Cockroach Allergens in our Environment can increase asthma symptoms

Cockroaches are one of society’s most commonly found pests. Worldwide there are thousands of species of cockroaches and several dozen are associated with human habitats.  Of these, just a handful of species make up the vast majority of the pests found in homes, schools and offices.

The insects are normally considered to be nocturnal, so people may not always be aware of an infestation until it has gotten out of hand. Not only can cockroaches spread pathogens, but they are also a frequent cause of allergic reactions in people and are a known asthma trigger.  Some health experts also believe exposure to cockroach allergens may lead to the development of asthma in young children.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports, “Droppings or body parts of cockroaches and other pests can trigger asthma. Certain proteins are found in cockroach feces and saliva and can cause allergic reactions or trigger asthma symptoms in some individuals.”

Fortunately, there are simple steps that can be taken to reduce exposure risks to cockroach allergens, including the following:
•    Store foods in airtight containers and keep lids on garbage.
•    Keep commercial and residential kitchens and food storage areas clean and free of clutter.
•    Seal cracks and openings in kitchens and throughout a building.
•    Reduce humidity and repair any parts of a building that have suffered water damage.
•    Wash bedding frequently using hot water.
•    Carpeting can act as a sink for cockroach allergens so regularly vacuum with a HEPA vacuum or consider replacing carpeting with another type of flooring.
•    The use of cockroach baits and traps can also be effective.

The presence of cockroaches can not only make some people squirm, but can also lead to respiratory concerns for building occupants. For people who have asthma, it’s important for them to understand their exposure risks to various asthma triggers. For those sensitive to the presence of cockroach allergens, FunGuy offers indoor environmental allergen testing services to identify cockroach and other common indoor allergens.  These environmental tests can provide important information for controlling and minimizing exposure and managing asthma symptoms.

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