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The Truth About Hotel Rooms | T+L Family

Dust Mites

Expert Opinion Dr. Sandra M. Gawchik, an allergist at Crozer Chester Medical Center in Chester, Pennsylvania, says that allergy- and asthma-triggering dust mites reproduce so rapidly that regular laundering and vacuuming can’t stave them off. Still, these cloth- and carpet-lovers bother only those who are allergic—causing sneezing, stuffiness, and itchy eyes.

Prescription For family members with dust-mite sensitivity, strip beds of spreads and throw pillows, and use dustproof pillowcases brought from home. Or ask for a freshly laundered case and stuff it with clean towels. Beyond that, relax—after all, there are plenty of dust mites in your own home.

Pet Dander

Expert Opinion A pet-friendly hotel is the doghouse for allergy and asthma sufferers. According to Dr. Gawchik, standard cleaning won’t eliminate the sticky dander pets shed: it attaches to all surfaces in every room they pass through.

Prescription If animal dander bothers you, steer clear of hotels that accept furry guests.

Athlete’s Foot

Expert Opinion Dr. Arnold S. Ravick, of the American Podiatric Medical Association, says that this fungal infection is often contracted in hotel rooms. Luckily, most of us won’t catch the itch—our immune systems fight it off.

Prescription Wear socks or slippers around the room, and flip-flops in the shower, although the spores can still splash onto your feet. Your best bet is to swab the bathroom floor and tub with disinfecting wipes when you arrive, then rinse thoroughly. For extra protection, keep your feet dry and spray them with an antifungal medicine (Desenex and Neosporin AF are safe for kids over two).

Whirlpool Germs

Expert Opinion Tubs with jets may be fun for kids, but according to Dr. Rita Moyes, a microbiologist at Texas A&M University, they’re also a potential source of diseases. In Moyes’s 2000 study, 100 percent of water samples taken from whirlpool tubs tested positive for agents that can cause rashes, urinary-tract infections, or pneumonia. The pipes of the whirlpool—rather than the tub itself—are where the nasties hide.

Prescription You can get away with bathing in a regular tub—especially if you swab it with a disinfectant wipe, paying attention to the drain, where the most bacteria amass—but steer clear of a jetted one, which requires (but likely doesn’t get) regular flushings of bleach through the pipes, followed by thorough rinsing. Best bet: Stick with the shower.


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