Mouse droppings are extremely unsanitary. Like all other unsanitary things, they can have a negative effect on your health. But can mouse droppings actually make you sick?
The obvious answer is yes. Mice often carry different diseases and bacteria. While the mouse is not usually harmed, their feces carry the disease further and can transmit it to unwitting people and other animals.
Admittedly, the chances of getting sick from mouse droppings on any given day are not that high, but contact with mouse droppings raises these chances considerably and the viruses, bacteria, and diseases can be life-threatening.
So why risk it? It is better to learn about the dangers of mouse droppings so that you can keep them in mind the next time you encounter mouse poop.
The dangers of mouse poop
The diseases that mouse droppings carry can be spread either through the contamination of food and water or simply from inhaling infected air.
Two major diseases that can originate from mouse droppings are hantavirus and salmonellosis. There are several others, including hemorrhagic fever and lymphocytic choriomeningitis, that can be transmitted directly by mice and their droppings.
Hantavirus, while rare, can be deadly.
It is usually contracted through inhalation of the virus when it is airborne. It affects many systems at once, including the respiratory system.
If you contract hantavirus, breathing will become difficult since this virus causes fluid to enter the lungs. Sufferers may require hospitalization and treatment with oxygen and a ventilator.
Symptoms of hantavirus include:
- Muscle pain
These are the primary symptoms. If you think you have been exposed to mouse droppings and have any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor.
The tricky part of hantavirus is that after experiencing the symptoms mentioned above, you will feel slightly better. Yet, a few days later, your breathing will suddenly become difficult, resulting in the next batch of symptoms that include feeling short of breath, a dry cough, and short, raspy breaths.
If you experience any of the second stage symptoms, immediately seek medical attention. These late symptoms progress very quickly, potentially leading to death.
Salmonellosis, a.k.a. salmonella poisoning is transmitted by the Salmonella bacteria.
This disease is spread through contaminated food and water. Instances of food poisoning are typically caused by Salmonella. And as disgusting as it is, it is more common than you think, especially in rodent-infested houses, and can cause serious health issues.
The symptoms of salmonellosis include:
- Abdominal pain
Luckily, it is rarely fatal. But it is not a risk worth taking.
Allergies and asthma
In addition to hantavirus and salmonellosis, children that are exposed to mice droppings for long periods of time can develop allergies and/or asthma. So, make sure that the cause of your child’s sickness is not hiding inside of your walls.
Cleaning up mouse droppings
If you find mouse droppings, they need to be cleaned up immediately. It is not only nasty, but its existence also means that there are rodents in your home. On top of the diseases which their droppings can carry, the rodents themselves carry diseases of their own and can carry in ticks and mites that spread other illnesses.
Cleaning is a definite must.
First, you should never directly touch the droppings or the animals themselves. But if you do accidentally touch a rodent dropping, wash your hands immediately and thoroughly.
In addition to the potential for contracting disease, if you have allergies, you could develop an itchy rash.
Cleaning up after mice is a time-consuming task. The first thing that you should do is to air out the area that the mice have been in. Whether it is your basement, attic or a dark cupboard, you must air it out for a minimum of 30 minutes so that any bacteria that is in the air can be expelled from the space as well. You should wear a face mask as a precaution anyway, even after airing out the room.
Once the area has been aired out, it is time for the actual cleaning of the area. It is better to spray the area with either a disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water (one part bleach to ten parts water). Let it soak for a minimum of five minutes so the solution really has a chance to seep into the infected spots and disinfect them.
Then, while wearing gloves (rubber, latex, or vinyl), pick up the feces by hand. If you do not want to touch the droppings even while wearing gloves, you can also use a paper towel to pick up all of the droppings. Just remember to still wear heavy-duty gloves and a face mask while doing this.
Next, place the droppings directly into a bag that can be sealed and thrown out immediately.
Vacuuming and sweeping are off-limits. This can cause more dust to rise into the air, increasing the chances of you breathing in contaminated particles and getting sick.
Finally, clean the entire area with disinfectant or bleach and water solution. Throw any bedding or other linens that may have contacted feces or urine into the wash on hot.
Finally, take off and dispose of your gloves and face mask and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water. It wouldn’t hurt to wash the clothes you wore as well. This may seem like a drawn-out process, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Additionally, you should also:
- Seal up all holes and potential passages that the rodents might be using to get indoors.
- Pick up any clutter and debris both outside and inside your home since mice often use it as a hideout.
- And keep your food tightly sealed in glass or plastic containers rather than cardboard boxes that rodents can chew through.
This will help you lessen the chance of a recurring mice infestation and of you ever encountering mouse droppings again.
There is no doubt that mouse droppings are a red flag that should be taken very seriously since mice cannot only make your home dirty but can also make you sick. So if you find mouse droppings in your house, clean them up immediately and take measures to rid your home of mice once and for all.