Up to 63% of homes in the United States have cockroach allergens. This can be very serious for children and individuals with asthma and serious allergies. Find out how cockroaches trigger asthma and allergies in McKinney Homes.
Why Are Cockroaches an Indoor Air Problem?
Cockroaches pollute indoor air and trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks. Allergens create an immune response in the body. When the immune system recognizes the allergen, the body reacts with allergy symptoms like sneezing, coughing, runny eyes, and eczema. Allergens can cause deadly responses like anaphylaxis and asthma.
Cockroach allergens are in their droppings, saliva, and shed skin. The allergens can become airborne, then settle on other particles. People can then inhale cockroach allergens, especially if they settle on pillows, bedding, and upholstered furniture.
Health Risks From Cockroaches
Cockroaches bring several health risks into homes, some more serious than others.
Cockroach allergies act like dust mite allergies. Roach saliva, shed skin, body parts, and droppings commonly trigger immune reactions. Children and adults with cockroach allergies have several symptoms that include:
- Nasal congestion and runny nose
- Itchy, red, watery eyes
- Postnasal drip
- Skin rashes and eczema
Leaving allergies untreated can lead to sinus infections, ear infections, and other breathing problems.
Cockroaches can trigger asthma attacks. Between 75 and 85% of people with positive allergy skin tests have asthma, too. When people are exposed to roach allergens, their symptoms can include
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness and pain
- Whistling or wheezing while breathing
- Difficulty sleeping because of airway issues
People with asthma can end up in the hospital when the attacks become serious.
Other Health Issues
Cockroaches spread bacteria and cause diseases like cholera, dysentery, and diarrhea. They also spread pathogens like salmonella, staphylococcus, and streptococcus as they crawl around kitchens, bathrooms, and countertops.
Cockroach Allergy Remedy
If you are exposed to cockroach allergens, you can use several remedies to reduce symptoms.
You can take antihistamines to relieve your nasal congestion and watery eyes. They are available as pills, nasal sprays, and liquids, but they may make you sleepy.
Nasal corticosteroids block allergic reactions and slow the swelling that creates nasal congestion.
Leukotriene receptor antagonists
Leukotriene receptor antagonists block leukotrienes, which function differently from histamines. These can also make people sleepy.
Cromolyn sodium is another effective nasal spray that fights histamines and leukotrienes.
Decongestants relieve nasal stuffiness. The side effects cause sleeplessness and increased blood pressure, so many people do not take them for long.
How to Prevent Cockroach Allergens
The best way to prevent cockroach allergens is to keep them from entering your home.
Tidy up food crumbs, spills, and clutter in your living spaces and your basement. Removing carpet also helps reduce cockroach infestations.
Cockroaches are attracted to food sources, including pet food. To prevent them from entering your home, do not let your dirty dishes pile up in the sink or the counter. Always use airtight containers for food storage, and put your leftovers in the refrigerator immediately.
You can prevent moisture build-up in your home by keeping relative humidity levels between 30 and 50%. You can measure your home’s humidity with a hygrometer. Install dehumidifiers and allow proper ventilation where you run the hot water regularly. If you have water leaks in your home, take the time to repair them.
If you do have an infestation, hire a professional exterminator like Stampede Pest Control to remove them permanently. We always use treatments that are safe to use in homes with children and pets.