According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), more than 50 million people suffer from seasonal allergies. May is considered to be one of the toughest months for allergy sufferers, which is why the AAFA has declared this month to be Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. But what people may not realize is that household pests could be the cause of their allergies.
During warm months, pollen and mold are to blame for the bulk of symptoms, but indoor triggers can cause additional stress on those with allergies. Dust mites, dander and cockroaches are all indoor triggers. About 20 million Americans suffer from dust mite allergies.
House dust mites feed on dander from humans and animals. Populations can explode during humid months as mites are excellent at absorbing moisture from the air. The most common place to find dust mites is in a bed, due to the large build up of dander.
Allergic reactions are caused by dust mite castes and skins. These reactions will not occur as rashes, but rather a respiratory constriction, a common symptom of asthma. Itchy, watery eyes may also be symptoms. Approximately 50-80% of asthmatics may have symptoms due to house dust mites.
It’s natural in the springtime to have concerns about pests that can impact health, from mosquitoes that can carry Zika and West Nile viruses, to ticks that can transmit Lyme disease, and more. But what about pests that trigger those allergy and asthma symptoms that commonly arise this time of year? Cockroaches could be to blame for sneezing, itchy eyes and runny noses.
Cockroaches are known to fuel allergy symptoms, especially in children, through the allergens found in their saliva and droppings. These pests love warm, moist areas, so the spring is an ideal time for homeowners to take the time to cockroach-proof their homes and, in turn, help reduce potential household allergy triggers for themselves and their families.
Homeowners should take note of the following dust mite and cockroach prevention tips from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) this spring:
- Keep the home, especially the kitchen and bathrooms, free of crumbs and debris.
- Disinfect counters and food surfaces.
- Do not let dirty dishes pile up in the sink. Food leftovers attract cockroaches.
- Take out trash frequently, and store it in a sealed receptacle.
- Transfer open boxed food items from cardboard into sturdy, sealed containers.
- Throw away foods that have passed their expiration dates.
- Keep pet food in a sealed container and wash pet bowls frequently.
- Vacuum at least once a week using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- Dust hard surfaces frequently with a dust rag or damp cloth.
- Maintain the humidity level in the house at about 50 percent by properly ventilating basements and crawl spaces. Consider running a dehumidifier in these areas to prevent moisture buildup.
- Clean or replace air filters each month.
- Encase pillows and mattresses in allergen-proof covers to control dust mites. Avoid down pillows or comforters.
- Wash blankets, throw rugs and bedding in hot water, preferably at 130 degrees F, or take them to be dry-cleaned.
As a good rule of thumb, be sure to keep homes as clean as possible since cockroaches love unclean environments. But, if these pests do find their way into the home, controlling them is best left to a professional who can properly treat the problem. If you suspect you have a cockroach problem, contact us today for your free inspection.