Cockroaches: The Little Known Culprit that Triggers Asthma Attacks & AllergiesNPMA Staff
Friday, May 13, 2011
May marks National Allergy and Asthma Awareness Month,
and the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns families
are a leading trigger of allergies and asthma attacks. The pests
saliva, droppings and decomposing bodies contain allergen proteins
known to trigger allergies and increase the severity of asthma
symptoms, especially in children.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
asthma rates climbed to 8.2 percent in 2009 from 7.3 percent in
2001. In children, the rate of asthma was 9.6 percent in 2009
compared to 8.7 percent in 2001.
"Most people are aware of typical indoor allergens including
mold, pet dander, dust and second-hand smoke, but they should also
be mindful of any cockroach infestations in their home or other
places such as schools," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of
public affairs for the NPMA. "Cockroach allergens are typically
found in areas that are hard to see, such as under appliances and
sinks, so it's important to periodically check those areas, keeping
them clean and dry."
Cockroaches also spread disease such as Salmonella by picking
up germs on the spines of their legs, easily contaminating food and
surfaces that they touch. They spread at least 33 kinds of
bacteria, six types of parasitic worms and at least seven other
kinds of human pathogens.
The NPMA recommends these tips to prevent cockroaches from
infesting your home:
- 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
- Pay extra attention to kitchens and bathrooms, especially under
appliances and sinks as these areas are particularly vulnerable to
- If you suspect 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
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