Having pests in your home or yard is never a good thing. Rodents and insects are irritating and unsanitary, and they can cause hundreds of dollars in damage to your home. But the bigger threat that household pests present are diseases and injuries that affect your familys health. Keep your family safe by knowing the health risks of common pests and ways to prevent those illnesses.
Rodents: Mice and rats can carry diseases into your home through parasites and feces. So even if there are no longer rodents in your home, dust that has been in contract with mouse excrement can carry hantavirus - which is linked to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome or HPS - salmonella, and other toxins.
Roaches: It looks like cockroaches are going to outlive all of us. These insects that can supposedly survive a nuclear bomb also have the capability of spreading disease without picking up as much of the bacteria themselves. Cockroaches have been known to spread E. coli, salmonella, streptococcus, and other diseases.
Spiders: Spiders dont pose much of a problem until they bite. If you or a family member has been bitten by a spider, try to identity the species first. Most spiders do not release poisonous venom. If this is the case, you will need to wash the bite with soap and water to prevent infection. You can cover the bite with ice or a cold compress if it is painful, and you should check for signs of allergic reaction.
If the bite is venomous, you could seek medical attention immediately. You can slow the spread of venom by wrapping a bandage tightly - without cutting off circulation - above the arm or leg where the bite is located or by placing a cold cloth on other parts of the body.
Ticks: Ticks have been known to spread several diseases depending on location, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever and, most commonly, Lyme disease. Although there are all sorts of suggestions on how to remove ticks, irritating the tick by burning it or covering it with any substance can cause it to inject fluid into your wound. The best way is to carefully use tweezers.
Fleas: Back in the day, fleas were a big carrier for the bubonic plague. Because that particular disease is no longer common in humans, you should be concerned about murine typhus, tapeworm, and different forms of Bartonella. Your pets have a larger risk of being infected with an illness, such as cat-scratch disease.
Mosquitoes: Even with citronella candles and bug spray, its likely that you will get mosquito bites if you live in an area thats full of these insects. For a typical bite, you should wash the infected area and avoid scratching. Calamine lotion, Aloe Vera, and a mixture of baking soda and water can all help reduce swelling, itching, and the potential of infection. See a doctor if the bite is very hot to the touch because its likely infected.
Mosquitoes are known for transmitting both malaria and the West Nile Virus. However, mosquitoes from different areas can carry different diseases. If you experience any intense symptoms like headaches or nausea after being bitten, seek medical assistance.
Now that we have established that the threat is present, what should you do to protect your home and your familys health from these hazardous insects and rodents?
The first step is to keep your house clean. Pests are generally looking for food and shelter, so if you eliminate any spills or food residue, your house becomes less appealing. You should also check your home for any entry points - doors that do not seal completely, holes in your baseboards, gaps around pipes and other parts outside where rodents or insects can get in and seal them up.
You can use household pesticides, but use them sparingly and carefully as pesticides can cause health problems on their own. If you have further problems, call in professional pest control services. These technicians will deal with your pest issues in a way thats effective and safe for your family.
Drew Kobb loves long-distance running and considers himself a health and fitness enthusiast. He uses that passion in writing for his blog www.doctorouch.com