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My friends think I am nuts and often chuckle at me as I am running around my apartment making sure everything is in its place and spotless before I can walk out the door. Some call it OCD and I like to refer to it as a family tradition. They often laugh at me when I cringe at the thought of going to the movies. I cannot sit there and enjoy the movie due to the germ infestation.

Forget about an airplane, although I fly constantly, I have had to accept the inevitable. When I hop into a taxi, I will find a way to balance and not let even the smallest amount of my body touch the seat. Oh, and ever since I was a child, my parents taught me that upon entering a hotel room ripping off the comforter is a must.

By now you are probably convinced that I am the crazy germ-phobic lady, too. Perhaps, but remember that little thing your mom use to say before you closed your eyes at night? Sleep tight don’t let the bed bugs bite. You thought she was being cute and never thought there was much truth behind the statement. Well, guess what? Not anymore, those little critters stock is up 500 percent in the last few years. They no longer are taking up residence at the truck stop motel and have found their way into the beds of 5-star hotels. If that is not enough whip cream on your sundae, let’s add the cherry.

Bed bugs, more formally known as Cimex lectularius, are now hanging out in movie theaters and shopping malls. Laugh all you want about my idiosyncrasies, but there was indeed a method to my madness.

They can be the size of a pinhead to the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny. They lurk only at night due to their nocturnal lifestyle and thrive on human’s bare skin. Their diet consists of sucking blood from their victims, and can leave a person with up to 500 bites.

Places to look for bed bugs in a bedroom setting are in the wood of the box spring, the seams of the bed, nearby furniture or cracks in the paint. You can check if your hotel is safe on sites like The Bed Bug Registry and BedBugReports.com. They love to hide where fabric meets the plastic on your movie theater seat and under the armrest, as well. When trying on clothes in a fitting room do not, I repeat, do not sit on that disgusting padded seat. Always check out the seam of the clothes you are trying on and purchasing because they may have taken up residence in your shirt you bought for tonight, so do yourself a favor and wash it first. Doing these things will not only protect you, but your home as well. To Sleep tight and the bed bugs will not bite after this. Until next time my friends, visit www.raylenebartolacci.com. To health and wellness, salute.

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