Bed Bugs Have Found a New Home: Airplanes. Here's How to Spot Them

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iStock

Few people expect intercontinental air travel to be terribly comfortable, but for the most part, we do expect it to be clean. So it's particularly horrifying to hear that in addition to worrying about things like making it through security, fighting fellow passengers for overhead bin space, and praying you aren't sitting in front of someone who will kick the back of your seat for the whole flight, you also have to worry about insect infestation when you fly. According to Thrillist and Fox5NY, Air India has had multiple reports of bed bugs in its business-class seats. It's not the first airline to receive bed bug complaints, either, so if you travel frequently, you should probably learn how to spot these pests.

On July 17 and July 19, two separate Air India passengers tweeted about seeing—and being bitten by—bed bugs on flights from the New York City area to India. And it wasn't in economy—one of the passengers said he paid $10,000 for business-class tickets for his wife and three children. After 17 hours in the air with bed bugs as seat mates, the passengers disembarked bloody and covered in bites. The Times of India reported that the airline had received reports of bed bugs on another flight on a different aircraft, but "appears to have ignored them."

But you can't just swear off Air India and assume you'll be safe from bugs on your next flight with another carrier. In 2017, a passenger flying from Canada to the UK on British Airways said that she and her daughter were bitten during their flight, too. In 2010 and 2011, British Airways and United Airlines both had bed bug infestations that left passengers riddled with bite marks. Travelers can easily carry bed bugs from their hotel onto a plane and then into their homes, and short of delaying every flight while the crew inspects and treats every seat, there's not much airlines can do to stop it.

The best you can do is be vigilant, and if you do see bed bugs (first, make sure you know what one looks like) tell a crew member immediately. To minimize your own exposure, cover yourself up—bed bugs can't bite through your clothes—and bring your own pillow and blanket. To really ensure you and your clothes stay bug-free, bring your own protective seat cover to put over your plane seat. You’ll look pretty wacky to your fellow passengers, but you'll have an extra layer of protection.

And before you attack your airline for exposing you to an infestation, consider your own role. Since bed bug bites might not become apparent until a day or two after you're bitten, it's possible that you might not notice them if you've only been at your hotel a short time. If bugs are biting you in your airplane seat, it's very possible that you're actually the one who brought them on the plane in the first place. That's why one expert, Joe Ballenger of Ask an Entomologist, told Lifehacker that he recommends alerting both your airline and all the hotels you stayed in if you find bed bugs after your trip.

[h/t Thrillist]

6 Protective Mask Bundles You Can Get On Sale

pinkomelet/iStock via Getty Images Plus
pinkomelet/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Daily life has changed immeasurably since the onset of COVID-19, and one of the ways people have had to adjust is by wearing protective masks out in public places, including in parks and supermarkets. These are an essential part of fighting the spread of the virus, and there are plenty of options for you depending on what you need, whether your situation calls for disposable masks to run quick errands or the more long-lasting KN95 model if you're going to work. Check out some options you can pick up on sale right now.

1. Cotton Face Masks; $20 for 4

Protective Masks with Patterns.
Triple7Deals

This four-pack of washable cotton face masks comes in tie-dye, kids patterns, and even a series of mustache patterns, so you can do your part to mask germs without also covering your personality.

Buy it: $20 for four (50 percent off)

2. CE- and FDA-Approved KN95 Mask; $50 for 10

A woman putting on a protective mask.
BetaFresh

You’ve likely heard about the N95 face mask and its important role in keeping frontline workers safe. Now, you can get a similar model for yourself. The KN95 has a dual particle layer, which can protect you from 99 percent of particles in the air and those around you from 70 percent of the particles you exhale. Nose clips and ear straps provide security and comfort, giving you some much-needed peace of mind.

Buy it: $50 for 10 (50 percent off)

3. Three-Ply Masks; $13 for 10

Woman wearing a three-ply protective mask.
XtremeTime

These three-ply, non-medical, non-woven face masks provide a moisture-proof layer against your face with strong filtering to keep you and everyone around you safe. The middle layer filters non-oily particles in the air and the outer layer works to block visible objects, like droplets.

Buy it: $13 for 10 (50 percent off)

4. Disposable masks; $44 for 50

A batch of disposable masks.
Odash, Inc.

If the thought of reusing the same mask from one outing to the next makes you feel uneasy, there’s a disposable option that doesn’t compromise quality; in fact, it uses the same three-layered and non-woven protection as other masks to keep you safe from airborne particles. Each mask in this pack of 50 can be worn safely for up to 10 hours. Once you're done, safely dispose of it and start your next outing with a new one.

Buy it: $44 for 50 (41 percent off)

5. Polyester Masks; $22 for 5

Polyester protective masks.
Triple7Deals

These masks are a blend of 95 percent polyester and 5 percent spandex, and they work to block particles from spreading in the air. And because they're easily compressed, they can travel with you in your bag or pocket, whether you're going to work or out to the store.

Buy it: $22 for five (56 percent off)

6. Mask Protector Cases; $15 for 3

Protective mask case.
Triple7Deals

You're going to need to have a stash of masks on hand for the foreseeable future, so it's a good idea to protect the ones you’ve got. This face mask protector case is waterproof and dust-proof to preserve your mask as long as possible.

Buy it: $15 for three (50 percent off)

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Instead of Taco Tuesday, Sweden Celebrates Taco Friday (or Taco Fredag)

ptpower, iStock via Getty Images
ptpower, iStock via Getty Images

If you think Swedish cuisine is limited to meatballs and herring, you've never celebrated Fredagsmys—the Swedish version of Taco Tuesday. The day, which translates to "cozy Fridays," is a chance for Swedes to get together with loved ones and eat comfort food at the end of a long week. And instead of indulging in more traditional Swedish fare, the Fredagsmys cuisine of choice is Tex-Mex.

Fredagsmys takes the already-Americanized taco and puts a Swedish spin on it. On Taco Fredag (Taco Friday), ingredients like tortillas, ground meat, peppers, and tomatoes are laid out smörgåsbord-style. The spread may also include some toppings that are rarely served with tacos outside of Scandinavia, such as yogurt, cucumber, peanuts, and pineapple. After assembling their meal, diners enjoy it in a cozy spot in front of the TV, ideally surrounded by pillows and candles.

The Swedish tradition of starting the weekend with a taco feast has only been around for a couple of decades. In the 1990s, the Swedish potato chip company OLW introduced the slogan “Now it’s cozy Friday time” into the national lexicon. Old El Paso capitalized on this concept with its own ad campaign showing Swedes how to assemble tacos at home. The Swedish spice company Santa Maria noticed the emerging trend and further popularized the idea of eating tacos on Fridays in its TV advertisements.

Tacos may be the food that's most closely associated with Fredagsmys today, but any quick junk food is appropriate for the occasion. Burgers and pizza are also popular items, as are candy, chips, and popcorn. The meal makes up just one part of the night: Settling in on the couch in pajamas to watch TV with loved ones is just as important as the food.

Making time for comforting indoor activities is a necessity in Sweden, where the weather is harsh and daylight is scarce for much of the year. The Danish do something similar with hygge, although tacos aren't an explicit part of that tradition.