Cockroach Infestations Increase Risk for Allergies and Asthma AttacksNPMA Staff
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
In recognition of National Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month,
celebrated each May, the National Pest Management Association
(NPMA) is reminding families that
cockroach allergens can trigger allergies and asthma attacks.
The saliva, droppings and decomposing bodies of cockroaches contain
allergen proteins known to trigger allergies and increase the
severity of asthma symptoms, especially in children.
"When most people think of allergy and asthma triggers, they
probably do not think of cockroaches," says Missy
Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. "But
homes, schools and other buildings that have cockroach infestations
can pose a serious health threat to those that suffer from
allergies and asthma. Cockroach allergens tend to accumulate in
areas that are not easily seen, like under appliances and sinks, so
keeping these areas clean is key."
In addition to triggering allergies and asthma, cockroaches are known to spread
33 different kinds of bacteria, six parasitic worms and at least
seven other kinds of human pathogens. As cockroaches crawl through
decaying matter or sewage, they turn into disease-carrying pests by
picking up germs on the spines of their legs and bodies. These
germs can then be transferred to humans on hard surfaces and
through food contamination.
The NPMA recommends these tips to help prevent cockroach
- Seal cracks around the outside of the home to prevent pest
- Vacuum frequently and dispose of garbage regularly.
- Keep counters and floors clean and free of crumbs that attract
pests. Pay extra attention to kitchens and bathrooms - especially
under appliances and sinks - as these areas are particularly
vulnerable to cockroach infestations due to the presence of food
products and moisture in plumbing fixtures.
- If you suspect you have an infestation, contact a licensed pest
professional to identify the species and recommend a course of
To learn more about cockroaches and the health threats they
pose, or to find a
licensed pest professional, visit www.pestworld.org
NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was
established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's
commitment to the protection of public health, food and