They’ll take over your house, contaminate your food, and leave their feces all over the place. You might think that you’ve done a good job keeping them out, but they can sneak in through cracks or holes the size of a dime.

It might not seem like a big problem because you’ve only seen one of them. But for every mouse you spot in your house, there could be up to 150 more that are hiding.

Like rats, mice carry several diseases and transmit them through their saliva or feces to humans. One of the worst of these diseases is the hantavirus, which is a lung syndrome with a high death rate. So, if you live in one of the 21 million U.S. homes infested by these tiny, filthy rodents, what can you do to stay safe?

How can mice set your house on fire? Why you should never vacuum mice droppings? Which medicine would you need if a mouse bites you?

Step 1. Cover your wires

A mice infestation can damage your property and even burn it to the ground. To keep their teeth short, mice chew on things such as wires. And chewing wires until they become bare can spark a fire.

The Illinois Department of Public Health states that 25% of the fires in the U.S. attributed to unknown causes were started by rodents. If you know that mice live in your house, it’s smart to cover your wires with the material they can’t bite through, like concrete.

Step 2. Beware of winter

Since mice can eat up to 20 times a day, they’re more likely to infest areas near lots of food. Keeping your kitchen clean is a good strategy to use all year. But you should be even more careful during the winter months.

Mice infestations are more common between October and February. Due to the cold, mice will get into your house looking for food, water, and a cozy place to spend the winter.

Step 3. Look under your seat

In November 2018, Desiree Nicks went to a cinema in Alberta, Canada. In the middle of the movie, she felt a sharp pain in her leg. When she looked down, she saw a massive bite with blood and pus dripping down her leg.

She used the light from her phone to look under the seats and she discovered three mice. The manager cleaned Desiree’s wound. Later she went to a hospital, and a doctor prescribed antibiotics for a week. Currently, there aren’t any laboratory tests to identify whether a mouse is carrying rat-bite fever bacteria.

So if you’ve been bitten or scratched by a mouse, you’ll need to get immediate medical care. You’ll need to take antibiotics that’ll protect you against life-threatening bacteria that the mouse might carry.

Step 4. Use a mask

Since mice move in the dark, it could be months before you spot one. But they leave signs of their presence. Fecal pellets and scratch marks on surfaces are the most common signs of mice infestation.

If you find urine or feces, clean the area with a bleach-water solution, and be sure to protect yourself by wearing gloves and a mask. Never try to vacuum mice droppings, as that would only release more bacteria into the air.

Step 5. Do something

Once you learn that there is a mice infestation, the last thing you should do is ignore it. Whether you set mouse traps yourself or call a pest control company, you’ll need to put your best efforts into getting rid of the mice.

A mice infestation will never go away naturally. It would only get worse. A mouse can live from 9 to 12 months, and each female can have up to 150 offspring. So whatever you do, do something when there’s a mouse in your house.

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