Those nasty little dust mites and allergens you always hear about aren’t the only things you have to worry about with your carpet, unfortunately.
This one is actually a normal bacteria that exists in your intestines, but some species can cause serious infections in humans. It can cause urinary tract infections, bacteremia, bacterial endocarditis, diverticulitis and meningitis, and some strains are resistant to treatment.
This one can be particularly nasty for those with compromised immune systems. It can cause some serious-looking skin infections, septic shock, meningitis (among other things) and even death.
Also known as the Norwalk virus, Norovirus causes symptoms similar to food poisoning or even the stomach flu. It can survive in your carpet or in your bed for four to six weeks, and it becomes airborne as people walk or roll across it. If you live in areas with a prevalence of dust, like Texas, New Mexico or Arizona, you’re in even more danger.
Several fungi and molds can invade your home, some of which can cause serious allergies and even death. Aspergillus, Rhizopus, Alternaria, Geotrichum and Cladosporium are all potential bedmates.
This penicillin-resistant superhero of the bacterial world can run rampant in your carpet and mattress, especially if you have any athletes in the house.
They’ll bring it home from the gym or the locker room in that nasty gym bag you just realized you never wash, take off their shoes before setting a nasty dirt-covered foot on the carpet… and track in whatever they brought home after sweating through practice. You don’t just walk (barefoot) on your carpet. You play video games, wrestle, watch TV and more. Hopefully you don’t have a cut. MRSA loves those. Then it’s bedtime.
MRSA can be carried by healthy people for hours or even years. It causes red bumps that become more painful and larger over time and results in a fever and rashes. It only gets worse from there and can become untreatable, eventually leading to death.
Generally, this one is the most dangerous during the winter months, especially as you and the little ones track in bacteria-friendly dampness on those galoshes. It causes a potentially deadly disease known as campylobacteriosis, which can be dangerous to people with a compromised immune system, like small children or the elderly. Symptoms include bloody diarrhea, cramping, abdominal pain and fever.
Vacuum regularly, keep your carpet dry, and have it cleaned at least once per year, preferably twice. You can also cover high-traffic areas with washable (or at least more easily replaceable) area rugs.