WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- A woman who stayed for a night in a West Springfield hotel is speaking out after she says her son got bit by bed bugs.
Czhanell McCray doesn't live in western Massachusetts, but she wanted to warn travelers locally and spoke exclusively with Western Mass News about how a few small bugs caused bigger problems for her family.
"On our way home, early afternoon, he really started profusely scratching really bad," McCray said.
After a day of shooting hoops in a local basketball tournament, McCray's 14-year-old son was taking home more than a trophy.
McCray told us over video chat that the night before, something had bitten her son.
"I just said mosquitoes must have, you know, gotten a hold of you," McCray added.
However. the scratching got worse and after taking her son to urgent care, McCray noted, "the doctor didn't even want to touch him. She just, you know, looked at him and said well, this is the bed bug situation here."
McCray showed Western Mass News the doctor’s note with the diagnosis. She said she called the hotel where she and her son stayed - the Hampton Inn in West Springfield - to report the issue.
"Just want to make people aware to, when they're coming to any hotel, just to make sure that they, which I found out they, strip down the bed, check the bed boards, look up under the mattresses," McCray said.
We went to the West Springfield Health Department. Their records show two bed bugs were found by a pest management company a few days after McCray and her son checked out.
The report showed the bugs were likely introduced recently to the room and that it was treated and ventilated.
Western Mass News reached out to the Hampton Inn and they said "The hotel employs a comprehensive detection program which maintains the highest levels of vigilance." They went on to say that they refunded McCray's stay, but McCray said the issue will end up costing her more in extermination fees.
"Now we have to, out of inconvenience, have to get my home bombed," McCray said.
Health department officials said they've seen increase in community bed bug reports in the last five years.
"The fact that people travel so much has increased the likelihood of being exposed," said West Springfield public health nurse Mary Allen.
Health officials said the best thing you can do is check your hotel bed before sleeping in it, along mattress seams, headboards, and baseboards.
"They're not as small as a tick, they're a little bit bigger...like an adult would probably be the size of a normal house fly," said Lauren Kennedy with the West Springfield Health Department.
Something, the size of a fly has caused much bigger problems for McCray's family.
"The uncomfortability that he's saying, the pain that he's saying. How many showers that he has to take, he's home from school. I'm taking half days from work just to come check on him to make sure he's all right. The doctors tell him that's going to take awhile for this thing to go away," McCray said.