Can raccoons in the attic make you sick? Yes. Here are the health risks that come with their presence.
Among the pests known to inhabit human dwellings are raccoons.
Of course, these animals only get in when there’s an opening. Raccoons will keep out of sight and live in your attic for as long as they can. The problem is, raccoon presence poses a health risk to humans.
This is in addition to damage caused to property.
Here, we’ll be discussing all the health risks and how severe these are. Curtailing these risks requires detecting raccoon presence and getting rid of them.
This has to be handled professionally to limit exposure to disease-causing parasites such as the raccoon roundworm among others.
Why Raccoons Get into Homes
For raccoons to enter your attic, they must have been attracted to certain conditions. Raccoon attraction in large part can be attributed to the availability of food and shelter.
These medium-sized mammals will feed on just about anything they can find. Although carnivorous in nature, they aren’t picky with foods.
That is to say, raccoons will feed on fruits, vegetables, and insects in addition to snails, fish, etc.
Your home serves as a natural attraction for these mammals as there’s food, water, and shelter. Raccoons won’t turn on water taps to drink but will find water from leaky pipes, as well as decorative fountains & ponds.
Other water sources include pet water dishes and puddles. Because they love to live close to a ready food source, raccoons will likely shelter within spaces with the least disturbance or human interference.
Your attic easily meets such criteria.
Raccoons Bring All Sorts of Problems
Asides from the spread of diseases which we’re focused on, raccoons create all sorts of problems. These include damage to the garden and lawn, electrical damage, damage to insulation, and reduction in air quality due to urine and feces.
Other raccoon issues you may face include damage to your home with vulnerable areas being your roofs, deck, siding, and crawlspace.
We won’t be getting into each of these areas as we’re more concerned about the health risks posed by raccoons.
Potential Health Risks From Raccoon Presence
Asides from the damage caused by this large pest, you’re likely to be exposed to several health risks. These mostly result from raccoon urine and feces.
Continuous exposure to these causes a wide range of health issues.
Among them are respiratory illnesses caused by the constant inhalation of polluted air.
Common health risks associated with raccoon presence include rabies, raccoon roundworm, salmonella, leptospirosis, and giardiasis. How are these illnesses spread?
For more understanding, let’s have a look at each.
Rabies isn’t only restricted to raccoons but also other species. Nevertheless, it’s a potential health risk you’re exposed to with raccoons in your attic. It’s transferred to humans via the infected saliva of raccoons.
For this to be possible, you’ll have to be bitten or scratched by an infected raccoon.
Due to the fatal nature of rabies, it’s important to immediately seek medical attention.
One of the ways to avoid scratches or bites from infected raccoons is by avoiding them when you see them and calling for expert help in getting such off your property.
Figuring out whether a raccoon has rabies isn’t that difficult. You only need to observe how it behaves. Does it walk in a stumbling manner or seem disoriented? Is it foaming at the mouth?
Does it display aggressive behavior toward anything (including inanimate objects) on its path?
If it does display any of these signs, you’ll need to keep off as far as possible. Rabies isn’t only contracted from the bites and scratches of an infected raccoon.
It’s possible to get infected from the urine and droppings of an infected raccoon.
Raccoon roundworm is another health risk you may be exposed to whenever raccoons are in your attic. Although rare, roundworm eggs are contained within raccoon feces.
When these are passed out, such eggs are likely to get airborne when feces get dried.
So, how does it spread to humans? It does when you attempt to clean raccoon droppings. As the dust from such feces gets inhaled, the eggs become airborne.
This is why it’s best to have a professional pest management service handle your raccoon issues.
Being airborne, humans are likely to get infected as they inhale the air around affected areas.
This is where the problem begins. Roundworm eggs eventually hatch into roundworms that cause all sorts of health problems that could turn out fatal.
Symptoms resulting from advanced raccoon roundworm infection include loss of vision, fatigue, lack of coordination as well as loss of muscle control.
Blindness may also follow with the possibility of a coma.
This bacterial infection is also common with raccoons. As mentioned earlier, most health risks posed by raccoons are closely tied to their urine and droppings.
When such droppings are accidentally touched and the hands come in contact with your face without washing, the chance of transmission increases.
With salmonella infection come a variety of symptoms ranging from loss of appetite and high fever.
Other likely side effects include severe diarrhea and abdominal pain.
People with raccoon presence in their attic are also exposed to leptospirosis. This is a bacterial infection that’s common with raccoon urine and feces.
The easiest way to get infected is from open cuts, bruises, or sores. When infected droppings come in contact with open wounds, it easily becomes transmitted.
It’s only a matter of time that infected persons begin to display symptoms. Such symptoms include liver and kidney failure, nausea & vomiting as well as high fever.
Other common symptoms include diarrhea, and severe muscle and headaches.
With raccoons in your attic, you’re exposed to the risk of contracting giardiasis.
This parasitic disease gets transferred from raccoon droppings. The infective cysts contained within such droppings cause severe health problems.
Such problems are heralded by symptoms such as dehydration, nausea, diarrhea, and cramps.
Urgent medical help is needed
Get Rid of the Cause
The only way to keep yourself and members of your household safe from these health risks are by tackling the cause of the problem. Here, raccoons in your attic will have to be expelled and entry points sealed.
All of that is best performed by a reputable pest management service.
While raccoons may look cute, the diseases they spread and the damages caused aren’t pretty. You’ll need to take urgent steps to protect yourself from such problems.
We’ve listed the most prevalent health risks associated with raccoon presence. How you react is entirely up to you.