How to Prevent Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS)
You may not be familiar with Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS), but you're probably aware that rodents can spread disease. HPS is a viral disease that can be spread by rodents, their droppings, their saliva, and their urine. To prevent this rare but deadly disease, you need to control rodent populations inside and outside of your house or workplace. If you find rodents in your living space, practice safety precautions to remove the rodent outbreak.
Controlling Rodents Inside Your House
Recognize signs of an infestation.Look for small pellets of rodent droppings about ¼ – ½" (0.5 – 1.0cm) in size. You may also see signs of gnawing on your furniture or rodent tracks in dusty spaces. If you find small wads of soft materials or paper, you may have found rodent nests. You might even smell rodent urine or be able to hear them scurrying around.
- If you have mice, you may find uneaten food since they won't eat everything they find. If you have rats, you might only find inedible things like shells or bones.
Clean your kitchen.Remove rodent food sources inside your house. Wash your dishes and sweep and mop your kitchen floors. When sweeping be careful not to stir up any dust that you might breathe in. Inhalation of any rat droppings/dust is a sure way to contract the virus. Try to do this before you go to bed every night since rodents are most active at night.
- Store the food in your pantry in rodent-proof jars. The jars should be thick metal, glass or plastic and should have tight-fitting lids so that rodents can't chew through them.
Cover trash cans or pet food containers.Use garbage cans that have tight-fitting lids and try to take the trash out before night. Clean out the garbage cans with soapy water in between uses so that food doesn't build up inside the can. You should also remove or cover any uneaten pet food at the end of the day.
- Only put out enough pet food for one day. Allowing your pet to have unlimited access to food also gives rodents unlimited access to a food supply.
Set rodent traps.Purchase rat or mice traps depending on the type of rodents you have around your house or workplace. Spread a pea-sized amount of peanut butter on the snap trap and place the trap on the floor near the baseboard. To dispose of rodents and traps, spray them with disinfectant and scoop them into a double bag. Seal the bags and bury or burn them.
- Avoid using glue or live traps since these can cause the live mice to urinate and spread disease.
- If plague is suspected in your area, spray the trap, your clothes, your shoes, and your hands with an insect repellent that contains DEET. This will kill the fleas on the rodents that may transmit the disease.
Seal entry holes.If you find holes in your walls, you should fill them. Take a ball of steel wool and place it in the hole so that it's completely filled in. This will prevent rodents from getting into your house. Remember to check and seal all interior and exterior walls for holes.
- You can use other patching supplies, depending on the size of the hole. You could use insulation foam, wood filler, or putty to fill the hole. If the hole is large, you may need to replace the piece of the wall.
Call a professional pest management company.If you still see signs of rodents after completely cleaning and sealing up your house, you may need to get professional help. Professional pest companies will be able to quickly and effectively remove the rodents from your home before they begin to transmit disease.
- If you have a large or widespread infestation, you may want to contact a pest management company even before you begin cleaning and sealing your home.
Controlling Rodents Outside of Your House
Look for signs of an infestation.Check your yard and any exterior buildings or sheds for small pellets of rodent droppings about ¼ – ½" (0.5 – 1.0cm) in size. You may also see signs of gnawing on wooden boards or rodent tracks in dirt or dust. Small wads of paper or soft material might in fact be the rodent's nest. You may also be able to smell their urine or hear them.
- If you have mice, you'll see uneaten food since they won't eat everything they find. If you have rats, you might only find inedible things like shells or bones.
Raise nesting materials outside of your house.Rodents can make nests out of materials commonly found around houses or sheds. Keep woodpiles at least 100 feet away from your house. If you have hay or garbage cans, place them on a raised pallet that's at least one foot off the ground.
- Keep any outside compost bins at least 100 feet away from the house.
- Trim grass and shrubs so they're short and don't provide a nesting place for rodents.
Remove nesting materials from around your house.Clear away leaves and large bushes from along the baseboards of your house. If you can, cover the baseboards with metal flashing around the base of a wooden, earthen or adobe home. The metal should reach at least 1 foot (0.3 m) above the ground and six inches into the ground.
