Cockroaches linked to asthma, allergies

By • Published: September 8th, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Chances are you know someone with asthma. This frightening, airway-constricting disease afflicts 20 million Americans, including 5 million children.

The causes of asthma and its debilitating attacks are varied. Cold air, respiratory infections, stress and allergic reactions can all trigger asthma. Did you know cockroaches are on that list, too?

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Immunology, exposure to cockroach allergens can cause asthma in kids.

The study examined the home environments of children with and without asthma in New York City. Investigators found that kids living in neighborhoods with a high prevalence of asthma had more cockroach allergens in their beds than did those from areas with low asthma rates. Children in high asthma areas also were more likely to be Hispanic or black and to live in an apartment complex.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, cockroaches can elicit allergy symptoms, too, such as stuffy nose, sinus congestion, itchy eyes and a scratchy throat.

If anyone in your family suffers from these symptoms frequently, or has asthma, it’s important to determine if cockroach allergens are a cause. An allergist can help you get to the root of the problem.

Don’t count cockroaches out, even if you don’t see them in your abode. They often hide inside walls, under cabinets and in unused areas. If roaches are to blame, remove as many from your residence as possible. Hiring an exterminator for regular pest-control service is probably the most efficient approach. Other techniques, such as placing roach traps in your home, can help, too.

Eradicating roaches also will help protect you and your family from diseases the pests can spread, including salmonella. Yuck!