5 Major Health Impacts of Rodent Infestation
Winter brings about many seasonal changes, some of which we look forward to, hot cocoa by the fire, warm blankets, cozy boots and sweaters, and for some of us, even snow! As we embrace the cold weather from inside the safety zone of our homes, we might not realize that rodents are looking to do the same. Since rats and mice do not hibernate in the winter as other animals do, they’re left to defend themselves against the harsh weather with nothing but the dull, greasy fur on their backs. Why would a rat burrow a hole somewhere outdoors when there’s a big warm house just waiting to be inhabited? Rodents would rather seek shelter within the warm sanctuary of your home and might already be desperately looking for entry-ways as we speak!
So why is this a bad thing? Well, unlike the rodents depicted in cartoons and television, rats and mice are far from harmless victims. Having just one of these rodents can pose a serious health risk to a family, but when having one turns into a rodent infestation? Then, we’re in for a whole world of trouble. There are far too many rodent infestation health risks to be named here in one blog, but we’ll discuss some of the most infamous health hazards that rodents bring into a home, as well as how to get rid of them and how to keep them out for good. Here are 5 major health impacts of rodent infestation.
Courtesy of Canva
This virus is spread through rodent feces, saliva, and urine. Once any of these natural components dry and turn to dust, the virus can become easily accessible to humans through airborne transmission. Hantavirus causes awful flu-like symptoms and can even be fatal for those with poor respiratory systems.
This disease can infect humans who’ve handled rodent carcasses without taking proper safety precautions, who’ve been bitten by a rat, or who’ve eaten food that has been contaminated by rodents carrying the virus. Hantavirus is one of the leading red-flags of rodent infestation. And the more rats or mice you have living in your home means there will be more feces, more saliva, and more urine! Let’s not forget to mention that rodents also tend to gravitate towards less populated, messier areas like the attic! Where they can easily burrow within your insulation, turning it into a nesting ground for their young and a brewing station for the deadly virus.
A disease that causes severe illness in patients (fever, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea…) that is often confused with other diagnoses. It can become active in the human body anywhere from 2 days to 4 weeks upon exposure, making it a more difficult virus to pinpoint. A person becomes infected through food, water, and soil that’s been contaminated by animals (rats, mice…) carrying the virus. The bacteria will enter the bloodstream easily, slipping through broken skin. It can also be transferred through contact with the mouth, nose, and eyes.
If a person starts exhibiting symptoms, they may go away after a while and resurface again weeks later. Usually, the second round is much more severe, oftentimes leading to kidney or liver failure, or even meningitis! Rodent infestations invite this virus into the home, and as these terrible critters gnaw on your food and build their nests near a water supply, (piping, etc…) you become endangered of ingesting the virus. Even accidental contact with soiled spots of urine can lead to infection.
Another bacterial disease. This virus travels to humans mostly through contaminated fecal matter. However, humans can also contract this disease by handling infected rodents, whether it be a live specimen or dead carcass. Salmonella may cause symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea and may eventually lead to arthritis in patients. Rodent infestations infect the home with numerous quantities of fecal matter, making it much easier for humans to contract this virus.
4. Rat-Bite Fever
This occurs when humans come into direct contact with a contaminated pest. It can enter the body through scratching or biting, but it is also capable of infecting a person through foods that have been partially consumed by rodents. Rat-Bite fever can travel through rodent feces as well, exhibits symptoms in patients very similar to all those listed prior.
5. House Fires
There’s no end to the reasons why you should always fight against rodent infestations. If diseases weren’t bad enough, there are house fires to worry about! Over 25% of fires started in the home are caused by rats and mice. These pesky critters are always on the lookout for predators and therefore, have to move about as stealthy as possible all the time. This means that they prefer to navigate through the walls instead of scurrying across the floor in plain sight. The problem with that, other than everything discussed before, is that electrical wiring now becomes vulnerable to these pests. Rodent teeth are always growing and require constant gnawing to keep the incisors down. Rats find wires extremely hard to resist and won’t hesitate to bite them up.
How to Prevent Rodent Infestation
Now that we’ve listed some of the major concerns of rodent infestations, it’s time to make sure they never occur! Following these steps will ensure that rodents stay out of your home for good.
First things first, you must give your home an ultimate defense against these critters. Look for holes in your foundation, door frames, attics, and screens. Keep in mind that rats can fit through holes the size of a quarter, and mice, the size of a dime! Use caulking to fill up any gaps and steel mesh as a means to block rodents from chewing their way indoors.
Rodents love to inhabit areas that are messy and disorganized. It gives them plenty of places to hide and feel safe. Definitely not what we want! By keeping your home organized, you’re deterring rats and mice from your home as it becomes too risky of a place for them to stay, lest they are found out and abolished by humans. This also goes for food. You’d be surprised by how keen a rodent’s sense of smell can be. Keep all food sealed within airtight containers or in the refrigerator and be sure to wipe off the counters from any crumbs.
Rodent Infestation Remediation
Unfortunately for some of us, rodents might’ve already broken indoors. If this is the case, it’s important to keep the animals from breeding and turning your home into the grounds for an infestation. You can battle the rodents yourself using traps and following the rodent proofing procedures listed above but remember that it doesn’t take long for rodents to breed. It takes only six weeks for a female rat to mature and produce a litter of 6-13 pups! Whereas the average rat can have up to 4 litters a year, mice can have up to 10 litters a year. Yikes!
With all the diseases to worry about, it wouldn’t be wise to try to eliminate the rats on your own if you’re not an experienced trapper. Thankfully, that’s why we have rodent infestation control. Calling your local pest control is always a viable option and one of the best rodent infestation remediation's out there. Green Rat Control has over 20 years of experience dealing with pesky rodents on a regular basis. Contacting the professionals is a safe way to ensure rodents and their awful diseases never intrude your home again.