- Don't forget to remove any junk in your yard that could give shelter to rodents (like tires, old cars, old furniture, or old yard equipment.
Encourage rodent predators in your yard.Barn owls, cats, snakes, and hawks all eat rodents. Let your cat out into the yard if it likes to hunt mice. You can also encourage other predators by buying a barn owl box and setting it up 10 feet off of the ground. Barn owls may start living in your yard and eating the rodents.
- Avoid using poison bait traps outside. You'll never be able to guarantee the safety of other animals, pets or children that may find the traps.
Call a professional pest management company.If you still see signs of rodents, you may need to get professional help. Professional pest companies will be able to quickly and effectively remove the rodents from your yard before they begin moving into your home.
- If you have a large or widespread infestation, you may want to contact a pest control company if you have several sheds our outdoor buildings that are infected since these are difficult to clean and seal.
Using Safety Precautions
Wear gloves when cleaning.When cleaning up dead rodents, disinfecting nesting areas or removing droppings, it's important to wear vinyl, latex or rubber gloves. Once you've finished cleaning or disinfecting the space, take off the gloves and disinfect them. Ensure that you wash your hands with hot soapy water when you're done.
- To disinfect the gloves, wash them with soap and hot water or disinfectant.
Spot-clean small areas.Spray disinfectant on dry areas before you sweep. If you find a rodent-infested area covered with dirt, avoid simply sweeping it up. This will stir up dried feces that you could inhale. Instead, spray a disinfectant all over the area so it's no longer dusty. Then you can carefully sweep up the dirty space.
- You can use a general or household disinfectant to moisten the area and kill the HPS virus.
Clean and disinfect large areas.Open windows to ventilate the space. Spray everything in the space with a disinfectant. Soak a towel in the disinfectant and wring it out. Use the towel to pick up any items that were in the space and throw them away. Mop the space or sponge it using the disinfectant.
- To create a disinfectant, fill a bucket with one gallon of water. Add 1 1/2 cups of bleach and stir it to combine the mixture. This will kill the HPS virus.
Consider wearing a face mask when sweeping.As an extra precaution, put on a simple face mask. The mask should cover your nose and mouth. While it won't protect you against the virus, it will keep you from breathing in dust or dirt.
- Use a fresh mask each time you clean a new rodent-infested area. Discard it after you're done cleaning.
Dispose of dead rodents.If you find dead rodents, never pick them up with your hands. Instead, spray the rodents and the surrounding area with disinfectant. Use a small scoop or broom to sweep up the rodents. Place the dead rodents, any nesting materials, and your cleaning supplies in a double bag. Seal each bag and bury or burn it. If you can't bury or burn the materials, contact your local health department.
- You should also place any nesting materials and cleaning supplies in the bag before burying it since nesting materials can also transmit HPS.
Recognize signs of HPS.If you get the hantavirus, you should watch for fatigue, fever and muscle aches, headaches, dizziness, chills, and abdominal problems (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain). If you experience any of these early signs, get immediate medical attention since HPS symptoms can get worse and even be fatal. Late signs of HPS include:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness around the chest
- Do not allow children to play in leaf piles that have not been recently disturbed. Leaf piles, hay piles, and log piles are perfect nesting spots for rodents.
- If your job requires that you work in areas infected with rodents, always be on the lookout for any respiratory ailments you may develop.
- Campers and overnight hikers should avoid areas where rodents may be nesting. Drink only bottled water and burn or bury any garbage you may create.
- Air out any unused sheds or cabins for several hours before cleaning them. You may want to contact a professional if the space is large or heavily infested.
How to Make a Notepad
Ashley Graham Believes Designers Are Devaluing’ Their Brands by Not Selling PlusSizes
Top 15 Crusaders for Health in Americas Food Industry
Why we’re getting weaker all the time
Celebrities Who Spoke Out About Their Miscarriages
ELEVEN EXTRAS INJURED ON SET OF TOM CRUISE FILM
10. Rip Curl Men’s A2785 Analog Display Black Watch
10 Extraordinary Lakes
How to Play Classical Guitar
How to Learn Key Phrases in Norwegian