Did you know that pests are more than just ugly critters scurrying about your home? Whether its flies or cockroaches in your kitchen or rats in your garage, they need to be controlled quickly to prevent an infestation. Besides their potential damage to your home, pests carry harmful bacteria that can pose risks to your health. Here are the 5 common house pests that can affect your health.
During the cold months, rodents, including mice and rats search for food indoors, shelter and warmth. The biggest concern is their high capacity to spread disease. Once the feces from these rodents accumulate in your home, it can spread bacteria, trigger allergies and contaminate your food sources. Dry fecal matter can be hazardous when breathed in. Note, rodent droppings, saliva or urine can quickly spread disease and viruses, including:
• Hantavirus: Potentially life-threatening. People get infected through inhalation or exposure
• Bubonic plague: Highly contagious and deadly disease spread by the bite of an infected flea. Can lead to swollen lymph nodes, fever and headache
• Salmonellosis: This is a form of food poisoning and can cause fever, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
• Rat-bite fever: This is a highly infectious fatal disease acquired from food contaminated by the rodents.
Cockroaches are scavengers. They go out to look for food, which means they will be found mostly in your kitchen. The moment they discover that they have a lot of easy access to food in your home, they will take up residence in it. In turn, this will result in adverse health risks for you and your family. Should you notice traces of cockroach body parts which they shed or feces, it could mean that your house is infested. The main issue with these traces is that they carry allergens which could ultimately trigger asthma symptoms and other illnesses. Among the most serious diseases caused by cockroaches include:
• Salmonella Typhi: Causes typhoid
• Poliomyelitis: Causes polio
• Dysentery: Causes severe diarrhea
What’s more, some cockroaches also bite. This is rare, but if you are dealing with a major infestation, they could nibble your toes, fingernails and parts of your skin leading to wounds.
When it comes to your home structure, bed bugs are among the few pests that do not cause any harm to it. Although they have been found to be carriers of more than 20 diseases including viruses, worms and bacteria, they do not transmit any deadly disease to humans. However, left to loam freely in your home, they can lead to considerable damage to your health.
Bed bugs feed on animal and human blood and target their prey by detecting the emission of carbon dioxide. One bed bug could feed on blood between 3-15 minutes, something that could result in anemia. Some people respond to infestation with stress, insomnia and anxiety, which could trigger depression. The other health issues which could occur from these bites include:
• Secondary skin infections, including ecthyma, lymphangitis and impetigo
• Allergic reactions which could be severe
• Mental health issues
Mosquitoes top the list of the world’s most dangerous pests, accounting for millions of deaths and thousands of infections each year. They infect humans with yellow fever, malaria, the Zika virus and dengue, among others. Mosquitoes zero in on their prey by detecting exhaled carbon dioxide. Most of them also sense body chemicals. They then land on the body and probe for blood vessels using its proboscis. Note, the moment it probes its saliva into the skin, it releases pathogens transmitting the disease it carries. Although not all mosquitoes transmit illnesses, they can all be a nuisance.
Fleas are tiny wingless bloodsuckers that feed on mammal blood and birds. Of the 3000 species, the most notorious are the cat fleas, the human flea and the rat flea. The most pronounced discomfort caused by fleas is the intense itching and painful bites. The worrying bit is their capacity to carry human diseases. If you own a pet, you are at an increased risk of infestation. The most common flea-borne diseases include:
• Bubonic Plague: In the 14th century, this disease became an epidemic, and was reported to have killed over 25 million people. Today, despite rare, the disease is still present, largely transmitted by fleas.
• Murine Typhus: This is a disease common in areas infested by rats. It is transmitted to fleas, which then transfer it to humans. Some of the most common symptoms include nausea, chills, severe headache and weakness.
• Tungiansis: This is a disease transmitted by the burrowing flea. When travelling particularly to sandy areas, you are advised to wear shoes throughout because it mostly affects the feet where the fleas burrow.
Flea saliva is known to trigger a form of dermatitis in humans, appearing as itchy rush or bumps. For some, once the feces are inhaled, asthmatic-like symptoms may occur.
The presence of any type of pests in your home signals problems. Besides the possible damage that may be caused to your structure, most of them can cause severe health issues to you and your loved ones. In that case, it is advisable to leverage the services of a pests control specialist such as Excel Pest Control for a quick and timely eradication.