Watch Out – bed bugs about!

Posted by Deborah Lewis, 18th July 2016
As we enter the new school term, many of us will be thinking about sunny family holidays and possibly buying some mosquito repellent. However, how many of us will be thinking about bed bugs?

Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not limited to cheap hotels abroad, but can also be found in quality UK accommodation. In our experience, hostels and hotels adjacent to airports and ports are particularly susceptible with the frequent turnover of guests travelling from warmer climes, bringing with them the unwanted souvenir of bed bugs in clothing and luggage.

Bed bugs are nocturnal insects that enjoy feeding on human blood and love the cosy environment of a warm mattress. The bites are numerous, often appearing in rows and can cause symptoms of general aching as well as itching and even scarring following infection. Treatment includes steroid cream or antihistamine tablets to relieve the itch.

Whilst at BL Claims we do seek compensation for foreign holiday makers who have been victims of bed bugs, we also pursue claims against UK hoteliers who do not deal with the problem effectively. Hotels and tour operators have a duty to guests to ensure that they are reasonably safe and this includes inspecting accommodation, treating any infestation properly and ensuring accommodation has the all clear before re-letting the room.

Our advice is simple – check the mattress (particularly the seams) and pillows before getting into a hotel bed for the first time. You will be looking for red or brown creatures about 5 mm in length, black spots from dried faeces, pale yellow skins from the young nymphs and rusty stains caused by the bugs being crushed by unsuspecting guests!

If you are bitten in the UK or abroad, then we advise you to take photographs of the affected bedding as well as regular photographs of the bites until they clear up. You should also report the infestation to the hotel and if appropriate your holiday representative before completing an accident book entry. We also advise that you attend a GP to obtain a written diagnosis and retain receipts for all expenses incurred including prescriptions, over the counter medication, travel expenses and doctors’ fees. Should your holiday be significantly disrupted then we can also claim for loss of enjoyment of your holiday, so keeping a diary of your experience would be helpful.

If you are an unfortunate victim of bed bugs the please contact us, as we would be pleased to discuss the possibility of pursuing either a hotel or tour operator as appropriate on a no win no fee basis.

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