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Indoor Pests May Cause Allergic Asthma

Deer MouseAcross the United States, asthma is on the rise. In May, the Centers for Disease Control released a study showing that one in twelve Americans now suffer from asthma, up 12 percent from 2001. And it appears today’s children are even more likely to have this disease of periodic lung constriction – one in ten children is asthmatic.

From electromagnetic fields to air pollution, there are many factors that may contribute to asthma, but there’s one element that your local pest control company is especially concerned about: exposure to indoor pests such as cockroaches, dust mites and rodents.

Multiple studies have found a correlation between asthma and exposure to pest allergens. As an example, one study found that 80 percent of children with mild or moderate asthma had a positive allergy skin test to at least one allergen, primarily from cockroaches and dust mites.

Asthma is a complicated disease. As best as researchers can tell, there are several steps along the path to developing it. First, an individual must have atopic genetic predisposition, meaning that their parents’ genes included coding for sensitization to allergens. As the individual is exposed to allergens, further sensitization and allergic asthma may occur.

There are three main pests that are known to trigger asthma:

Cockroaches.

No one likes cockroaches. Evidence that their feces may cause asthma to flare is one more reason to despise these creepy-crawlies. Research has shown that exposure to cockroach feces allergens is a stronger risk factor for developing asthma than exposure to cats and dogs.

Dust mites.

Dust mites thrive in our homes. Microscopic in size, dust mites feast on the skin we slough off every day. Beds, carpets and curtains are known to harbor dust mites. The feces of dust mites may trigger diseases including asthma, perennial rhinitis and eczema.

Rodents.

Research shows a correlation between exposure to rodent allergens and development of asthma. Moreover, as rodents carry numerous potentially deadly diseases, it is best to keep them out of your home.

A good approach to minimizing allergens in your home is to arrange for Integrated Pest Management with your local pest control company. Eugene, Portland and other Northwest cities have plenty of options when it comes to choosing a local pest control company. If you’re especially concerned about protecting your family from asthma-causing allergens, choose an Integrated Pest Management provider that specializes in the species listed above.

Beyond finding a good pest control company, Eugene, Portland and Seattle residents can reduce the amount of pest allergens in their homes by following these Integrated Pest Management techniques:

  • Avoid installing carpeting. Allergens become trapped in carpet fiber. Vacuuming can eliminate dust mite populations, but it can also kick up allergens, exacerbating asthma.
  • Choose leather or vinyl furniture. Upholstered furniture can also harbor allergens.
  • Clean regularly. Even wood floors can hold dust mites and other potential allergens if they are not cleaned consistently. Avoid using a feather duster when cleaning; use a damp rag instead. This will throw fewer allergens into the air.
  • Eliminate cracks, crannies, and places to hide. Seal the exterior of your home with caulking. This will help keep rodents and cockroaches out.
  • Consider baits. Baits may be an effective Integrated Pest Management technique for eliminating cockroaches.

For more tips on eliminating the pests that cause asthma, contact your local pest control company.

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