Hotels and Hygiene – Combat Hidden Germs in Hotels

5 Tips to Avoid Germs During a Hotel Stay

Hotel stays usually mean fun things like floating in a pool, room service, in-room movies, and someone else making the bed, but we may actually be getting more than we bargained for when scheduling a stay.

Cleanliness of hotel rooms is a priority to most travelers:

George Clarke, chief executive officer of UMF Corp. — a developer of infection prevention products — said Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide are among the larger chains that placed a high priority on guest safety and satisfaction by ensuring higher levels of infection prevention in guest rooms.

“The fact is, community-acquired infections — like healthcare-acquired infections in hospitals — have emerged as a serious public health concern,” Clarke said in a statement. “Germs, allergens and other types of contaminants are a potential issue for everyone who visits a hotel and resort property.”

Poor hygiene practices in hotels can result in a laundry list of infections or contractable viruses:

  • Cold viruses (common cold)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Rotavirus
  • Norovirus
  • Diphtheria
  • E. coli
  • Hepatitis A
  • Staphylococcus (staph infection)
  • Streptococcus (for example, skin infections, sore throat, strep throat, cellulitis, impetigo, scarlet fever)
  • Hemophilus influenza (H. flu, Hib)

Those are all before we talk about bedbugs.

You don’t have to make plans to sleep in your car; you just need to be aware of the hidden germs in hotels and take steps to minimize your exposure during your next stay.

Ditch the Bedspread

Hotel Hygiene Tip #1

Take it off the bed and put it in the closet or contemplate potentially being in bed with bodily fluids, fungi, bacteria, dust, and insect parts.

hotels and hygiene - hidden germs in hotels - bedspreadsBedspreads are one of the biggest offenders in a hotel room – some chains only wash their bedspreads when scheduling a “deep clean” – like four times a year.

Sheets are washed when the maid service is provided but the spread is not included in that daily service.

Don’t Drink from the Hotel Glasses

Hotel Hygiene Tip #2

In a hidden camera project: Housekeeping staff was caught on film either rinsing the drinking glasses (in preparation for a new guest) with water only or washing them with an industrial cleaner labeled “do not drink.”

In other cases, dirty bath towels – from the previous guest – were used to dry the glasses after their perfunctory rinse in tap water. Another film clip showed a woman wearing latex gloves cleaning the guest toilet and then proceeding to rinse the drinking glasses, without removing or changing the gloves.  (Hotel Hygiene article)

hotels and hygiene - hidden germs in hotels - hotel cleaningBringing your own plastic glasses and avoiding the glasses in the room is a no-brainer.  Ice buckets don’t seem much safer with one report finding germs five times the accepted level – running the bucket under hot, hot water for 2 minutes or more is a good idea.

Initiate your own wipe down of certain items

Hotel Hygiene Tip #3

Items like the remote control, the phone, and door handles are common breeding grounds for germs and viruses.

Bringing your own anti-bacterial wipes and giving them a good sweep is an extra level of protection.

Add frequent hand-washing to the mix as well.

Bring Slippers or Flip-Flops

Hotel Hygiene Tip #4

While the floors may be vacuumed every day, there is still a high level of mold, germs, and bodily fluids found in hotel carpets.  Not going barefoot is a safe step (literally)!

Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite

Hotel Hygiene Tip #5

Bed bugs are not only a nuisance in the hotel room but you can bring them home with you and find yourself with a home infestation. Check the Bed Bug Registry to see reports on the hotel where you are staying.

hotels and hygiene - hidden germs in hotels- bedbugsExperts say check surfaces for signs of infestation – such as tiny rust-colored spots on sheets, seams, and bed skirts. Lift the mattress to check out the bed frame and headboard because those are popular hiding spots for bed bugs. Elevate your luggage away from the bed, or store it in the closet as far away from the bed as possible.

Bedbugs are right at home in cracks and crevices like those in mattresses, especially in hotels, where they’re waiting to hitchhike a ride home with you inside your luggage.

Once they get home with you, bedbugs are one guest that doesn’t know when it’s time to leave. Just one female can deposit up to five eggs a day and up to 500 during their life span.

Bedbugs bite people, often at night, and become engorged with their blood. The bites cause welts, itching, and swelling.

Certainly, we have all stayed at hotels with no issues occurring, but especially now which is during the busy travel time of summer when there are more guests and hotel staff may be stretched thin, take our Hotel Hygiene Tips into account so that germs have less of an impact on your vacation.

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