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BED BUGS-How Not to Get Them!

Discussion in 'Medical Problems' started by John Hussey, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    I have never had a comment from a hospitaliero regarding using my own sheet which leads me to the conclusion that the albergue is more interested in keeping their mattress clean, rather than any concern about our welfare.

    As for the Fitted Sheet Solution, we do not have a problem with bed sizes in the UK or Europe, but be aware that the USA, UK and Europe have slightly different ideas about the size of a “single mattress”. Somewhere on this Forum we had a learned discussion on the relative sizes of various national bed sizes, but generally they are all within an inch or so of each other and I had no problem using a standard UK single fitted sheet.

    You can get “deep” fitted sheets for those who have fancy and probably expensive thick mattresses, but “el cheapo” fitted sheets from my local supermarket don’t seem to assume that those seeking the cheapest sheets have expensive thick mattresses!! I throw my sheet and pillow case cover away when I am on my way to Santiago airport!

    Total cost of a single fitted sheet, a pillow case and 500ml of SkitoStop (1% Permethrin prepackaged solution) is $20. $20 is in my book, a good investment in exchange for 40 nights of total bed bug defence. Having soaked my sheet etc, I use some of the remaining solution to spray my pack inside and out, and my fleece. Some years ago I paid $60 for a pre-treated silk sleeping bag liner but the problem with the liner is that you need to keep your arms inside the liner otherwise the bugs who wander the mattress can still have a feast on your hands and arms.

    One other benefit of the fitted sheet concept is that in June-September many of the albergues are full at night and therefore get quite warm. With the fitted sheet covering all the top and sides of the mattress, you can sleep without having to use the sleeping bag which can get quite hot!
     
  2. juliecarteraz

    juliecarteraz New Member

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    Hey Covey: I purchased a fitted twin sheet at a thrift store in the US. I plan to treat it with permethrin. I will also spray my backpack. Would you also recommend that I treat my sleeping bag liner as well? I will not be carrying a sleeping bag. Thanks for any recommendation you can provide.
     
  3. BBK

    BBK New Member

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    Covey/John: I have the Permethrin spray bottle. How would you recommend treating my gear? I think my pack and down sleeping bag ill just spray but my silk bag liner and single fitted sheet I should soak. Sound good?
     
  4. John Hussey

    John Hussey Super Moderator

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    BBK:
    I just sprayed down each item until it was very damp with the spray, both inside and out, spray-soaking the sleeping bag, silk liner, and sheet if you are taking one. I did it on my back porch in a well ventilated area. Once very damp, I stuffed the items inside a plastic bag and squeezed the items into a tight, damp ball, twisted the bag closed, tied it off and left it so for about 24 hours. Then I removed the items and hung them outside on a clothes line to air out until dry. I also did my pack but just sprayed it inside and out. Since it had metal stays I elected not to put it inside the bag.

    I had purchased a 24 ounce spray bottle of the Sawyers Permethrin from Amazon and just used half of it. It comes pre-mixed, so no dilution is required.I am going to do the same thing shortly using the remaining half with the very same items for another Camino. Except, I may add a sheet, if I can find one with shallow pockets (8 inch) to match the beds on the Camino. The only ones sold now in the US that I can find are the fitted sheets with the extremely deep pockets ( up to 21" and beyond) and, while some variants are extremely cheap, just $5.00 in discount stores like Walmart, they have so much material for the deeper pocket mattresses that they are much heavier than need be and will never stretch tight when used on the thin mattresses of the Camino. Apparently we do not sell any of the shallow-depth mattresses anymore.

    I have found only one source, and it online, for a fitted sheet for 8" mattresses in twin size but it is a special order item, made when ordered, and will cost almost $50.00 And, it is made with only a thin, 200 thread count material. But, at least it will be lighter, just may not last very long.

    Its amazing stuff, the Permethrin. The molecules of it actually cling to the material you are applying it to and will last quite a long time, even through many repeat washings so long as they are not agitated off from clinging to the fibers of the material treated. If you apply it to your clothes, and I might this time, only hand wash and rinse the items and not use a washer and especially not a dryer. That kind of lends itself quite well to "The Camino" life, right?
     
  5. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    I should not worry about how thick the mattresses are!! El Camino is not blessed with overly comfortable beds and mattresses so I would go for the cheapest single fitted sheet you can.

    I always wash a new sheet 3-4 times to get all the dressing the manufacturer puts in the material to make it feel thick and smooth and then pop it in to a plastic bag, pour in enough solution to soak all the material, leave for 24 hours, and then dry.
     
  6. BBK

    BBK New Member

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    Thank you Gents. I appreciate hearing from your experience. I have 18 days until I set off and I promise to report back when I get home in June.
     
  7. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    Buen Camino BBK!
     
  8. juliecarteraz

    juliecarteraz New Member

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    John/Covey: Do you think it is necessary to treat both the bed sheet and my sleeping bag liner? I will not be taking a sleeping bag. Thanks for any insight either of you might have. I will be on the Camino (hopefully) beginning May 10th or so.
     
  9. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    You may as well as you are going to be doing the sheet AND pillow case!
     
  10. Elizabeth2014

    Elizabeth2014 Member

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    Hi folks: On the permethrin front, it's something we can't get in Canada. I went to the States and brought back two bottles of the Sawyer -- bought it at REI. I'll use it for my sleeping bag and pack.
    I am going in mid April to late May next year -- will I really need to treat my liner too?
    I am also considering your suggestion around the fitted sheet Covey, but am a bit concerned about weight as I don't want to carry more than 15lbs.
     
