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 infections. While the mouse is not usually harmed by any of these possible illnesses or viruses, their feces carry the disease further and then act as a breeding ground. Admittedly, the chances of getting sick from mouse droppings are not that high, but the diseases that do occur are extremely dangerous and can even 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. The most frequent, but not common, diseases that can originate from mouse droppings are hantavirus and salmonellosis.
Hantavirus comes from the inhalation of air carrying the virus. It affects your respiratory system and can be quite terrifying. If you come down with hantavirus, your breathing will be immensely affected since this virus causes blood to flow unchecked into your lungs. The severity of this sickness can even result in hospitalization and the need for extra oxygen.
The symptoms related to hantavirus include the following:
- Muscle pain
These are the primary symptoms. 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 includes nausea, vomiting, headaches, a dry cough, and short, raspy breaths.
At this stage, you must immediately seek medical attention. Once you experience the more severe symptoms, the virus has already taken root and needs to be dealt with right away.
The other disease commonly spread from mice droppings is salmonellosis a.k.a. salmonella poisoning. This disease infects those who have consumed food or water that has been contaminated by salmonella bacteria. 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 not common for the salmonella from mouse droppings to lead to fatalities. But it is not a risk worth taking.
In addition to hantavirus and salmonellosis, children that are exposed to mice droppings for long periods of time can develop allergies and/or asthma. The dropping can pollute the air and can cause a whole slew of respiratory problems. So, make sure that the cause of your child’s sickness is not hiding inside of your walls.
Cleaning Up Mouse Droppings
The fact that there are only two relatively rare diseases that can come from mouse droppings does not mean that you are excused from cleaning up the mess. 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.
Cleaning is a definite must. And since you are dealing with unsanitary creatures, there are proper ways for you to clean up after rodents. 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 as there is a possibility that the poop could, in fact, be infected. You can also get nasty rashes on your skin by simply touching the poop, so avoid it at all costs, if you can.
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.
Once the area has been aired out, it is time for the actual cleaning of the area. 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.
It is better to spray the area with either a disinfectant or a mixture of bleach and water (one part bleach to nine parts water). Let it sit 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 latex gloves and a face mask, 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 or toilet paper 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 an airtight bag that can be properly sealed and thrown out immediately along with all of the tissues, gloves, and everything else you used to clean the area.
Finally, spray a final coat of disinfectant and thoroughly wash yourself off afterward. It would not hurt to throw the clothes you had on while cleaning up into the wash 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 mouse-made 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. 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 rodents once and for all.