What Are The Health Risks of Rats Living Inside My Attic?

rat-paw-01Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common questions among homeowners. Rats are perceived as dirty pests that can chew their way through just about anything, including steel, but how much of a problem do they really pose to families?

Lack of Sleep and Stress

Let’s first talk about the obvious effects of having rats living inside your attic: lack of sleep and emotional stress. Rats, like most rodents, are nocturnal, meaning they actively search for food under the cloak of night. When you lay down in bed after a long and exhausting day at work, you might hear the scampering of rat feet running throughout the attic. Rather than catching some much-needed sleep, you lie in bed staring at the alarm clock for hours on end.

There’s also a very real emotional stress that comes along with rat infestations in the attic. Even if you rarely see them, just knowing that you are sharing your home with these dirty rodents creates emotional stress.

Disease and Illness

Of course, rat infestations may also leave your family susceptible to disease and illness. Rats were responsible for transmitting the Bubonic Plague, which killed millions of Europeans, so don’t underestimate their potential. Some of the diseases and illnesses modern-day rats are known to carry include the following:

  • Murine typhus
  • Leptospirosis
  • Rat-bite fever
  • Hantavirus
  • Jaundice
  • Salmonella
  • Tulameria

Rats typically transmit diseases through urine and droppings. When the sun goes down and family members go their bedrooms to sleep, rats will make their way down from the attic and into the kitchen where they scavenge for any available food. As they tear into your bread, cookie mix, muffin mix and other food products, they leave behind small piles of feces along with pools of urine.

Note: it’s recommended that homeowners dealing with rat infestations place their food in sealed containers until the problem is resolved. This will help protect against transmitted disease while restricting rats of their food source. The plastic wrap of a typical loaf of bread isn’t enough to keep rats at bay. Instead, you need to place the bread in a long plastic container that’s fully sealed.

Fire

You might be surprised to learn that rat infestations in the attic pose a serious fire risk. This is due to their ability and natural instinct to chew through anything in their way. Whether it’s cardboard, styrofoam, wood or even electrical wires, rats use their razor-sharp teeth to chew through just about anything. If a rat happens to chew critical electrical wires, it may create a fire.

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