The city of love has been captured by bedbugs: there is an unprecedented influx of these dangerous insects in Paris - ForumDaily
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The city of love has been taken over by bedbugs: there is an unprecedented influx of these dangerous insects in Paris

Paris, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, is infested with bedbugs. They are everywhere - from hotel rooms to trains and cinemas. Reports of the blood-sucking insects infesting hotels and rental apartments emerged over the summer, with Paris now battling a bedbug infestation just 10 months before the French capital hosts the 2024 Summer Olympics. How all this happens and how to protect yourself, the publication told CBS News.

Photo: IStock

If you're planning a trip to a place where bedbugs might be a problem, experts recommend several ways to protect yourself.

First of all, travelers need to be alert.

Adult bedbugs are brown or reddish-brown in color and have an oval body shape about the size of an apple seed, while their juveniles are much smaller—translucent or whitish-yellow—and very difficult to see. Bedbugs come to the surface at night to feed on human blood.

When you arrive at a hotel or rental, carefully inspect the bed—underneath the bed, behind the frame, along the sides of the mattress, and between the mattress and frame.

Dr. Karan Lal, a board-certified dermatologist and member of the Society of Pediatric Dermatology, recommends taking a small can of isopropyl alcohol with you when traveling.

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“If there are bugs, they will come out because they don’t like alcohol,” he noted.

Beyond that, behavioral ecologist Christine Johnson of the American Museum of Natural History's department of invertebrate zoology said, you can look for blood stains or small black specks that look like mold or ground pepper.

Another way to prevent bedbugs is to store your items properly. Instead of the floor, it is better to place things on the lids of chests of drawers or in other places located higher.

Since the bathroom, where the tile floor is less attractive and there is less chance of finding bedbugs, you can leave your luggage there, some experts advise.

You should also be on guard on trains and other types of transport where these bloodsuckers can be found. To avoid unnecessary contact with seats or other surfaces, it is best to stand.

When you return home, you should not immediately bring your suitcases into the apartment. Lal advises leaving them in the garage for a few days and then washing the clothes on a high temperature.

To be sure that nothing gets into the suitcases, they should be wrapped in plastic.

Can bedbugs be seen with the naked eye?

Bedbugs are very small, but can be seen with the naked eye. They spread easily and like to hide in mattresses and other soft things such as curtains. These parasites can crawl between floorboards, in electrical outlets and even behind wallpaper.

Tourists may unwittingly pick up “nuisance passengers” from an infected hotel; bedbugs can travel through clothing or bags and be transmitted to other people on the subway, bus, when visiting the theater or other places in the city.

The good news is that they don't move around on people, Lal explains.

“It's not like scabies, which is spread by an infectious mite. Bed bugs are not contagious, he noted. “You can bring them with you in your clothes and bedding if you're going somewhere, but if you have bedbug bites, you can't give them to anyone.”

When these pests are discovered, exterminators say you need to act quickly. All clothing and bedding that may have been in contact should be placed in trash bags and tightly sealed, then washed at high temperature.

How to tell if it's a bug bite

When determining whether a bedbug bite is caused by a bedbug, Lal advises looking for signs of "breakfast, lunch and dinner."

“They bite in lines or clusters of three. If you see clusters of three all over your body, especially in places where you are not dressed, then most likely these are bedbugs,” he said, noting that marks can take several days to appear.

The bites themselves often appear as red bumps, but they may vary slightly from person to person.

Some people are more attracted to bedbugs than others, so it's not uncommon for a couple sleeping in the same bed to only have one person bitten, Lal said.

Can bed bugs affect your health?

While you won't get any illnesses from bedbugs, bedbugs can cause different types of reactions in some people, Lal says. Itching or other skin reactions may occur, but not everyone experiences them.

Children and patients undergoing chemotherapy are more susceptible to reactions to bedbug bites.

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“Their immune system is not as strong, so their body reacts in such a way that they can develop an allergic reaction to bedbugs,” Lal explained.

Where do bugs come from?

Experts emphasize that hygiene has nothing to do with the spread of bedbugs. The high birth rate of blood-sucking insects means that when they find a place where they can feed and reproduce, their numbers will increase many times over in a matter of days. Therefore, you need to monitor this carefully.

“There were bedbugs before us, and they will be after us. They are everywhere,” Lal emphasized. “You can go to the best hotels in Manhattan and find them there.”

A report published in the summer by Anses, France's national food, environment and occupational health organisation, said there were two main culprits in the recent spread of bedbugs in France - increased tourism and increased resistance to insecticides.

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