Fact or Fiction: Cockroaches cause asthma - deBugged
This finding was supported by studies from the National Cooperative Inner City Asthma Study (NCICAS) and demonstrated a clear relationship. Exposure to cockroach has been identified as an important source of indoor allergens in patients with asthma and allergic rhinitis. We evaluated the relationship. Asthma caused by the presence of cockroaches may be more than a that unhealthy relationship and relieving your asthma symptoms is a.
As you know, the allergic reaction in the bronchial tubes is asthma. Recently, a major, federally-funded research project looked for allergy producing substances in the homes of several hundred children with asthma living in several major cities across the United States. Specifically, they measured the amount of cat, dust mite, and cockroach allergen in the bedrooms of these children aged 4 to 9 years. The results were quite striking.
Cockroach debris is an powerful allergen. The most important allergen in these inner-city homes came from cockroaches. And the worst asthma was found in those children who had both the allergic tendency to make reactions to cockroach allergens and exposure to high concentrations of those cockroach allergens in their homes. Children in heavily cockroach infested homes who did not have an allergic sensitivity to cockroaches were not as likely to have severe asthma. Similarly, children who had the tendency for allergic reactions to cockroach parts but lived in homes with a low burden of cockroach allergens were also less likely to have severe asthma.
It was the combination of both the allergic tendency and the allergen exposure that put the children at the greatest risk for troublesome asthma. For children in the inner city, cockroach allergy plus cockroach exposure adds up to more severe asthma. The lesson to be learned here is greater than just the following: If you happen to be a person whose immune system makes allergic reactions to cockroach debris, keep your home free of cockroaches.
You could just as easily substitute cats or dogs or dust mites or pollens for cockroaches in the above equation.
Roaches and Asthma: Lessons to be Learned
For example, if you are a person whose immune systems happens to make allergic reactions to cat dander, having heavy exposures to cat allergens will put you at increased risk for severe asthma. It appears that any allergic predisposition combined with heavy allergic exposure to those specific things to which one is sensitive fuels the fire of bronchial inflammation that we recognize as asthma.
- Fact or Fiction: Cockroaches cause asthma
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For anyone, allergic sensitivity combined with allergen exposure is likely to worsen asthma control. The lesson that we learn from the study of cockroaches in asthma is this. If your asthma is difficult to control, make an effort to determine what your allergic tendencies are.
If you find that you have allergic sensitivities to things in your home or work place, make every effort to reduce your exposure to those allergens. Two of the best known are the house dust mite and animal fur from pets.
Not so well known, but in fact more important, are cockroaches. That's the conclusion of researchers from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in the US, who did a study on about kids in US cities with moderate to severe asthma symptoms. The children, aged 5 to 11, were given skin tests for sensitivity to a range of allergens including cockroach and dust mite allergens and pet hair. They found that overall, 69 per cent tested positive to cockroaches, 62 per cent to dust mites, and 50 per cent to moulds another common allergen.
The sensitivity to cockroaches was greatest in densely populated areas in bigger cities especially high rise apartment blocks. The worst cases of asthma tended to have cockroaches in the bedroom. There are few homes in Australian cities that don't have a cockroach problem at one time or other. And about one in four kids have asthma.
Should Australian parents be concerned about cockroaches? He says there haven't been any Australian studies that show a direct relationship between cockroaches and asthma.
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He says there are so many environmental factors that can trigger asthma that it's difficult to pinpoint cockroaches as a major cause. If there is a connection, it isn't an obvious one, he says.
It may be that homes are more open and better ventilated in Australia, so kids are less exposed to the cockroach debris that cause the allergy, he says.