Discover the Link between Cockroaches and Childhood Allergies and Asthma

August 8, 2014By

When it comes to household pests, cockroaches might be at the very top of the list. Aside from the physical damage they can do to your home and its contents, they also tend to be large and fast, thus being the cause behind many a homeowner jumping for higher ground. However, cockroaches are also behind something much worse that can affect the most important part of your home: your children.

The Facts about Cockroaches and Childhood Asthma and Allergies

We’ll explore the details in a minute, but it’s been proven that cockroaches can trigger allergies in children which usually results in asthma attacks.

  • Fact: The number one cause of asthma attacks is exposure to cockroach exoskeletons.
  • Fact: The number one reason for lost time at work is because parents need to care for their asthmatic kids.
  • Fact: The best way to get rid of these vermin is through extermination and then preventative measures.
  • Fact: Sanitation is essential to keeping your home roach-free after extermination.

cockcroach

What Are Cockroach Allergies?

Cockroaches can trigger allergies just like any other common source like pollen, dust, and other animals. The first time this was reported was back in 1943. Scientists documented rashes appearing on patients’ skin right after cockroaches walked across it.

By the 70s, there was incontrovertible proof that not only did cockroaches cause allergic reactions in some people, but that the results were asthma. These acute attacks occur after the victim breathes in cockroach allergens and they can continue for hours.

Over the past 30 years, incidents of cockroach-related asthma attacks have skyrocketed. This could be due in large part to the increase in urban living conditions where the vermin are often everywhere. Children also tend to play indoors more than ever before.

Scientists believe that somewhere between 23% and 60% of people who live in urban cities and have asthma are also sensitive to the allergens of cockroaches. Making matters worse, it’s thought that at least 78% of urban homes are playing host to these insects. That number could be as high as 98% though. In homes that do have cockroaches present, there could easily be hundreds-of-thousands of them.

How Do Cockroaches Trigger Allergies?

In simplest terms, allergies are caused by the body’s overreaction to foreign objects it deems harmful. So, for example, despite pollen being harmless, those with allergies to it have bodies that go into emergency mode whenever it is inhaled, swallowed, etc.

For cockroaches, the body reacts to the creature’s saliva, feces, and body parts (i.e. their exoskeleton, which cockroaches shed). These are the allergens people’s bodies react to. Unfortunately, not only are we often talking about hundreds-of-thousands of insects in a single home, each one would be giving off these allergens practically around the clock.

How Can I Get Rid of These Allergens?

As we mentioned earlier, cockroaches must be handled by an exterminator. There are no traps or pesticides you can rely on for ridding your home of such a pervasive pest. Their numbers aside, these creatures are also all but immune to everything but the most severe approaches. However, your exterminator may recommend some products to put out after their visit for ongoing control.

Once your home is cleared, cleanliness and sanitation must be a priority. Don’t give cockroaches any reason to come snooping through your home. Cover food as well as garbage and thoroughly clean your home regularly.

Obviously, if you’re suffering from asthmatic symptoms due to cockroaches, you should also see a doctor for treatment.

No one should have to share their home with cockroaches or watch their children suffer the effects of asthma because of them. If cockroaches are problematic at your home, contact Fischer Environmental Services for a free assessment and control estimate, (800) 391-2565.

 

Sources:

http://www.asthma.partners.org/NewFiles/BoFAChapter13.html

http://www.pestworld.org/news-and-views/pest-health-hub/posts/the-truth-about-cockroaches-and-health/

http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=22&cont=312

Filed in: Cockroaches Linked to Increased Asthma and Allergy Attacks