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Cockroaches, Allergies & Asthma

Asthma and allergies may bug you, but did you know that a bug – specifically the cockroach – can trigger asthma and allergies?

Statistics show cockroach allergies are one of the most common worldwide indoor allergies. They can affect both adults and children, though children are known to be most susceptible. Despite this, people may not realize they have them. Research on cockroach allergies only began in the 1960s.

Cockroaches contain a protein that is an allergen for many people. An allergen is a substance that causes an allergic immune reaction. The body parts, saliva and waste of cockroaches are allergens. Even dead cockroaches can cause allergic reactions.

Symptoms of cockroach allergies are similar to those of other common allergies like dust, mites or seasonal sensitivities. People with cockroach allergies may notice their symptoms last beyond the time seasonal allergies would naturally lessen, or may occur when dust or mites aren’t present. Common symptoms of cockroach allergy include:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • wheezing
  • nasal congestion
  • nasal or sinus infections
  • ear infections
  • skin rash
  • itchy skin, nose, throat, or eyes
  • runny nose or postnasal drip

A cockroach allergy is also known to trigger, exacerbate, or even cause asthma in adults and children. It may affect children worse than adults, especially in urban areas where cockroaches are more common in larger numbers.

Cockroach allergies have also been shown to increase typical asthma symptoms in children more than in those with asthma not caused by cockroach-related exposure. Asthma symptoms in both children and adults may include:

  • whistling or wheezing while breathing
  • difficulty breathing
  • chest tightness, discomfort or pain
  • difficulty sleeping due to the above symptoms

You can develop sensitivities to cockroaches over a period of weeks or months. Cockroaches can be living in your home for quite some time before an allergy actually develops. They are good at hiding in walls and cracks. You may not even know they're there. Experts say that if you see just one roach in your house, about 800 could be nearby but out of sight.

As infestations grow over a period of time, the risk of experiencing an asthma attack due to exposure to these insects is much greater. That’s why it’s always best to make sure a small infestation is handled as quickly as possible since you don’t know if you’ve developed a sensitivity or not. If you already have allergies to dust mites or other insects, chances are very good that you might develop sensitivity to cockroaches too.

Besides being annoying, icky germ-spreaders, cockroaches can be allergy and asthma triggers. That’s nothing to sneeze at! Protect the health of your loved ones and get rid of cockroaches by contacting a licensed pest control professional.

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