Deepak Chopra offers tips on Hotel Room Health

Bed Bug on Mattress

By Melvin Durai

I recently spotted an article in the New York Times entitled “Deepak Chopra’s Tips for a Healthier Hotel Room.” I was quite excited to read it. After all, Chopra is a New Age spiritual leader, as well as a doctor who specializes in alternative medicine, so isn’t it about time that he shared his expertise on hotel room health with us?

When I think about hotel room health, I mainly think of two things: (1) bed bugs; and (2) dangers to children.

Bed bugs have been a major problem in recent years, but if you stay in a good hotel, you probably have nothing to worry about. If you aren’t sure whether a hotel is good or not, here is an important tip: Good hotels change bedsheets after every guest stay. Bad hotels change sheets after every guest complaint.

Guest: “There are several stains on my sheets.”

Hotel manager: “That’s just a pattern, sir. Many people like our patterns.”

Guest: “You have a pattern of poor hygiene!”

Manager: “No need to get angry, sir. Art is in the eye of the beholder.”

Thankfully, I haven’t encountered bed bugs in any of my hotel stays, but I have been concerned about dangers to my children. That’s partly because my kids have a tendency, whenever we check into a hotel room, to explore it thoroughly.

The first thing they do, of course, is jump on the beds. I’m not sure why they do this, but I don’t complain, because it probably helps to get rid of any bed bugs.

Exploring a hotel room also involves crawling under the bed, tapping on the windows, pushing the buttons on the air conditioner or heater, testing the shower in the bathroom, and, of course, turning on the TV. These may seem like the harmless actions of inquisitive minds, but something unexpected could happen to hurt them. For example, the shower might be too hot, a loose spring might poke them under the bed, or Donald Trump might suddenly appear on the TV.

Chopra does not address potential harm to kids in his hotel health tips ”“ and neither does he mention bed bugs. But he does say that we should be concerned about germs. Many hotels have duvets ”“ soft quilts filled with down, feathers or synthetic fibers ”“ with removable covers that are easy to wash, but if you’re staying at a hotel that doesn’t have such duvets, Chopra suggests requesting that your bedspread be washed. I’ve never done this, but I’m going to give it a try next time.

Me: “Has the bedspread in my room been washed recently?”

Hotel manager: “Recently? Yes, it has been washed recently.”

Me: “This century or last?”

Manager: “This century, of course, sir. We opened only 12 years ago.”

Chopra also suggests using anti-bacterial wipes to clean objects that are handled often, such as TV remotes, door handles and telephones. This can be a little bit of a hassle. Instead of following Chopra’s advice, I’m going to make sure that I don’t touch remotes, door handles and telephones in hotel rooms. I’ll let my wife do all the touching.

To improve air quality in a hotel room, Chopra advises opening a window and letting in some fresh air. Letting in some fresh air is a good idea, but in certain parts of the world, including Delhi, you might also be letting in a few monkeys. Next thing you know, it’s not just your kids jumping on the beds.

Chopra also advises us to maximize natural light when staying in a hotel room, partly by requesting a room that faces the street rather than another building. We should also unplug the alarm clock and other devices that produce artificial light, he says. This is good advice. Next time I stay in a hotel, I’m going to immediately unplug the alarm clock and TV. I may also unplug my laptop computer ”“ as long as my battery is well-charged.

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