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- What are Roach Allergies?
- Symptoms of Roach Allergies
- Diagnosing Roach Allergies
- Help for Roach Allergies
What are Roach Allergies?
Cockroaches are troublesome insects that have been around for millions of years. They regularly infest human dwellings and are difficult to get rid of. Cockroaches carry many different strains of bacteria that can be passed to humans. German and American cockroaches are the two varieties known to cause or worsen asthma and allergic rhinitis. Droppings from these insects can easily become airborne, allowing them to be inhaled directly into the nasal passages and lungs causing inflammation and allergic reactions.
Symptoms of Roach Allergies
Those with cockroach allergies are allergic to the proteins found in the droppings. Exposure through touch or inhalation of the airborne particles can cause a variety of symptoms. The most common symptoms are nasal congestion, sneezing and eye irritation. Cockroach allergies may also cause an allergic condition of the eyes and sinuses called rhinoconjunctivitis. Post-nasal drip, sinus pressure and allergy-induced asthma symptoms like shortness of breath and wheezing can also be due to cockroach allergies. Roach allergies often worsen during the summer and winter months when homes are sealed up tight resulting in poor ventilation.
Diagnosing Roach Allergies
Year-round allergies are a sign that your trigger is more likely to come from inside the home. Anyone who has chronic allergy symptoms like wheezing, itchy eyes, a scratchy throat or cough should see an allergist to determine the cause of the symptoms. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends testing for cockroach and all other major indoor allergens including dust mites, mold and dander for any patient with chronic asthma.
A scratch test is most commonly used to determine if a patient is allergic to cockroaches. Tiny amounts of the cockroach allergen are placed just beneath the skin and observed for an allergic reaction. Reddening, swelling or itching at the site indicates a positive result.
Help for Roach Allergies
Cockroach allergies can be prevented by keeping your home clear of all potential food sources. Remove clutter, put away food and fix any leaking pipes. Regular cleaning and proper hygiene are the keys to preventing infestations. If an infestation is discovered, contact a professional exterminator to deal with the problem right away.
Those who suffer from roach allergies are often troubled by other indoor allergens as well. Testing can confirm triggers and a specific regimen of immunotherapy (allergies shots) may be prescribed. Prescription or over-the-counter antihistamines may also be recommended for periodic exposure but many allergy medications have undesirable side effects.