As a homeowner, it is essential to take the steps necessary to protect your family and your pets from any pests that may invade your home. Many household pests are more than just a nuisance. Many can spread a number of serious diseases that can affect your family’s health and overall well-being. Here are just a few that you will need to be aware of.

Cockroach-Borne Illnesses

Cockroaches are one household pests that many people shudder at the thought of dealing with an infestation. There is a good reason for that. Cockroaches are attracted to clutter, and can often be found in a messy home. Cockroaches can transmit several illnesses to people, and even aggravate breathing issues for people that have serious asthma or allergies. Most of these diseases are spread when the roaches crawl into your food and contaminate it or as they crawl over your dishes and utensils.

cockroach disease

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  • Typhoid Fever—This is a serious illness that begins with the onset of a high fever. There may be abdominal pain, headaches, and constipation as well as a rose-colored rash. After a week, the person may be too tired to move much, and at this point, diarrhea may set in. It is important to seek treatment for this if you suspect you may have it.
  • Salmonellosis—This is one of the most common causes of diarrhea in the United States. It is spread when people eat contaminated food. Cockroaches will spread this because they can carry it on their legs or bodies and then deposit the bacteria in your food.
  • Dysentery—The main symptom of dysentery is severe diarrhea that can include stool that has mucous and blood in it. This is spread through contaminated food and water and needs to be treated by a doctor for the patient to recover.
  • Cholera—According to the World Health Organization, Cholera is a serious illness that can kill quickly if not treated promptly. It is a form of watery diarrhea that can cause people to die from dehydration. Treatment includes keeping the patient hydrated while the disease runs its course.
  • Listeriosis—This is another disease that can cause diarrhea. It can also cause headaches and muscle aches. It is mild for most people, but it can cause pregnant women to miscarry and poses a threat to people with a weakened immune system.

Rodent-Borne Illnesses

mouse

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Rodents, such as rats and mice, are also carriers of many illnesses that can make your family sick. Often, they spread this when they contaminate your food or dishes when they are in your home. However, some diseases, such as Hantavirus, is spread when you are cleaning up dried up urine or feces and inhale it. If you are dealing with a rodent infestation, you will need to clean up while wearing a mask and gloves and use a bleach solution.

  • Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

    Hantavirus starts with fever, and muscle aches. There will be fatigue and headaches with possible abdominal problems. After about four days, people may develop a cough and have difficulty breathing. According to the CDC, the mortality rate for Hantavirus is about 38%.

  • Plague

    The plagues can be spread with direct contact with the animal or as the result of a flea bite. The plague will start with fever and chills, but then can have three different results, with swollen lymph nodes, pneumonia or septicemic plague where the skin tissue can turn black and die. The plague is treatable with medical intervention.

  • Lassa Fever

    Similar to the Hantavirus, Lassa Fever is spread when people breathe in dust contain dried urine or feces. The disease is often mild with a mild fever and body aches, but complications can occur in some people including vomiting, difficulty breathing hearing loss.

Preventing Infestations and Infections from Pests

All types of pests that can come into your home can carry illnesses. Ants can carry salmonellosis into your home, and fleas can also spread diseases. It is important to take steps to protect yourself and your family from the complications that can occur when they invade your home. Here are five basic pest control steps you can take to protect your home and family.

  • Keep It Clean

    house cleaning

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    Most pests come into your home in search of food and water, as well as a warm place to stay. If they do not find food or water, they will need to live. Doing your dishes after each meal and cleaning up any crumbs can help deter cockroaches and ants. As will taking out the trash each evening.

  • Stop Any Leaks

    water leak

    Image Source: Ryndon Ricks on flickr

    Water is essential for the survival of pests. If you have leaking pipes in your home, you are providing an easy source for the pests and you may be attracting more pests. It can also weaken the wood for other pests like the termite. Check to make sure there are no leaks under your sink or anywhere you may not initially notice and have them repaired right away.

  • Seal the Entrances of Your Home

    Check around the doorframes and window frames of your home to make sure they are sealed tightly. If necessary, you may need to caulk any cracks that you do find. Be sure that the doors fit snugly and that there is no room for an insect to come in.

  • Check the Exterior of Your Home

    Look for holes or cracks in the foundation or under the eaves of your attic. Fix any that you find. Check to makes sure any vents into your home has a vent cover that will keep insects and rodents out. Cut back any branches that may be handing over the roof of your home, since this can provide an easy access point for pests.

  • Apply a Barrier Treatment

    termite treatment

    Image Source: By Senior Airman Austin Harvill (https://www.dvidshub.net/image/1870536) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

    For many insects, you can stop infestations by regularly treating the exterior of your home. An exterminator can apply the treatment periodically and it will stop bugs before they get into your home.

 

Household Pests and the Diseases They Spread was last modified: October 3rd, 2018 by Miriam Caldwell

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