Mice Moving into Homes Can Bring Allergens With Them!
By Chris Williams on August 23, 2016.
I’m very worried about my 4-year old granddaughter who lives in public housing. She has asthma that is getting worse. I read that mice can be the cause of asthma in children and her apartment is loaded with mice. My daughter-in-law doesn’t believe that there’s any connection and she doesn’t even seem to notice the mice. J.H., Boston, MA
If you could get your daughter-in-law to Google the topic she would find plenty of reputable scientific studies confirming that living with mice is indeed a factor in childhood asthma.
Mouse allergens are found in mouse urine, droppings, and dander from their hair. In one nationwide survey of 800 homes, 82% had detectable levels of mouse allergens and more than one-third of those homes had very high levels that could cause reactions in sensitive individuals.
Inner-City Children Are at Greatest Risk of Asthma
We’ve long known that people can have asthmatic reactions to cat dander, dust mites, even cockroach parts, but studies done about 15 years ago, established mice as a significant part of the problem for children. One study found that children who were found to be allergic to mice had more serious reactions and more asthma-related emergency room visits than children allergic to cockroaches.
Asthma is especially prevalent in inner-city children living in older buildings that often have chronic cockroach and mouse problems. In a study in 8 U.S. cities, 95% of the homes had mouse allergens in at least one room. Eighteen percent of the children living in these homes were allergic to mice and had more severe asthma problems.
Prevent Mouse Infestations in the First Place
Of course, part of the problem for inner city children is poverty. Pest control is often not a high priority either for tenants or property managers. That’s why pest prevention is even more important when susceptible children are involved (see Don’t Put Out the Welcome Mat for Mice!). Once mice are established in a residence, it’s very difficult to remove the allergens. In most cases, even after the mice have been exterminated and the residence cleaned, some level of allergen remains. If your daughter-in-law hasn’t contacted the property manager about treatment for mice, she needs to do so (see Mice in Apartment Buildings).
Late summer and fall is the time of year when mice are most likely to move into buildings and establish indoor nests. Keeping mice out with exclusion methods such as caulking, screening, and adding door thresholds is very important. Once established in a home, mice can eventually be eliminated but often only with professional help. Colonial Pest is always available to handle tough mouse problems.
These Colonial blogs can help you identify a mouse problem:
- Could This Be a Mouse Nest?
- Could Mice Be Nesting in My Sofa?
- What Do Mouse Droppings Look Like?
- Can You Smell Mouse Pee?