  11. Covey

    Covey Active Member

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    The sheet is worth the weight!!! If you just use the liner on the mattress, then your arms are going to come in to contact with the mattress at some point, and if any of the little critters are around, they will be up close and personal in a flash.

    Worse than that, they will try and hitch a lift with you to the next albergue in your pack and clothes. The cure for bedbugs is tedious because everything you have needs to go in a very hot wash and then tumble dried. If they hitch a lift home with you, it will cost you thousands of dollars to get rid of them from your house.

    Men don't worry too much about insect bites, but three years ago at Zubiri I came across a very good looking girl who had bites all over her face and neck and the bites had swollen up in to welts and frankly she was freaking out!

    15lbs is an admirable target, but go for 17lbs and sleep soundly on your sheet.

    Buen camino.
     
  12. Elizabeth2014

    Elizabeth2014 Member

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    Point taken! Thanks, Covey!
     
  13. cbar2807

    cbar2807 New Member

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    Leslie,
    I will be walking the Camino Frances starting late August - do you know if there are a lot of mosquitos along the route?
    Thanks Jim
     
  14. John Hussey

    John Hussey Super Moderator

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    There are no mosquitoes anywhere in Europe, any that pose you any biting harm, at least. Never fear an occasional mosquitoe bite and I have lived in Europe and nary a one has ever bitten me,. Bed bugs though, do frighten me a bunch!
     
  15. Dutch

    Dutch Member

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    No mosquitoes in europe????? I am european and can tell you, ofcourse there are mosquitoes here. You will find mosquittos all over the world, except probably antarctica. The mosquitos may not all be the same or may not all be as dangerous as in some parts of the world, but you will find one or many sorts of biting mosquitos in every country troughout europe and they DO bite....and if you get bitten, they will all leave an irritating visable itchy mark. I have spend many a night chasing the mosquitoes in my own room 'cause they were keeping me awake with all that annoying buzzing around my head and if and when i finally caught the bugger, it would leave a nasty bloodstain on the wall....my blood.

    Mosquitos are everywhere, also in europe, also in spain and again, the bite of european mosquitoes may not be dangerous to you health, but it will surely irritate the hell out of you and can disturb a good nights rest for many hours, if unlucky.
     
  16. Hobbler

    Hobbler Active Member

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    There certainly are! While I did not experience them in Spain that was probably due to the time of year, September/October, when the temperature was dropping. In Slovakia and Austria I was badly bitten by them and the resulting swellings were excruciatingly itchy. Nikwax sell a lotion which is both a sun-block and an insect repellent. I used it all the time in Spain so that helped keep me safe too.
     
  17. Leslie

    Leslie Administrator

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    Just replying to above re my use. I would not bother with deet again. I had one area along the CF where I encountered a problem and it was only for a short period one afternoon, also this was not along the main route but a extension area. Also I would not use deet again on my bed.

    however last year walking the Le Puy route I would have went mad without something against the flys and mosis.
     
  18. ccinla

    ccinla Guest

    Hi~
    I really want to thank you all for great ideas and sharing your experiences.
    For the use of Permethrin, I was able to find spray with 0.5% Permethrin and liquid with 10% indoor/outdoor use.
    Does it matter which one to use? or Which one is better to use for best result?
    Spray could be easier to use but liquid sounds better for the method I've learned from this forum.
    Any recommendation? Thank you~
     
  19. Don Que

    Don Que New Member

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    Let me add my voice to the others who have posted; there are definitely biting (female) mosquitoes in Europe. I remember being warned back in 1996, while in Lisieux in Normandy, to keep my bedroom window closed at night as the guesthouse was very close to the stream ie. their breeding ground.

    I was once attacked by a solitary mosquito in a B&B in Antrim! Took me nearly an hour to track her down as she disappeared each time I turned the light on. I eventually figured out her hiding place - on top of the light shade. My theory about that one is that it must have come in on the luggage at the nearby airport.
     
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  20. Maur

    Maur New Member

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    I had a treated sleeping bag liner and DID get bed bug bites. Mostly on my arms, as they were outside the liner. This was in Sept 2011. And I was miserable. I did get a shot at the health clinic which helped considerably. Next time, I will bring treated sheets and an untreated pillowcase so my face isn't in the permethrin. I luckily came upon an albergue that had a washing machine. The hosts were very kind, helped me wash everything and treated my pack and unwashables in a big black garbage bag which they sprayed and left out in the sun for the entire afternoon. No problems after that.
     
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  21. Snowwhite

    Snowwhite Member

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    Hi I had the same issue this year. I had a sleeping bag liner that was pretreated and I was bitten by bed bugs twice. I react quite badly to them and the bites really itch. The liners don't work as well as like you have said your arms are outside the liner. I went the pharmacy and got a cream which made the itching stop.
     
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  22. Daniel Bowater

    Daniel Bowater Member

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    I sprayed my sleeping bag fabric thoroughly with permetharin spray before leaving home. Never had an issue with bed bugs for my Camino. Some of the other guys had issues in the last bit of the pilgrimage. Remarkably they copped an almighty spray from the albergue hosts as they were subsequently accused of transferring them. So you won't get much sympathy if you get attacked by the vicious critters (bed bugs! That is!)
     
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