The Risk of Roaches: How to Keep Your Home Allergen FreeNPMA Staff
Thursday, March 3, 2011
For 23 million Americans -- including 7 million children --
spring showers bring more than rejuvenation. They bring sniffles,
sneezes and wheezing that could only mean allergy season is
around the corner. But before you run for cover indoors
this spring, take heed: One of the most dangerous allergens may be
crawling inside your home.
Cockroaches spread nearly
33 different kinds of bacteria, six types of parasitic
worms and seven kinds of human pathogens. And although this
gross factor alone is huge, the biggest health threat comes
from the skin and fecal droppings the critters leave behind.
"Cockroach allergens accumulate as a result of droppings and
shed skins, which can trigger asthma attacks in adults and
children," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of
public affairs for the National Pest Management Association
The increased risk of an asthma attack is most pronounced in
children. Recent medical studies have targeted cockroach
allergens as the trigger for numerous allergic reactions and as the
main cause of missed school days.
If you do see a cockroach
scuttling across your floor, Henriksen advises to watch for
a larger problem. "Unfortunately, if you see one cockroach,
there are sure to be many more. Proper control and removal is
needed to prevent the build-up of cockroach allergens and the
spread of bacteria."
Cockroaches are most active when temperatures reach 70 degrees
or above and thrive in warm, dark and moist places. NPMA
offers these helpful tips for keeping cockroaches out of your home
- Vacuum. Early and often is best for reducing harmful cockroach
- Keep a spotless kitchen. To prevent infestations, keep all your
food and garbage in sealed containers and dispose of
regularly. Clean behind and under appliances regularly, as
these are favorite hiding spots for cockroaches.
- Ventilate. Air out basements and crawl spaces to prevent
- Seal the entrances. Close off cracks and holes around utility
pipes that provide easy access to your home.
- Act quickly. If you find evidence of an infestation, contact a
licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the problem.
To find one in your area, visit www.pestworld.org.
The 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 property.