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Could Pests be Triggering Your Asthma and Allergy Symptoms?
NPMA shares pest-proofing tips during Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month to help homeowners protect against indoor allergens
FAIRFAX, VA (May 6, 2019) — For more than 30 years, May has been designated Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, as it’s a peak season asthma and allergy sufferers. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), more than 60 million Americans suffer from asthma and allergies, 6 million of those people being children. As such, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is educating homeowners on how to prevent allergen buildup in their own homes.
“While most people associate allergies and asthma with sensitivities to pollen and grass, there are many things indoors that could act as triggers as well,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Common household pests including rodents, cockroaches and dust mites can all exacerbate allergy and asthma symptoms, especially in children. Controlling pests inside the home is key to staving off potential reactions.”
A 2014 survey, conducted by AAFA with the support of a grant from NPMA, which assessed physicians’ views on pests and their recommendations to patients with sensitivities to pest allergens, found more than nine out of ten allergists surveyed (97 percent) believed a pest-free home was an important step in preventing asthma and allergy symptoms.
To help ensure the air you’re breathing is fresh and clean, NPMA is sharing the following tips on how to pest-proof each room in your home.
Cockroaches can exacerbate the symptoms of allergy and asthma sufferers. To prevent an infestation, keep a meticulously clean kitchen, store food in airtight containers and avoid leaving out pet food.
Dust mites feed on human and animal dander, and vacuuming at least once a week using a machine with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter can help to prevent them.
Dust mites are most often found in the bed, where dander is most abundant. Wash linens frequently in hot water, and consider encasing pillows and mattresses in allergen-proof covers.
Thanks to an abundance of moisture, pests like cockroaches and rodents are drawn to this room, as it provides a warm, moist environment for populations to thrive. Be sure to routinely clean and cover drains, and fix any leaky pipes to prevent moisture buildup.
Dust mites and cockroaches alike thrive in humidity, so be sure to maintain the humidity level in the house at about 50 percent by properly ventilating basements and crawl spaces, and running a dehumidifier to prevent moisture buildup.
Droppings and dander from rodents such as mice and rats are other common allergens found inside the home, so keeping rodents outside with exclusion methods is important. Be sure to seal any cracks with an appropriate sealant, paying particular attention to areas where utility pipes enter the home.
With all types of pests, it is critical to contact a licensed pest control professional at the first signs of an infestation. For more information or to find a qualified pest control professional in your area, visit PestWorld.org.
About the National Pest Management Association
The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 5,500 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property from the diseases and dangers of pests. For more information, visit PestWorld.org or follow @PestWorld on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.