What should I do to keep from bringing bed bugs with me if I leave my house?

If you've got bed bugs, you have a bigger problem than just your own house. You could potentially spread them to your friends, your office, or really any other place that you go. You've got a responsibility to try to keep from taking them with you. And because most people keep living in their houses, often even during treatment, you should try to do whatever you can to reduce the risk that you're going to pass your problem onto your friends. There are a couple of basic precautions you should take.
   

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1) Bring as little with you as possible. This is the key thing - bed bugs hide all over the place. They're not just in your bed. Whatever you take with you could potentially carry them outside of your house. Purses are a big one for women, and if you're staying overnight (a common theme is that people will try to escape bed bugs by staying with their friends) your suitcase, your pillow, your toiletry bag - any of those could have bed bugs in them. If you don't absolutely need it, don't bring it into someone else's home.

2) Don't store things you regularly take outside your house in your bedroom. This isn't a guarantee of safety, but it will help at least somewhat. They are more likely to be in there than elsewhere (but remember, they could be anywhere in your house - it's just that there's probably a higher concentration around your bed).

3) If you are staying overnight, pack your clothes directly from the dryer into a brand-new plastic bag. Garbage bags are great for this. The washer/dryer will have killed any bed bugs - and you won't be carrying around a suitcase that has been sitting in your house, with lots of little crevices that look inviting for them to hide in.

4) Buy any toiletries you need - don't bring the ones in your house. Just go get the cheap travel toiletries from a convenience store before you arrive.

5) If you're evacuating your house, don't bring a pillow, sheets, etc. - Those all could have eggs on them, if not the bed bugs themselves.

6) Leave stuff you regularly take out of the house in your car. You're much less likely to spread infestations that way.

7) Sprays can be helpful for killing any bed bugs on stuff you are removing from your house. They're not great for the long term, but they are a good precaution to take if you're bringing anything outside your home. Again, though, they are NOT perfect. You can't ever be sure you got the spray into every nook and cranny of whatever you're taking out.

8) If you have friends kind enough to let you stay with them, go straight to a hot shower - and dump your clothes strait in the washer. Do this anytime you're coming from the bed-bug infested home.

Remember, no precaution is perfect. There's always going to be a risk - but you should be responsible and do what you can to minimize the problem.

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