If your child suffers from allergic reactions—sniffling, sneezing, itchy rashes, and more—you may be wondering what's causing their problems. Surprisingly, cockroaches can lead to allergic reactions. These disgusting pests are highly allergenic, so you should consider the possibility that they're causing your child's symptoms. Here are four things parents need to know about cockroach allergies.
Don't assume you don't have cockroaches
If you've never seen a cockroach in your home, you may think it's not possible for cockroaches to be the cause of your child's allergy symptoms. However, these pests are very secretive, so they could be in your home and making your child sick even though you've never seen them. According to the National Pest Management Association, 63% of American homes contain cockroaches. These cockroaches leave saliva and droppings around your house, and these particles then contribute to allergies.
Cockroach allergies are very common
While cockroach allergies don't get much attention, they're far from rare. Many studies have been done to determine how common cockroach allergies are in the United States. These studies have shown that between 17% and 41% of people are allergic to cockroaches, depending on the population that was studied. This makes cockroach allergies much more common than more widely known allergies: only 1.4% of kids are allergic to peanuts!
Cockroach allergy testing is easy
Cockroach allergies are diagnosed with a simple skin prick test. Your child's allergist will prick their skin and then apply some cockroach allergen to the area. If the pricked area reacts, then the allergist will know that cockroaches are the problem. If the skin doesn't react, then other types of indoor allergens, like dust or pet dander, may be the cause of their symptoms.
Cockroaches need to go
If your child's allergist diagnoses them with a cockroach allergy, their treatment will involve getting rid of the cause of their allergy: the roaches. Have your home inspected by a pest-control company to find out where the roaches are hiding and then have them exterminated. Once the roaches are gone, your job isn't over. They've left their allergens all over your house, so you'll need to clean thoroughly. Allergens can be left on places like carpets, furniture, and even appliances, so thoroughly wash every exposed surface.
If your child is allergic to something in your home, cockroaches may be to blame. Take them to an allergist to find out if cockroaches are responsible for your child's symptoms.