—have you ever seen a comforter taken out of your room to be washed? Probably not, so don’t use it.