Staying Bedbug-Free in the Direct Care Industry

02/01/2012 12:31 pm ET | Updated Apr 02, 2012

Nearly everyone can relate to a nurse, doctor or social worker making a difference in a friend or a loved one's life. So many of us, at one time or another, have relied on direct care workers to assist a loved one as a result of a social, emotional or health-related issue. While we would be at a loss without all of those hardworking professionals, they too find themselves in times of need. Healthcare professionals from across the country having been battling issues on a new front -- how they can continue to directly serve those in need, without putting themselves at risk -- the newest of which being bedbugs.

Many direct care workers don't realize that bedbugs are more likely to be found in buildings such as nursing homes and hospitals, where many occupants sleep or where there is a frequent turnover rate. When direct care workers meet with clients in facilities such as hospitals, adult living facilities and apartment buildings, they are at a higher risk for picking up a bedbug.

As a direct care worker, it's important to be familiar with the signs and symptoms of bedbugs. In the past several years, I have provided seminars to many in direct care fields about how to effectively continue working, while also taking steps to minimize their bedbug exposure.

Here are some helpful tips to follow to maintain a bedbug barrier while on the job:

  1. First and foremost, spray your car, clothing, accessories, etc., with a bedbug barrier treatment like Pronto Plus household spray to help create a barrier
  2. Bring only what is necessary with you to appointments
  3. Keep items in large ziplock bags or sealed containers while in the possibly infected area
  4. Keep certain clothing for use only in clients' homes, in a sealed container in your car, preferably your trunk
  5. Wear clothing that will allow you to easily identify whether an insect is on you
  6. Avoid wearing accessories, especially scarves and carrying handbags
  7. Avoid coming in contact with upholstered furniture, beds or walls
  8. If you are meeting at a client's home, try to utilize the kitchen area, if possible. In most cases, bedbugs are rarely found in kitchens.
  9. Keep the car clear of clutter, inspect it frequently and vacuum weekly
  10. At the end of the day, undress on a hard surface floor rather than on carpet if you suspect bedbugs are on your clothing
  11. When you arrive home, change in a bathroom or an area that you can utilize each day to minimize walking through your entire home before removing work clothing
  12. If clients come to you, have a separate meeting space that you vacuum and regularly treat with a bedbug barrier spray

While there are no cure-alls for staying 100 percent bedbug free, there are steps to take to stay educated and aware to feel a little bit better about protecting yourself and your family while serving those in need.

Michael Colongione is a spokesperson for Pronto Plus, manufactured by Insight Pharmaceuticals. The advice and opinions he expresses in this article are his own.

If you should have any questions, or even a tip you would like to share with me, you can find me on Twitter @GotchaBedBugs or on Always remember that staying educated is the key to bedbug prevention.

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