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Bedbugs: The dirty secret of NYC

If you don't live or work in NYC, you probably should be thankful. Bedbugs are EVERYWHERE! Since DDT (which killed bedbugs—and, I'm sure, made everyone sick) was banned years ago, they've made resurgence and NYC is being hammered. (Let me say that thankfully SHAPE's offices—as have the offices of everyone in our building—have been declared clean by bedbug experts.) Abercrombie and Fitch's stores in Manhattan were closed and fumigated after bedbugs were discovered there, Bergdorf Goodman (the elite department store favored by celebs) was fumigated—as were the offices of numerous buildings (including–from what I've heard—Time Warner's building) all over NYC. Disgusting? ABSOLUTELY. But a fact of life. If you're worried about bedbugs, as I (and everyone in NYC is), here's a commonsense primer.

1) NEVER EVER sit on a bed with street clothes (anything you've worn outside the house) or clothes you've been traveling in. Bedbugs can attach themselves to your clothing and hop off at a moment's notice. I've taken to changing my clothes as soon as I get home—and washing everything in hot water before wearing again.

2) NEVER EVER drag your suitcase or any bag that's been outside beyond your front door or front hallway, particularly if it's made of any cloth (which bedbugs attach themselves to). I had to inform a friend of mine from California about this when she came to visit; her comment "Wow, no one talks at all about this in California!"

3) NEVER EVER wear your shoes in your house. We often talk about this at SHAPE to help prevent sneezing and sniffling if you have allergies (you can track in pollen on your shoes, etc), but now it's even more important.

4) SKIP THE MOVIE THEATERS with their cloth seats. Sorry to be a downer, but watching a movie in the comfort of your own home is probably the most hygienic. (My derm also mentioned that those cloth seats in the theaters can transmit lice too. Yuck!)

These are all good hygienic habits to follow even if you're not concerned about bedbugs...just had to share!

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