3 Types of Household Health Risks
When do you start thinking about pest control? Is it when you see a spider in a bathtub, or a troop of ants crawling on your kitchen floor? Is it when your neighbour finds a mouse in their garage, or when a hornet's nest appears above your patio? Odds are, unless you see a pest, you aren't actively thinking about one.
However, is an "out of sight, out of mind" approach the best for pests? We should remember that the reason we have become skittish about rodents and bugs is because of the problems they cause, and not merely because of their appearance.
Pests can cause, or carry, a variety of different health risks when inside your home, regardless of whether or not you notice them. These risks include allergic reactions, consequences of venomous bites, or even infections caused by puncture wounds or exposure to droppings and waste. Each pest has a unique set of risks associated with it, so one method of prevention, or removal, is often not enough to solve your problems. We will outline the various hazards of being in the presence of different types of pests, in order to arm you with the information necessary for deciding what kind of protection is right for you, as you seek to deal with the pests that bother you most.
The majority of rodent and insect species have the potential to cause major allergies, and can cause, or even aggravate, asthma as well. Additionally, you don't need to make actual contact with the animals to experience allergic reactions. Their mere presence in the walls or ventilation systems can cause health complications. Here are a few pests that are major contributors to allergies and asthma:
- Mice leave droppings and dander that cause allergies. You can inhale aerosolized particles, which trigger an immune response and related allergies.
- Cockroaches also leave droppings; however, their saliva, and even decayed cadavers, can trigger allergies. For this reason, cockroach infestations can have long term effects, even after extermination, since decaying cockroaches in walls still produce allergens if not properly cleared out.
- Dust mites eat dead skin cells and absorb water from your home's air. The resulting dryness and dust mite debris in a house can cause major allergic reactions.
- Termites cause allergies by spreading dust throughout the air in your home or business. Ventilation systems ensure this dust gets spread even further.
Rodents and insects are notorious for carrying germs. They spend the majority of their time in contaminated areas, such as pipes and sewers, and any present germs gladly hitch a ride on their backs. As they move around your home, they increase the chances of making you sick. Here are some diseases and ailments spread by some of the most common pests:
While we no longer fear the plague, rodents still carry a number of other viruses. Airborne particles from mice transmit Hantavirus. Rodents also carry salmonella, which can contaminate food, cookware, and kitchen surfaces.
Cockroaches, like mice, pick up salmonella and E. coli bacteria as they rummage through garbage and waste.
Ticks and fleas carry a number of diseases, including Lyme disease and different types of fevers (depending on your location).
Bites and Stings
One of the more immediate dangers of pests is their bite. Bites from rodents and insects not only cause damage but can also carry disease or cause an allergic reaction. Stings from insects on their own can also cause major health complications, especially if there is an allergy involved. Here are the types of insect bites you should watch out for:
Bed bugs can come into the home from the outside if they manage to latch themselves onto your clothing. They hide between the sheets and come out at night to bite. Their bites cause painful red sores.
Yellow stingers like bees, hornets, and wasps cause thousands of hospitalizations. In addition to the allergies many people face, most stinging insects attack multiple times or swarm.
Spiders deliver both harmless and dangerous bites, depending on the species. The most poisonous require medical treatment. Identify a spider after a bite to know if it's dangerous.
Now that you know the various dangers pests and rodents present, here are some ways you can protect your home from infestations.
- Make sure to properly seal possible entrances. Gaps in walls, door and window frames, or the foundation give pests an avenue into your home.
- Clean your home regularly. Clutter, dust, moisture, and food crumbs provide food and shelter for all kinds of pests.
- Use traps and bait to eliminate pests on a small scale. You can use them as a way to prevent initial infestations.
- Seal your food properly. Unsealed food creates aromas that draw pests, who then contaminate the food.
- Keep the area around the building as dry as possible. Make drainage systems empty away from the foundation and eliminate places where water can puddle.
Proper pest control can keep you safe from the illnesses and allergies that pests bring into homes. Every method from simple cleaning to professional spraying makes it harder for pests to cause problems.
You can better protect your home by assessing the individual risks you face and making plans to address each specific threat. Use our guide to determine what actions you should take to eliminate pests and their health risks.