Indoor Allergens - Cockroaches

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Can cockroaches cause allergic symptoms?

Over the past decades, cockroaches have become recognized as a powerful indoor allergen. Cockroach allergy can be a major factor in serious asthma and nasal allergy. Cockroaches tend to be very troublesome in inner-city areas, multifamily dwellings, and around areas of food preparation.

Cockroaches are among the oldest of all living species (about 350 million years old). The three species of cockroaches that are commonly found in the United States are Blatella germania (German), Periploneta americana (American), and Blatella orientalis (Oriental). (The genus name for the American cockroach, periploneta, is derived from the Greek word, planetes, which means wanderer.)

Cockroaches are hardy, adaptable creatures that thrive in areas where food and water supplies are plentiful. They may be found around dripping faucets and kitchen areas. They do stray, however, to other areas and can commonly be found in children's bedrooms where food is often eaten. The major cockroach allergens are found in their digestive enzymes, saliva, and body parts. As is the case with dust-mite allergens, these microscopic particles become airborne when disturbed by motion in the room.

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