Roaches and Childhood Asthma
The Connection Between Roaches and Asthma in Children
We all know that cockroaches can be nasty pests when they take up residence in our homes. But they can also pose many health risks, including triggering allergic reactions and severe asthma attacks in children.
Consider the following excerpt from the Partners Asthma Center web site:
"It turns out that excrement and debris from decomposing cockroach bodies are of just the right size to be lifted into the air, breathed onto the bronchial tubes, and recognized by the immune system — in certain people — as a signal to make an allergic reaction. As you know, the allergic reaction in the bronchial tubes is asthma.
Recently, a major, federally-funded research project looked for allergy producing substances in the homes of several hundred children with asthma living in several major cities across the United States. Specifically, they measured the amount of cat, dust mite, and cockroach allergen in the bedrooms of these children aged 4 to 9 years. The results were quite striking.
The most important allergen in these inner-city homes came from cockroaches. And the worst asthma was found in those children who had both the allergic tendency to make reactions to cockroach allergens and exposure to high concentrations of those cockroach allergens in their homes."
The US Environmental Protection Agency has also published warnings about the connection between cockroaches and asthma:
"Droppings or body parts of cockroaches and other pests can trigger asthma. Certain proteins, called allergens, are found in cockroach feces and saliva and can cause allergic reactions, or trigger asthma symptoms, in some individuals. Cockroaches are commonly found in crowded cities and the southern regions of the United States. Cockroach allergens likely play a significant role in asthma in many inner-city areas."
Finally, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America had this to say regarding the connection between cockroaches and childhood asthma:
"In the 1970s, studies made it clear that patients with cockroach allergies develop acute asthma attacks. The attacks occur after inhaling cockroach allergens and last for hours. Asthma has steadily increased over the past 30 years. It is the most common chronic disease of childhood. Now we know that the frequent hospital admissions of inner-city children with asthma often is directly related to their contact with cockroach allergens—the substances that cause allergies."
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