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A household bug that's no bugaboo.

Cockroaches have always been abhorrent to every householder, but besides their disgusting appearance, little has been known about the extent to which they're a hazard to health. Now, a study reported in the May 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that they're significant contributors to the rapid rise in asthma cases we've seen in recent years. Asthma is now the most common chronic childhood disease, and this study clearly implicates cockroaches in this condition.

The allergens (asthma triggers) of dust mites have been a major source of concern to allergy specialists, but the allergens produced by cockroaches are now seen as an even greater hazard in the home. The bodies, saliva, and feces contain the allergen, and all are found in household dust. Although the study concentrated on children in inner-city areas, roaches can be found in any household, and the researchers emphasize the need to control these pests, especially in homes in which there is an asthma sufferer.

Due to the large size of the dust particles containing the allergen and the fact that these particles only get into the air when the dust is disturbed, air filters alone have little effect in reducing exposure to the dust. The only effective control, therefore, is that of controlling the cockroach population itself by using childproof bait traps, washing cans and other containers before they're discarded in the trash, and keeping one's kitchen free of crumbs and other exposed food particles that attract these unwanted guests.
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Title Annotation:cockroaches
Author:Brown, Edwin W.
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Jul 1, 1997
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