Staying healthy during the ravages of cold and flu season can be a real chore, but many people worry about these illnesses without giving much thought to a much bigger health threat: rodents. During the colder months of the year, rodents seek refuge inside many homes. In fact, it’s estimated that 21 million homes are infested with rodents every single year. Here’s how mice and rats invade your home, the health issues they can bring with them, and what you can do about it.
What Are They Looking For?
In the winter, mice and rats are looking for the same thing you are – a warm place to live. They shelter themselves in your home for the heat and the food, sneaking in through even the tiniest crevices to set up shop.
The problem they present to your health is the bacteria they bring with them. Their feces accumulate and can contaminate your food. When it dries, you can breathe particles in and are put at increased risk for a variety of very serious illnesses. Remember that whole “black plague” thing in Europe that took out a third of the population of Europe in the 14th century? Yeah, rats were to blame for that!
The Health Risks
If you’re not a little bit worried about rodents in your home, you really should be. Here are a few of the things rodents have been known to spread to humans:
Hantavirus – This is a disease that has the potential to be life-threatening. People become infected with this virus by breaking in the droppings or saliva of infected rodents. The symptoms of this disease include fever, fatigue, and muscle aches that may eventually lead to chills, dizziness, abdominal issues, and headaches.
Bubonic Plague – And here is the “black plague.” This is a highly contagious disease spread by the fleas that live on rodents and it can cause headache, fever, and painful, swollen lymph nodes. If you think the days of the black plague are behind, you are wrong! A girl got it in Colorado in 2012 on a camping trip.
Salmonellosis – This is a type of food poisoning generally spread by contamination of rodent feces. It can cause fever, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 40,000 people fall ill from Salmonella every year in the United States.
Rat-Bite Fever – This would make a catchy tune, but it’s definitely not something you want to catch. This infection is potentially fatal and is transmitted to human by rodents through contaminated food. Symptoms don’t normally occur until 3 to 10 days after exposure and can cause muscle pain, headaches, vomiting, rash, and fever.
What You Can Do
Remember, rodents can do a number on your home as well as your health, so it’s important to keep them from getting into your home. Your best bet is to have a professional from Green Army come out and perform an inspection. They can help you find out if you have a rodent infestation, help you get rid of them if you do, or help you avoid them in the first place! Call us today!