Missy Henriksen: Hi! I am Missy Henriksen with the National Pest Management Association. Today, I will tell you about how cockroaches can affect people who suffer from allergies and asthma.
Cockroaches are known to carry bacteria, parasites and various other human pathogens. In addition to spreading disease, cockroaches can also trigger allergies. Certain proteins found in roach droppings, saliva secretions and cast skins and some leftover shelf from the insect's mold have been shown to cause allergic reactions. In fact, detectable levels of cockroach allergens can be found in at least one location in 63% of all US homes.
Symptoms of cockroach allergens vary, but they can include itchy skin, stuffy nose, dry eyes and scratchy throat. Cockroach allergens also aggravate symptoms of asthma. These symptoms are specially pronounced in children.
A recent study by the National Institutes of Health indicated that one in five children in the United States is severely sensitive to cockroach allergens, and when exposed to them experience asthma symptoms like wheezing, coughing and tightness in the chest.
Symptoms don't appear to worsen when these same children are exposed to other allergens like pet dander and dust mites. Research also indicates that cockroaches are the number one allergen triggering asthma symptoms and inner city children.
If you are experiencing frequent symptoms of asthma or allergies throughout the year, consider getting tested for cockroach allergy. Avoid an infestation by making sure your house is an inhospitable environment for cockroaches.
Clean regularly and thoroughly, especially in the kitchen where food particles can build up. Keep your basement or crawl space dry, cockroaches love damp areas. Seal up any holes, crevasses or cracks in your house.
And if you suspect you have a cockroach infestation, contact a licensed pest professional who can help you solve the problem and keep allergy aggravating cockroaches out of your home.