Fleas are typically looked at as nuisance pests, and this is mostly the case. You can have a flea infestation in your home without any consequences to your health. But, if circumstances allow, fleas can present a real danger. Let's take a moment to look at these circumstances, so that you can work to prevent a dangerous situation, or at the very least, respond quickly when things aren't quite right.
Fleas And Rodents
There is a strong link between rodents and flea-borne diseases. Have you heard of the bubonic plague? While we now have a cure, there is still a risk when this disease spreads from rodents to humans. Fortunately, the risk is low in Arlington. If you head West, be aware that the presence of dead rodents lying around on the ground is a warning sign of plague.
In Arlington, there may not be a concern for the bubonic plague, but there is reason to be concerned about many other flea-borne diseases that use rodents as a reservoir. If you are dealing with a flea infestation and a rodent infestation at the same time, you should take greater caution, and keep a watchful eye out for sickness.
The most common flea-related disease in our area is typhus. If you contract typhus, you can expect to have a headache, body aches, fatigue, rash, chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, and other flu-like symptoms. Most cases of flea-borne typhus are not fatal, and many cases have mild symptoms. But it is essential that you are aware that, in rare cases, this disease can result in death associated with septic shock, myocarditis, multi-organ failure, pneumonia, renal failure, and encephalitis.
Fleas And Pets
Pet owners are at greater risk for flea-borne diseases. Not only can dogs and cats bring fleas inside, they can also be asymptomatic carriers of diseases that can be transmitted to you. One severe example of this kind of threat is the story of a woman who went blind in one eye because her cat had contracted a form of bartonella virus, which spread from the cat's saliva to the woman's eye when her cat licked her face. If you experience strange symptoms, be sure to let your attending physician know that you have a cat, or that you are experiencing a flea infestation. This could help your physician uncover the cause of your illness much faster.
Do you know that you can get sick from a flea-borne disease without ever having a flea bite you? It's true. As an example, if you have a scratch on your knee, and you kneel on a carpet that has flea dirt, you can get sick. You could also get sick if your cat is sick with cat scratch disease and your cat scratches you. We recommend routine vacuuming when you have a flea infestation. Not only does this dislodge eggs and suck up larvae, it helps to get rid of flea dirt and mitigate the threat of disease.
Fleas And Tapeworms
If you have a pet, it is likely that you are aware that tapeworms are a threat. Your dog or cat can get tapeworms when they ingest infected fleas. What you might not know is that humans can get tapeworms. You or your kids won't get worms by grooming, but you can get them if you eat food that a flea accidentally hopped into. We recommend that you don't eat food in the living room until you have completely corrected your flea infestation. Fleas commonly infest couches and other upholstered furniture. There is some good news, however. If you do get tapeworms, there is a good chance they'll pass through your system. Most cases of tapeworms in humans result in few symptoms, and they are easily treated. It is only in rare circumstances that serious, life-threatening issues arise. But, be on the lookout for severe stomach pain, fatigue, weight loss, diarrhea, and nausea as warning signs.
Disease Prevention Tips
- Make sure your dog or cat has veterinarian prescribed flea protection, such as a flea and tick collar.
- Wild animals bring fleas into your yard. Everything you do to reduce wildlife activity and harborage will reduce flea problems. Keep trash contained. Use fencing to block voids under decks, patios, shed, and other exterior structures.
- Rodents are a significant threat. Take time to inspect your exterior and seal any gaps these small rodents can use to get into your home. Trim branches away from your roofline, and consider putting wire mesh in downspouts to prevent rodents from climbing up to your roof.
- If you have a dog, and you don't have a fenced-in outdoor area for your dog to play in, we recommend it. This prevents your dog from exploring areas around your home where fleas may be picked up. It also helps to reduce wild animal activity in this area.
As always, you don't have to battle pests alone. The service team here at Miche Pest Control helps Arlington homeowners manage the threat of fleas, rodents, and other pests. Reach out to us today to learn about our home pest control services and how they work to manage pests and pest threats.