Cockroaches are the most common pests in majority of homes. They are mainly seen in kitchen, food storage places, drains and sewers. Cockroaches are present since millions of years. They can live in any environmental conditions, but they prefer to live in warm atmosphere. They like to live in darkness and hence they roam about at night in kitchen and elsewhere.
Cockroaches have certain protein that can cause allergic reaction in humans. Especially those who are more sensitive may suffer from cockroach allergy. A hypersensitive person may suffer from cockroach allergy if is exposed to saliva or waste of a cockroach.Since many years cockroach allergy is known to cause asthma and allergic rhinitis. The best way to avoid cockroach allergy is to avoid exposure to this pest. Allergy symptoms can be controlled with antihistamines and other medications.
How Is Cockroach Allergy Caused?
If a person has cockroach allergy and if he comes in contact with saliva, feces or body parts of cockroach in any form, then he may have risk of suffering from allergic symptoms. These things produce certain protein to which some people may have allergy. Cockroach allergy can occur by inhaling the waste or body parts or saliva or consuming food that is adulterated with cockroach waste.These all are termed as allergens.
The exact mechanism underlying cockroach allergy remains obscure, but a person’s immune system if hypersensitive to this cockroach allergens may respond in the form of allergic symptoms to fight off the allergen. In the process the immune system will produce white blood cells that produce antibody IgE.
Once the antibody is formed in the body when the person is exposed second time or third time, the antibody will react. It will start producing chemical called histamine. This chemical will trigger cockroach allergy symptoms, mostly related to respiratory tract such as asthma and rhinitis.
Signs And Symptoms Of Cockroach Allergy
Cockroach allergy occurs when a person comes in contact with the allergens such as saliva, feces or body parts of cockroach. The symptoms may develop soon or few hours after the exposure. Asthmatic are more likely to develop worsening of symptoms when they are exposed to these allergens.
Most the symptoms manifested are those related with respiratory tract. They are as follows:
- Constant sneezing
- Itching in nose and eyes
- Watering from eyes.
- Breathing difficulty
- Runny nose which may become congested over a period of time.
- Postnasal drip causing frequent coughing.
- Skin rash
- Itching on skin
- Wheezing and troubled breathing in case of asthma.
- Chest pain
Diagnosis Of Cockroach Allergy
Cockroach allergy can be detected with two tests namely skin prick test and blood test. In skin prick test, any of the cockroach allergen is tested with a puncture made on the skin. The allergen is applied on the puncture. A person having allergy to cockroach allergens will develop redness or wheel over the area of skin prick.
Blood test is more accurate than skin prick test. In this test, blood sample is collected and the allergen such as saliva or cockroach feces is added in the collected blood. In case if the blood sample has IgE antibody, the allergen will stick with the blood. This test is more specific to detect cockroach allergy.
Treatment Of Cockroach Allergy
There is no specific treatment measure to cure cockroach allergy. However, with treatment the symptoms can be controlled and alleviated. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis can be alleviated with use of antihistamine medications. Skin itching can also be effectively dealt with antihistamine and local corticosteroid application. In case of asthma, patient may need antihistamine as well as bronchodilator medicines.
Avoiding exposure to cockroach allergens is one of the best measures to prevent cockroach allergy. This can be done in simple way. For example the food can be stored tightly in a container that cannot be reached by cockroaches. Clean the kitchen very well after eating and ensure that no food particles are left on the kitchen platform. Seal cracks and fissures to prevent cockroaches entering inside the home.