Cockroach Allergy

There are 55 species of cockroaches in the United States, but if they’re living in your home or workplace, you likely don’t care what family they belong to. As a group, these 6-legged, shelled insects with the wavy antennae tend to prefer a moist, warm habitat because most are tropical in origin. They are mostly nocturnal, scavenging at night for food and water – and leaving behind trails of bacteria and allergens. 

Recent studies point to the large role that cockroach allergen plays in the severity of asthma.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cockroaches tend to hide in cracks and crevices and can move freely from room to room or adjoining housing units via wall spaces, plumbing and other utility installations. Entry into homes is often accomplished through food and beverage boxes, grocery sacks, animal food and household goods carried into the home.

Cockroach allergen levels are often highest on kitchen cabinets and floors, but moisture-laden bathrooms and toilets usually serve as secondary areas. Studies suggest that the bedroom is another significant reservoir in heavily infested homes.

The greater the number of people living in a single home, the higher the level of moisture and food that will be produced in that dwelling. Poorly contained food and garbage is a well-known risk factor. 

To reduce cockroach allergen in your home, take away their food and water:

  • Repair leaky faucets.

  • Wash dishes immediately after use; dry and put away.

  • Wipe down sinks and countertops.

  • Keep countertops free of food.

  • Store food in sealed containers or in fridge.

  • Never store wet sponges or dishrags under the sink.

  • Use a lid on your trash bin; empty daily.

  • Wash or rinse bottles and cans before putting in recycling. Store recycling outside.

  • Throw away stacks of papers or brown bags – they’re perfect hiding places for cockroaches.

  • Keep food out of bedrooms and family rooms; clean crumbs.

  • Keep laundry area clean and dry.

Look for dust clumps containing insect parts (cockroach nests), then vacuum or sweep problem areas at least every 2 to 3 days. The CDC also recommends using roach traps or gels to cut down on the number of cockroaches in your home.