Yep, we’re talking cockroaches here — specifically their saliva, shed skin, and droppings. Gross, but roaches are actually well-established allergy and asthma triggers.
Most people with asthma have the tendency to make allergic responses in their bronchial tubes to certain things that they breathe in. This predisposition to make allergic reactions is only half the story in asthma. The other half involves exposure to those things that can elicit an allergic reaction – in this case, COCKROACHES!
It turns out that excrement and debris from decomposing cockroach bodies are of just the right size to be lifted into the air, breathed into the bronchial tubes, and recognized by the immune system — in certain people — as a signal to make an allergic reaction. The allergic reaction in the bronchial tubes is asthma.
A major, federally-funded research project looked for allergy producing substances in the homes of several hundred children with asthma, living in several major cities across the United States.
The most important allergen in these inner-city homes came from cockroaches. It was the combination of both the allergic tendency and the allergen exposure that put the children at the greatest risk for troublesome asthma.
The lesson that we learn from the study of cockroaches in asthma is this: if your asthma is difficult to control, make an effort to determine what your allergic tendencies are. If you find that you have allergic sensitivities to things in your home or work place, make every effort to reduce your exposure to those allergens. Although we cannot yet change our allergic tendencies, we can protect ourselves from breathing in large amounts of the substances to which we are allergic. By doing so, we can make our asthma better without taking a single prescription to be filled at the pharmacy.
So what should you do about cockroaches and asthma? According to the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America, here’s how to manage a cockroach allergy.
- If you have a cockroach allergy, avoid contact with roaches and their droppings.
- Rid your home of the roaches by calling DA Exterminating. We’re the experts!
- Do not leave food and garbage uncovered.
- To manage nasal and sinus symptoms, use antihistamines, decongestants and anti-inflammatory medications. Your doctor will also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications and bronchodilators if you have asthma.
- If you keep having serious allergic symptoms, see an allergist about “allergy injections” with the cockroach extract. They can reduce symptoms over time.