Little girl and mummy bitten by bed bugs on flight

Little girl and mummy bitten by bed bugs on flight

This family got bitten by bed bugs on flight, "Me and my daughter are both really sensitive to insect bites, so she was just covered just all over."

On 10 October, Mummy Heather Szilagyi was flying from Vancouver to London with her seven-year-old daughter Molly, and fiance, Eric Neilson, on British Airways, when she saw something that gave her the creepy crawlies.

Little girl and mummy bitten by bed bugs on flight

To Heather’s horror, she noticed bed bugs crawling out from behind the TV monitor in front of her. She tried to catch them but they managed to escape.

She spotted them again during the flight, at meal times, and even informed the flight attendant. But all she received was a lame, “Oh ok, sorry about that. We’re sold out. We don’t have anywhere to move you.”

The rest of the night was spent worrying about them, and as Heather recounts to CTV News, “It was nine hours of knowing that I was probably going to get bit, but not being sure.” 

Her worst fears were to come true, for by the time they arrived at their final destination, Slovakia, both mummy and daughter were covered in bed bug bites.

Little girl and mummy bitten by bed bugs on flight


“Me and my daughter are both really sensitive to insect bites, so she was just covered just all over. I’ve still got a really infected one,” she told CTV News.

Airline apologises…

Not wanting to repeat the ordeal, Heather made frantic efforts to contact the airline, to ensure they didn’t have to travel back home on the same plane. But they were unable to get through to a customer service executive. 

“We were not asking for a refund. All we were asking for was a flight on a different plane, to make sure it was a different plane, to make sure that the plane that was infested with bed bugs was taken care of,” she clarifies.

Eventually she took to microblogging site Twitter to air her woes, tagging British Airlines. This time the response was swift. British Airways upgraded the family to business class for the flight home, and has since then, offered an apology.

Their statement reads, “We have been in touch with our customer to apologize and investigate further. British Airways operates more than 280,000 flights every year, and reports of bed bugs on board are extremely rare. Nevertheless, we are vigilant and continually monitor our aircraft.”

More and more reports are emerging of bed bugs on flights. Closer to home, in August this year, a passenger who had travelled by Scoot from Singapore to Hong Kong and back, had complained of bed bugs on flight.

What you need to know about bed bug bites

For the info, bedbugs are small, flat, reddish-brown parasites that usually reside and thrive in and around beds, and crevices in chairs and couches. They feed on blood, and usually attack when the prey is asleep.

Bites tend to occur on exposed areas of the body, such as the neck, face, feet, and arms. It’s no secret that bed bug bites are often very itchy, and the burning sensation on the skin may linger long after you’ve been bitten.

Bed bug bites look like little red bumps (similar to mosquito bites), and can occur in a zig-zag or line formation on the body.

The good news is that bed bugs are not known to transmit any disease. However, if you have sensitive skin, and are prone to itching and scratching, the bites may cause a severe allergic reaction, like engorged bite marks, painful swelling and burning at the bite site, and in rare cases, an anaphylactic response.

Preventing bed bug bites

  • Bed bug infestation is a common problem all over the world, and families travelling with young children should especially be wary of these tiny insects in hotel rooms.

When checking into hotel rooms, it is advisable to pull back sheets to look for little spots of blood on mattresses, or remove the sheets and look on and under the mattress.

To check for bed bugs on aeroplane seats, look out for little maroon or dark-coloured spots.

  • Keep your home uncluttered so bedbugs won’t have places to hide.
  • At home, change bedsheets once a week and vacuum floors regularly.
  • If you find bedbugs, wash all bedding, clothing, stuffed animals, etc., in hot water and dry on a hot setting.
  • Be careful when you buy used clothing or furniture. Always inspect them for bedbugs.

Treatment for bed bug bites

Medical treatment usually involves relieving the symptoms (like itching) caused by bedbug bites. In the rare cases of a systemic allergic reaction or a secondary skin infection, evaluation by a health care professional may be necessary. 

  • Bedbugs travel back home with you in bags and clothes, so if you come to know that you or your child has been to a bedbug infested place, wash your clothes with hot water (at least 60°C) as soon as you return home.

Also, put it in a sealed plastic bag until you can wash it.

  • In case of bed bug bites, it is important to keep the area clean. Wash the bites with soap and water.

  • Fight the itch. Calamine lotion, an anti-itch cream, or cool compresses can help with the itching. In some cases, antihistamine pills or creams can ease the itching. Bites usually clear up in 1-2 weeks.

  • The drier your skin, the more itchy it will be. So keep it well moisturised. Drink lots of water. Make sure to lather on a moisturiser (preferably fragrance-free) after a bath or shower.

  • It is advised not to scratch a bedbug bite (especially kids), because doing so can cause a secondary skin bacterial infection. If an infection does happen, a doctor may have to prescribe antibiotics to treat it.

Also READ: Singapore mum horrified to see baby’s bug bite grow bigger and BIGGER!

(Source: CTV News)

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