Hidden Allergy Triggers in Your HomeBy Dr. Jorge Parada
- National Pest Management Association
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Asthma (Greek for "panting") is a common
chronic recurring inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by inflammation of the
bronchial tubes and bronchospasm. People with asthma
experience symptoms when their airways tighten, inflame, or fill
with mucus. Common asthma symptoms include coughing (especially at
night), wheezing, chest tightness, or pressure, and shortness of
Asthma is a serious, sometimes life-threatening disease.
Unfortunately, it directly affects the quality of life for almost
25 million Americans, including an estimated 7 million children.
Millions more are impacted as family members of persons with
While some people are born with the tendency to have allergic
responses, others acquire the tendency as they grow older. However,
this predisposition to allergic reactions is only half the story in
regard to asthma. The other half involves exposure to triggers that
can elicit an allergic reaction.
When most people think of allergy and “asthma triggers," they
often focus on plant pollens, dust, animal dander and stinging
insects. However, one of the most common household pests – the cockroach – is one
of the biggest offenders as a trigger of allergies and asthma.
This is especially concerning given the Asthma and Allergy
Foundation of America reports that 78 to 98 percent of American
urban homes have cockroaches. Asthmatic children exposed to
cockroach allergens are more likely to experience wheezing,
sleepless nights, unscheduled medical visits and hospitalizations
for asthma, as well as increased school absences.
Whether alive or dead, the cockroach presents a major problem to
those who are sensitive to allergens. Their saliva, feces, urine,
as well as decomposing bodies, all become part of the house dust
causing allergic reactions. Therefore, if a person’s immune system
develops allergic reactions to cockroach debris, it is essential
that they take measures to keep their home free of cockroaches.
Even spotting just a few cockroaches may be an ominous sign, as it
is estimated that one visible roach represents a population of a
hundred roaches living in the walls!
It’s important for a person suffering from allergy or asthma
symptoms to see his or her doctor. A medical professional will be
able to test for a cockroach allergy, as well as other common
allergens. Although there is no cure for asthma, asthma can be
controlled through medical treatment and management of
environmental triggers. A doctor may recommend the use of
antihistamines and decongestant medications to manage symptoms, and
may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication and
However, controlling allergies and asthma is a two-fold process.
If a cockroach infestation is suspected, it is advisable to contact a qualified pest
control company to inspect the home, identify areas where
cockroaches are present, and recommend a course of action to
eliminate these environmental triggers.
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