Having cockroaches in your home is more than just a nuisance. Roaches infesting your home can be dangerous to your health, too. Not only can they trigger asthma attacks, they may cause asthma to develop in children. Here is what you need to know about cockroaches and health.
Cockroaches and Asthma The allergens that cockroaches leave behind in their feces and debris from carcasses are enough to cause other serious health risks.
Children in inner city areas are 20 percent more likely to have asthma. This high occurrence has been linked to the fact that these homes are more commonly littered with cockroaches and other pest allergens.
Not only do allergens trigger allergies and asthma attacks, they can cause severe and troublesome asthma in those with allergic tendencies when exposure to high allergen levels. Living in a home with cockroaches has the same effect as outdoor air pollution.
It is estimated that one visible roach represents a population of a hundred roaches living in the walls. Many parts of the cockroach are allergenic, including their bodies, urine, feces, and saliva. When they die, their bodies break down and they become part of the house dust. In old apartment buildings, there may be many years' roach allergen in the dust, so anyone living in a home where there have been roaches at any time is at risk.
While roach allergen concentration is highest in the kitchen, the bedroom is a more important venue for exposure simply because we spend so much time in it. An estimated 6 million U.S. bedrooms contain enough cockroach allergen to cause asthma.
How Can I Avoid Cockroach Exposure? Avoid exposure to cockroaches and their droppings. Pests need food, water and shelter to survive. There are changes you can make to your home to reduce the numbers of these unwanted “guests”:
- Cover all trash cans tightly.
- Store food in airtight containers. This includes food kept in cabinets and on counters.
- Clean all dirty dishes. Do not leave them in the sink or on the counter.
- Sweep up any food crumbs from the counters, stove top, tables and floor. Wipe up any spills. Vacuum and mop floors regularly.
- Avoid leaving pet food out in a bowl. Clean the bowl regularly, like other dirty dishes.
- Fix leaky pipes under sinks and in the basement. Cockroaches like damp places.
- Seal cracks in the walls and floors where cockroaches can enter your home.
- Use cockroach baits and traps. Don’t use sprays. They can irritate allergies and asthma.
Certain over-the-counter and prescription medicines may help reduce cockroach allergy symptoms. Talk to your doctor about what medications may be right for you.
- Antihistamines are available as pills, liquids or nose sprays. They can relieve sneezing and itching in the nose and eyes. They also reduce a runny nose and, to a lesser extent, nasal stuffiness.
- Nasal corticosteroids are a type of nose spray. They reduce swelling in your nose and block allergic reactions.
- Leukotriene receptor antagonists block the action of important chemical messengers (other than histamine) involved in allergic reactions.
- Cromolyn sodium is a nose spray that blocks the release of chemicals that cause allergy symptoms, including histamine and leukotrienes.
- Decongestants are available as pills, liquids, nose sprays or drops. They help shrink the lining of the nasal passages and relieve stuffiness.
This post was originally published at http://OrangeCountyBestExterminators.com