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Cockroaches: A Common Allergen & Asthma Trigger

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Published on May 13, 2015

Nobody wants to have cockroaches in their home or place of business. Their presence can not only make some people squirm, but can also lead to health concerns for building occupants.

Worldwide there are thousands of species of cockroaches and several dozen are associated with where humans live. Of these, just a handful of the species make up the vast majority of the pests found in our homes and buildings.

Cockroaches are one of man’s most commonly found pests. They are normally considered to be nocturnal insects, 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. Cockroaches are commonly found in crowded cities and the southern regions of the United States. Cockroach allergens likely play a significant role in asthma in many urban areas.”
For people who have asthma, it’s important for them to understand their asthma triggers as these can vary widely from person to person. For those sensitive to the presence of cockroach allergens, there are tests for their presence in people’s homes, schools and work environments. These indoor environmental tests can provide important information for controlling exposure and managing asthma symptoms.
There are steps that can be taken to reduce exposure to cockroach allergens and help to prevent them from infesting a home or building. They include the following:
• Store foods in airtight containers and keep lids on garbage.
• Keep properties and especially kitchens and areas with food clean and free of clutter.
• Seal cracks and openings in kitchens and throughout the 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 vacuum that has a HEPA filter or consider replacing carpeting with another type of flooring.
• The use of cockroach baits and traps can also be effective.

These are just a few things to know about cockroaches and how their presence can trigger allergies and asthma in some people. To learn more about this or other indoor air quality, health and safety, occupational or environmental issues, please visit the websites shown below.

Clark Seif Clark http://www.csceng.com
EMSL Analytical, Inc. http://www.emsl.com
Indoor Environmental Consultants, Inc. http://www.iecinc.net
LA Testing http://www.latesting.com
Zimmetry Environmental http://www.zimmetry.com
Healthy Indoors Magazine http://www.iaq.net
Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters http://HudsonDouglasPublicAdjusters.com

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