Cockroaches. They’re creepy, crawly — and a leading cause of allergies and asthma!
Cockroach allergens are found in the feces, saliva, and body parts of the insects. They cause allergy symptoms, such as irritated skin, itchy eyes and nose, scratchy throat, and can exacerbate asthma conditions. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, there is a correlation between exposure to cockroach allergens and the development of asthma in children.
While cockroach species can be found around the world, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that urban and southern homes are the most at risk for cockroach infestations. In fact, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that 78 to 98 percent of urban homes have cockroaches — with as many as 900 to 330,000 cockroaches per home!
So what can you do to keep your home and family safe from the effects of cockroach allergens? Since cockroaches can be difficult to get rid of, if there is a known infestation, contact a professional exterminator for proper eradication of the pests. There are also steps that you can take everyday to ensure that cockroaches don’t invade your home.
The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences suggests using the exclusion and sanitation approach to cockroach prevention. Elimination involves preventing cockroaches from entering your home. From cracks to drain traps to groceries, cockroaches can find a way into your home in the oddest of places. Use these tips to secure them:
- Screen windows and close doors
- Caulk cracks and gaps
- Run water periodically in spare bathrooms
- Place fiberglass window screens over roof vent pipes
- Scan grocery items before storing them
- Inspect children’s backpacks and lunchboxes
- Seal gaps around plumbing, wall outlets, and switch plates (condo- and apartment-dwellers)
Sanitation involves eliminating food sources, moisture sources, and harborage sources for the insects. Without food, water, and warm dark places to hide, cockroaches are less likely to take up residence in your home.
Many people also use chemicals to prevent and treat cockroach infestations. But for allergy- and asthma-sufferers these chemicals can be as harmful as the cockroaches. As a chemical-free line of defense for protecting your home, consider using a powerful vacuum cleaner and vapor steam cleaner combination to keep your indoor environment clean and free of unwanted pests.
Unlike cat dander allergens, which are small and can float in the air for hours, cockroach allergens are large and quickly settle on surfaces and in carpet. For maximum disinfection and deep cleaning of hard surfaces, use a vapor steam cleaner such as the Reliable Enviromate E3. Transforming ordinary tap water into powerful, sanitizing steam, the Enviromate E3 (and similar units) effectively kill germs and eliminate dirt and debris from hard surfaces such as kitchen counters, floors, and bathrooms.
For homes with carpet, a high-quality deep cleaner vacuum like the Bissell ProHeat 2X CleanShot will further protect your family. This deep cleaner uses hot water and heavy-duty brushes to remove dirt and debris lingering deep inside your carpet, rugs, and upholstery.
These simple suggestions will help you breathe easier and avoid the allergic effects of cockroaches.