Spring change of seasons and viruses

As we continue adapting to the change of seasons, clearing out sheds and swapping summer equipment for winter, we usually clear spaces in attics, barns and sheds to reorganize storage. Soon we’ll be rummaging around attics for the trappings of the Season of Light, however we celebrate it.

 Spurts of sorting are happening and, amidst all this, some of us have been dealing with the first round of mice looking for winter quarters. Rodents are typically drawn to our storage spaces. Be aware that rodents are carriers of viruses, some of which are deadly, and if we inhale dust from their saliva, urine or scat that they leave behind, we can contract a virus.

 While some rodents, like the white-footed mouse, have been identified as carriers here in the Northeast, they’re all potential carriers of viruses and bacteria.

 Without going overboard, here are a few things we can do.  To avoid breathing in rodent dust, spray any rodent nests or droppings with a solution of disinfectant or bleach, before attempting to clean up. Wear rubber gloves or cover hands with plastic bags to avoid touching what we clean up, and double bag it for the dump.

 Avoid touching dead rodents or birds. Special attention must be given to children who are often fascinated by dead wildlife and need to be forewarned as they explore the wonders of our area.

 Be aware that most of us normally touch our hands to our faces several times an hour (check it out!) Thus, depending on our attention to hand-washing, we risk inhaling organisms that spell trouble.

 It’s up to all of us to make sure that the flu and whatever other viruses hover around us don’t amount to anything in our area this year. It’s all about applying our New England ingenuity.

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