Scientists have known for some time that cockroaches produce allergens than can increase the severity of asthma symptoms, particularly in children. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, one in five children in the U.S. is severely sensitive to cockroach allergens. These allergens are introduced into homes through cockroach saliva, droppings and decomposing bodies. Now new research indicates that cockroaches may also harbor molds that can trigger allergic reactions.
In research on Madagascar hissing cockroaches — at 3 inches long and up to an inch wide, the King Kong of the roach world — a trio of Ohio doctoral students have found that the giant bugs carry 14 different types of molds. Several of these molds produce spores that can trigger stuffy noses, itching eyes, wheezing coughs and irritated skin in people with allergies. Additional research will be needed to see if common roaches and the hard-t0-kill German cockroaches that bedevil American apartments and homes similarly carry molds.
Allergies generally increase with repeated exposure. Since there is no such thing as a single cockroach, allergy risk increases exponentially if roaches enter your home. Allergens enter the air and then your sinuses and lungs on minute dust particles. Professional cockroach extermination and pest control is needed to eliminate the allergy and asthma risk caused by cockroaches.