It’s squirrel season here in Houston when they’re scrambling to find shelter for the winter and your attic looks ideal to them.
Cute as squirrels may be, there are numerous reasons to keep them out of your home, and one of the biggest is that in addition to all the damage they cause and spread, they carry numerous diseases that can spread to humans.
Some of the diseases they carry are particularly dangerous.
Salmonella causes diarrhea, abdominal cramping, fever, nausea, vomiting, and headaches. It can progress into a full-blown case of sepsis or meningitis, too.
Salmonella comes primarily from squirrel droppings. You don’t have to come into direct contact with wet droppings to be in danger of contracting this disease. Squirrels in the attic mean squirrels in your ductwork, and dried droppings will eventually turn into contaminated dust that settles into your air supply.
Squirrels carry ticks, which aren’t content to hang out on their bodies. Eventually, ticks will jump onto your body, too.
When they do, there’s a good chance their painful bite could give you a bad case of Lyme disease, which means nerve pain, stiffness, and inflammation of the brain or spinal cord.
Tularemia attacks the skin, eyes, lymph nodes, and lungs. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, ulcers, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and muscle aches.
Mostly, you’re not in danger of contracting Tularemia unless you directly handle a sick or dead squirrel. When squirrels die in the walls, most people call us out to deal with them, and we wear our PPE. Nevertheless, if you see a dead squirrel in the home, you should wear rubber gloves before disposing of it, and then call us right away.
Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection. It causes fever, headache, vomiting, jaundice, and rash.
Leptospirosis is transmitted through squirrel urine. While most people don’t come into direct contact with it, the danger is still present; as infestations grow, urine shows up in more and more places where urine should not be.
Rabies causes fever, headaches, excess salivation, muscle spasms, paralysis, and mental confusion.
You’re only in danger of getting rabies if a squirrel bites or scratches you. This is a rare event, but it can happen. Never trap or corner a squirrel in your home. An infected squirrel may be unusually aggressive and wander into inhabited areas of the home most squirrels stay away from.
Squirrels aren’t the only carriers of diseases that come with a squirrel problem. They also bring in all of their fleas. Fleas attack you and your pets, carrying their own diseases.
Once squirrels are in the home, a spot of Revolution on the back of your pet’s neck is rarely going to be enough when an entire squirrel colony is constantly bringing new fleas in and out of your home.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Squirrel Free
If you’re hearing thumping, bumping, and chittering, there’s a good chance you have a squirrel problem. Don’t wait to get sick!