How to Reduce Cockroach Allergies
THE TRUTH ABOUT COCKROACHES
These ugly creatures do not intend to scare you or to make you sick; they are just looking for food. Eliminating their food sources is the key to eliminating them. Their bodily waste, like that of the house dust mite, can cause allergic reactions. However, the onset of an allergic reaction is somewhat slower than that of other allergens. One has to inhale a significant quantity in an infested area before a reaction occurs.
Cockroaches are a successful species, having remained relatively unchanged for 400 million years. There are more than 3,500 species. However, only eight species are found indoors in North America. Cockroaches are highly adaptable and indigenous to tropical climates. With the advent of centrally-heated homes, they can live anywhere in any season.
It is estimated that more than ten million people in the United States are allergic to cockroaches, and about 40 percent of asthma sufferers are thought to be allergic to cockroaches.
Cockroaches are attracted to food and to warm, moist areas.
Here are the most common places to find cockroaches, ranked in order of magnitude
1. Kitchen cabinets
2. Kitchen floors
3. Damp basements
5. Upholstered furniture
7. Soft furnishings
10. Anywhere there is water and food
Getting rid of these pests is your number-one priority. Roach traps can be effective, but if infestation is severe, you may need a commercial exterminator. The best long-term approach is to reduce the attraction of your home, so they leave for “greener pastures.” Make it more difficult for cockroaches to enter your home by closing entry points with sealants. Talk to your local hardware store for practical advice.
Here’s a checklist of things you can do to eliminate cockroaches
- Reduce food sources.
- Restrict all eating to the dining room and kitchen. Use trays if eating elsewhere and wash them regularly.
- Wash dirty dishes and clean counters immediately. Don’t let dirty dishes sit in the dishwasher.
- Clean up crumbs and spills immediately. Keep drawers, cabinets, microwaves, ovens, and refrigerators clean. Do not let soil accumulate.
- Ensure that all food garbage is tightly sealed in one garbage can and empty the can often. Wash the can regularly.
- Don’t leave your pet’s food out overnight.
- Store all dry foods in tightly sealed containers.
- Clean drawers regularly. Dispose of “junk.”
- Regularly throw away (or recycle) paper products (especially those from the grocery store), newspapers, and magazines.
- Reduce dampness.
- Remove rotted flooring and damp wallpaper.
- When painting or wall-papering, make sure fungicide is applied to walls beforehand.
- Fix leaking pipes.
- Waterproof cement floors in the garage and basement. Cover with plastic to prevent moisture from rising.
- Repair cracks in the foundation.
- Install dehumidifiers and fans to reduce the moisture level (relative humidity). Aim for 40%; humidity must be below 50% to discourage infestation of
- Elimination of cockroach infestation and subsequent prevention of reinfestation are challenges. Thoroughness in reducing food sources and dampness can prevent reinfestation.