Asthma is a lifelong disease that causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. It can limit a person’s quality of life.
The number of people diagnosed with asthma grew by 4.3 million from 2001 to 2009. From 2001 through 2009 asthma rates rose the most among black children, almost a 50% increase. Asthma was linked to 3,447 deaths (about 9 per day) in 2007.
One of the major triggers for asthma is a prehistoric pest that may be sneaking around in your own home. That everyday pest is the cockroach. Cockroach excrement and decomposing roaches are just the right size to be lifted up into the air and inhaled into the bronchial tubes. Persons that have allergic reactions to cockroaches will manifest asthma in reaction. With so many more cases of asthma being exhibited, it is imperative that we decrease every possible allergen that can cause this health hazard, and one way is to decrease the number of cockroaches in our homes. Following, I will discuss ways that roaches can be controlled and exterminated in your home to protect your family from this rising health concern.
First, make sure that your home is sealed from cracks and crevices that can allow any roaches in your home in the first place. Check weather stripping, windows and screens, and utility entry points. Caulk where you can to seal any opportunity to let the outside pests in. Check any pipes for even the smallest leak. Roaches only need a drop of water, and even the tiniest leaking can be inviting.
Second, keep garbage bins sealed and away from your home. Make sure that flowers and brush are not in direct contact with your home.
Next, keep all food AND water sources out of access for the roach. Put pet food in sealed plastic or metal containers. Keep your dishes washed and dried daily (ugh, yes I know). Do not leave water in the sink over night. Wipe down counter tops. Put trash out before you go to bed. Make a NO FOOD rule in every room except for the kitchen dining area.
Lastly, survey your home to locate areas of high roach traffic. Signs of a cockroach infestation include the presence of fecal matter, egg cases, cast skins (exoskeletons), carcasses and live insects. This array of body parts and debris attracts roaches to the area. Begin treatment for cockroaches in those areas of high traffic. Good options to control cockroach infestations for asthma sufferers are enclosed roach bait traps, gels, and if you have cabinets that are separated from the ceiling, you can place boric acid based products on the top of them, to keep the product out of reach of children and pets. Treat the area outside of your home with products that deter incoming pests, such as diatomaceous earth.
Utilize all of these tips along with a thorough house cleaning to remove any cockroach debris that may be left behind. These steps should assist your family in managing cockroach related asthma.
Additional resources for children and families below: