On Thursday, April 25, the Kent County Board of Commissioners approved funding for two staff positions to investigate homes that are lead-poisoning children. Landlords who fail to act to be held accountable.
In Case of Emergency
Although pests like mice and cockroaches do not pose an immediate health threat, they can result in adverse health effects for people with asthma and breathing problems. Contact the Healthy Homes Coalition for more information on Integrated Pest Management.
Mice & Rats
Mice and rats are not only a nuisance - they can make children sick. They can increase the symptoms of asthma and allergies. Toxic chemicals used to poison them can also poison children.
Mice and rats often seek shelter in homes when it is less desirable to be outside. The onset of winter causes rats and mice to seek shelter where it's warmer. If there is abundant unsecured food or trash in the home, the mice will also seek it out. It doesn't take much of an opening for a mouse to get in a house. A crack under a door, an open vent, or cracks in the foundation are all it takes. A mouse can squeeze through a hole smaller than a dime. Rats can squeeze through holes that are the size of a quarter.
Who is at Risk?
Children are put at risk when poison baits are used to try to rid the home of pests. Mice and rats also carry a host of diseases. For people with asthma and allergies, mice and rats are problematic as their dander and feces are highly allergenic.
Signs of mice or rats living in the home include mouse droppings, holes in food packaging, gnawing, nests, or seeing the mice or rats themselves. Some people will exhibit allergic reactions to the presence of mice and rats, especially if the infestation is heavy.
Rodents and their droppings can spread diseases and viruses, including hantavirus, salmonellosis and rat-bite fever. They also trigger asthma and allergies.
Mice need food, water and shelter to survive. By removing these three things the environment will be less hospitable to them. Follow these steps to make your home mouse-proof.
- Keep all living areas uncluttered and clean.
- Eat in one area of the home to contain crumbs and food and to make clean up easier.
- Put all food, food scraps and pet food in tightly sealed containers.
- Keep trash in a sealed container.
- Mop and clean surfaces at least once a week.
- Fix all plumbing and water leaks.
- Seal all holes and gaps in walls, pipes, pavement, and other surfaces with caulk, steel wool, scouring pads, or spray foam to keep mice out.
In addition to changing the environment in the home, use traps to kill them. Spring-loaded mousetraps should be baited with peanut butter and placed in areas where is there is obvious mouse traffic. Traps should be checked daily. Dead mice should be immediately removed, and traps should be re-baited after catching a mouse. This practice should continue until no mice have been caught for at least a week.
Mouse population graphic credit: National Center for Healthy Housing
Did You Know...
A mouse can fit through a hole the size of a dime.
Little Louian's recently renovated home was in good condition, yet there were still things about the home environment that triggered Louian's asthma. Things had gotten so out of control that Louian ended up in the emergency room four times in a year. Healthy Homes provided Louian's mom with the knowledge, skills, and tools she needed to take action.
But this is just one of many families in need of support. Asthma attacks are the leading reason kids are going to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital’s emergency room. We need to do more to keep children like Louian from hurting, and we can with your help.
In November of 2018, the World Health Organization stepped firmly into the healthy housing world when it released its WHO Housing and Health Guidelines. While local conditions are different all over the world, the strategies WHO suggests are universal and certainly apply to Grand Rapids.