World Asthma Day Raises Awareness Of Pest-Related Health Issue

World Asthma Day, observed May 6th during Asthma Awareness Month, highlights a significant health issue facing many American families. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 22 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, suffer from asthma.  This respiratory disease not only results in over 2 million ER visits each year but, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, accounts for $16 billion in healthcare expenditures and lost productivity. 

Although there are various disease triggers, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) concur that the presence of pests, notably cockroaches and rodents, is a leading trigger, especially in children. 

"With the EPA's estimation that Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, it is imperative for homeowners to recognize the health threats associated with pests in prompting asthma attacks," says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "We fully support the EPA in its effort to raise awareness of asthma triggers, particularly the presence of pests." 

Cockroaches spread nearly 33 different kinds of bacteria and six kinds of parasitic worms. As cockroaches crawl through sewage, they can pick up and spread germs on the spines of their legs and bodies.  Mice are capable of dropping up to 25,000 fecal pellets each year, an estimated 70 times each day, which can trigger allergies and spread disease, including Hantavirus.

NPMA experts offer these tips to help homeowners prevent pest infestations: 

  • Vacuum often to eliminate pest allergens.
  • Dispose of garbage regularly.
  • Keep food in sealed containers to prevent contamination.
  • Properly ventilate basements and crawl spaces to eliminate harborage points.
  • Seal cracks, holes and space around utility pipes that lead into the home.
  • If you suspect an infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect and treat the pest problem.