Can Cockroaches Cause Allergies?

American cockroach

You may be surprised to learn that there is a connection between cockroaches and allergic reactions. Indeed, the common household roach carries proteins that trigger mild illness in some people. Even dead roaches can cause allergies in some people. Cockroaches carry enzymes in the proteins of their saliva, excrement, and shedding body parts which may cause allergies in humans. These enzymes spread easily throughout the home and can trigger unpleasant allergic reactions. 

Between 78% and 98% of people in urban areas have unwanted roach visitors in their homes. Cockroaches are a common allergen. Up to 60% of people with asthma in urban areas are allergic to roaches. 

What are the Symptoms of Roach Sllergies? 

The most frequently reported symptoms of cockroach allergy are mild reactions, similar to seasonal allergies or the common cold. 

The most common symptoms are:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Itchy throat, nose, or mouth
  • Eye irritation
  • Postnasal drip
  • Itchy skin rash 
  • Frequent ear and sinus infection 
  • Nasal congestion 

In people with asthma, cockroach allergy may also trigger the following symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • A wheezing or whistling sound when breathing out
  • Trouble sleeping 

For people living with asthma, it is possible for cockroach allergy to trigger asthma attacks. See your doctor or an allergist if you experience any serious symptoms. Cockroach allergy is detectable by a skin test, in which your doctor will apply a small amount of extract on the skin to test if a rash or other irritation develops. 

How to Prevent Cockroach Allergy

The good news is that cockroach allergy is avoidable. You can prevent allergic reactions to cockroaches by clearing your home of cockroaches. You can do this by regularly cleaning your home and using cockroach baits and traps. It’s important to keep a clean kitchen in order to cut off potential cockroach food sources. Regularly sweep or mop the kitchen floor, wipe off counters and other surfaces like stovetops with a sponge, store food in airtight containers, and avoid leaving out pet food. Cockroach saliva, droppings, and decomposing body parts are common triggers of cockroach allergen, so it’s best to keep away any potential food source to avoid these unwanted substances in your home. 

Vacuuming is another essential part of the home cleaning routine that can prevent cockroach allergy. Regularly vacuuming your rugs and carpets will get rid of human and pet dander, on which cockroaches like to feast. Vacuum at least once a week to eliminate these from your home. You should also wash clothes regularly, especially if you suspect they may be carrying dust mister or dander. Wash linens in hot water and encase pillows in hypoallergenic pillow covers. 

Humid environments are highly prone to cockroaches. Try to eliminate moisture as much as possible to avoid a roach infestation. You may also run a dehumidifier in particularly moist areas.

Seal cracks and holes in walls and floors to prevent bugs from crawling through from outside. You can do this by using a putty knife and filling up cracks with silicone-based caulk or spackling. 

How to Treat Cockroach Allergies

Cockroach allergies, like the symptoms caused by any allergen, are unpleasant. You may find yourself sniffling, wiping your nose, coughing, and sneezing during the day or in the middle of the night. If you detect from a skin test that you are suffering from cockroach allergy, know that the condition is easily treatable just like most allergic reactions. Even if you have taken all the preventative measures, it’s still possible that you may end up with roaches that trigger allergies, especially if you already have asthma. If you do experience an allergic reaction, you can still try to limit cockroach exposure which will lessen symptoms. If symptoms persist or worsen, there are over-the-counter and prescription medicines to treat symptoms. 

The following medications are used to treat symptoms in people experiencing cockroach allergy:

  1. Antihistamines: Many antihistamines such as Benadryl are affordable, over-the-counter drugs that come in a pill, tablet or liquid form. They target normal allergy symptoms such as cough, sneeze, runny nose, itchy throat, and itchy or watery eyes. 
  2. Nasal corticosteroids: Nasal corticosteroids are cortisone-like medicines sprayed or inhaled through the noise to treat hay fever, nasal issues, or other allergy symptoms. These medicines are available only with a doctor’s prescription. 
  3. Leukotriene receptor antagonists: These medicines are used to treat chronic asthma and often come in tablet form. They block the action of important chemical messengers that trigger allergic reactions. 
  4. Cromolyn sodium: Cromolyn sodium is a prescription nasal spray known as a “mast cell stabilizer.” It prevents allergies by blocking the release of chemicals like histamine and leukotrienes. 
  5. Decongestants: Decongestants come in liquid, tablet, and pill form. This medicine targets allergies by shrinking the lining of the nasal passages and relieving congestion or stuffiness. Decongestants may be prescribed to you by a doctor. 

TermiGuard’s Cockroach Solutions 

When all else fails, call the experts. It may be difficult to solve a cockroach problem on your own, in which case you should call pest control experts to solve the issue for you. At TermiGuard, we proudly offer a plethora of safe, easy, and affordable Pest Control solutions that will eliminate or reduce cockroach populations from your home or business, limit your exposure, and prevent and/or eliminate cockroach allergy symptoms. 

TermiGuard pest control programs range from one-time visits to customized scheduled visits over a period of time, covering up to 50 general pests including cockroaches. We offer three premium pest control programs to target pesty critters and make your home feel safe and secure again. The TG Basic Plan includes unlimited callbacks and termite monitoring. 

Our team is skilled in dealing with a range of pests, including cockroaches, termites, carpenter ants, carpenter bees, mosquitoes, ticks, spiders, and more. We also offer a Free Initial Commercial Pest Inspection — we’ll send over our expert team members to your home at a time at your convenience to inspect the problem and discuss possible solutions with you. Commercial services packages are customizable and include unlimited callbacks.