Cockroach Allergens Continue To Be a Major Trigger of Asthma, Especially in Children

Friday, February 11, 2011

In recent years, several large-scale studies funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have reinforced the dangerous connection between cockroaches and asthma in children. NIEHS reported that one in five children in the United States have severe sensitivities to cockroach allergens, which can cause or increase the severity of asthma symptoms. These allergens are most commonly introduced into homes through cockroach saliva, droppings and the decomposing bodies of these pests.

"The presence of cockroaches in the home poses a severe risk to health, especially as an asthma trigger in children," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "Homeowners should feel confident in contacting a licensed pest professional as their services have shown to be most effective in reducing cockroach populations. The professional treatment of cockroach infestations will ultimately reduce the number of allergens that can exacerbate a child's asthma."

Homeowners must be vigilant in preventing such infestations, especially during the summer months. Cockroaches are most active when temperatures reach 70 degrees or above and these pests thrive in warm, dark and moist places.

NPMA offers homeowners these tips to protect their families and properties from cockroach infestations:

  • Keep food sealed and stored properly, particularly in kitchens.
  • Clean kitchens daily, where crumbs and trash are more likely to build up.
  • Dispose of garbage regularly and store in sealed containers.
  • Seal cracks and holes in homes, including entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Keep basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Contact a qualified pest professional to treat any infestations.

 


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