When conditions outside worsen, mice and rats seek refuge. Don't let them find it in your home. The Healthy Homes Coalition reported that these pests can increase asthma and allergy symptoms - especially in children. Keep your home healthy and follow these tips for controlling vermin and how to get rid of them if they have already invaded your property: 

Preventing the presence of unwanted guests 

The vents, doorways, chimneys and other openings to your home are the gates to opportunity for mice, rats, squirrels and bats. Complete a home inspection of these entryways to keep your home safe. The Family Handyman suggested taking specific precautions not only for sealing openings, but also for landscaping and storage. 

Ensure that you store your bird feeder at least 15 feet away from the house. Also, tidy up any spills. You do not want a trail of bird food luring vermin into your home. Additionally, if you keep a pile of firewood, it should be kept away from the house.

Keep the bushes, trees and hedges trimmed and make sure that they do not touch the house. These plants can serve as bridges to your home. 

Walk around your home and fix any holes in window screens, gaps in mortar, holes in your weatherstripping or other general wear and tear on the exterior. Installing a chimney cap and sealing dryer vents are also important tasks to complete for home protection. 

Dealing with bothersome critters already in the home

You may have mice or rats living with you if you notice mouse droppings or holes in food packaging. If you believe that unwanted guests have made it into your home,  schedule a pest inspection. When it is determined that you have intruders, the first step is to keep your living area uncluttered and clean. Also, enjoy your meals in one spot and make sure that there are no crumbs left to entice your visitors - any leftovers out in the open attracts these critters. Keep food and trash in sealed containers to make further intrusion more difficult.  

Use traps specifically designed for mice and rats. Bait them and ensure that they are checked on a daily basis. If you capture a rat or mouse, make sure that it is thrown out immediately. Then reset and rebait the trap. You should repeat this process until your trap does not catch anything for at least a week.