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Cockroach Facts

Have you ever seen a cockroach? If you have, chances are there are at least 800 hiding in the surrounding area. Cockroaches are the most resilient pests in the insect world. They need only eat once a month and can survive nearly a full hour without oxygen.

Cockroaches can be found in any and all buildings and neighborhoods.  They set up camp in warm, moist areas that are damp and dark.

Cockroaches feed on a variety of items, such as wallpaper, newspaper, food, paint, and book bindings. They can also be found in moist areas, and many people report cockroaches in standing water and on pipes with heavy amounts of condensation.

Cleaning the home will not rid it of cockroaches. It is important to examine under your sink, in between floor cracks and in and around newspapers and books for cockroaches.

Check under the sink for any moisture

Check under the sink for any moisture

How do cockroaches cause allergy symptoms?

Allergies to cockroaches can cause sinus infections, due to the immune system’s overreaction to the proteins found in cockroach saliva, fecal matter or body.

The reaction occurs after inhaling the airborne allergens that the cockroach gives off. During the reaction, your white blood cells treat the allergens the same as bacteria, attacking it, and causing the symptoms to heighten.

What are the symptoms of a cockroach allergy?

  • Rhinoconjunctivitis (redness of the eyes and running of the nose)
  • Skin rash
  • Nasal congestion
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Shortness of breath.

How is a cockroach allergy diagnosed?

Consult with your doctor or allergist to determine whether you have a cockroach allergy. Prepare to provide a detailed account of your medical history, as well as be able to describe your symptoms and other allergens.

You will most likely be asked to submit to an allergy skin test or blood test. A skin test works by scratching a small amount of the allergen into the skin to determine sensitivity. A positive skin reaction can be see via a small, red lump on the skin. The blood test will show what antibodies you are producing. Antibodies are your immune system’s attempt to identify and subsequently fight foreign substances in and on your body.

How are cockroach allergies treated?

Allergy symptoms can be reduced by taking antihistamines, oral and nasal decongestants, steroid nasal sprays and eye drops. Albuterol and steroid inhalers may be needed if you are prone to asthma. Allergy shots can desensitize you to cockroach allergens but may require years to work. Avoidance of the allergan is always an excellent way to feel better.

Will my health insurance cover treatment for my cockroach allergy?

Luckily, insurance plans will likely cover treatment needed to treat your cockroach allergy. Don’t forget to always make you sure ask your insurance company the following question to avoid receiving any surprise bills in the mail:

  • Does making an appointment with an allergist require a referral from my primary care physician?
    • Will my insurance plan cover a pre-existing cockroach allergy?
    • Which forms of allergy testing are covered under my plan?
    • Which forms of allergy medicine does my plan cover?

Caution: As insurance has become a “for profit” business, money spent on patient care is heavily scrutinized to increase insurance company profits. Therefore, perform your due diligence to make sure that your insurance company will cover the care you need and deserve. You are entitled to a copy of your insurance contract that will list in detail the exclusions to your policy. Speaking to an insurance representative provides you minimal protection without documentation of the benefits. 

How can I keep cockroaches out of my home?

  • Seal all food and especially garbage in contains with tight lids, making sure never to leave uncovered food alone on the kitchen countertops or dining room table
  • Wipe surfaces after eating, disposing of food crumbs and spilled liquids
  • Do not keep dirty dishes in the sink – clean them or load them into the dishwasher
  • If you have a pet, don’t keep pet food in your pet’s bowl if they are not eating
  • Keep counters, sinks, stove, tables, and floors clean and clear of clutter
  • Mop your kitchen floor once a week, and vacuum after meals
  • Call a plumber if you experience leaky faucets or drain pipes
  • Do not keep stacks of newspapers or cardboard boxes around the house
  • Fix small or large-sized cracks found in your floor or wall
  • Combat cockroaches by buying traps or poison baits at any home goods store
  • Remove carpeting and opt for hard surfaces like wood or linoleum
  • Search for an exterminator or pest control service to remove existing roaches
  • Maintain the humidity level below 55 percent
Never leave dirty dishes out

Never leave dirty dishes out

Do pesticide sprays help rid my house of cockroaches?

Before you resort to pesticide sprays, try traps or poison baits. Pesticide sprays should be used responsibility, or via the help of a professional exterminator. If you opt to spray for cockroaches yourself, always be sure to follow the instructions on the labeling as directed, in addition to the following tips:

  • DO NOT spray in areas where cockroaches have not been sighted
  • DO NOT spray near areas where children sleep or play
  • DO follow the instructions on the spray label.
  • DO remember to keep the areas ventilated while spraying, by opening windows
  • DO let others living or visiting in your home know that you are spraying
  • DO read the warnings on the spray label and heed them as directed
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