Nothing to sneeze at: Eight tips to prevent pest-driven allergies

May 10, 2019, 13:12 PM by John Rodden

As warm weather arrives, many people will be dealing with unpleasant allergy symptoms, such as runny noses and itchy eyes. May is usually peak season for allergy sufferers. And when most people think of these two symptoms, they’re likely to blame such well-known triggers as fresh-cut grass, plant pollen, dust, or animal dander.

What remains a little-known fact is that such pests as cockroaches, dust mites, and rodents could also be setting off their allergy symptoms.

May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness month, and Clark, your neighborly pest control, termite, and lawn care expert, is sharing tips that can help keep you from sneezing your way through spring.

More than 50 million Americans have some type of allergies, and the rate is climbing. And more than 24 million Americans are afflicted with asthma, including 6 million children under the age of 18.

What do your allergies and asthma have to do with pests?

Most people aren’t aware that over 20 million people are allergic to a tiny, microscopic pest called a dust mite, or that dander from rodents and shed skins from cockroaches can exacerbate symptoms.

  • Cockroach saliva and droppings and the decomposing bodies of these unwelcome pests contain proteins known to trigger allergies and increase the severity of asthma symptoms.
  • Children are especially at risk for suffering allergic and asthmatic reactions to cockroach infestations. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences reports that one in five children in the United States has severe sensitivities to cockroach allergens.
  • According to the National Pest Management Association, cockroaches spread 33 kinds of bacteria, including E. coli and Salmonella, six parasitic worms, and more than seven other types of human pathogens.

Certain species of stinging insects, such as yellowjackets, wasps, bees, and fire ants, can cause serious reactions in people whose immune systems overreact to the venom. Symptoms can range from itching and hives to shortness of breath all the way to anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal severe allergic reaction.

To help prevent cockroach and other allergy-inducing pests and reduce the threat, Clark recommends that you take the following eight steps to protect yourself and your family:

  1. Seal cracks around the outside of your home (along the foundation, around doors and windows, dryer vents, etc.) to deny cockroaches and other pests access to your home.
  2. Vacuum carpets, rugs, and furniture frequently to remove potential threats.
  3. Keep counters and floors clean and free of crumbs that can attract pests.
  4. Empty garbage cans regularly and dispose of the bags properly.
  5. Remove sources of excess moisture (leaky faucets, pipes, and clogged drains) in your home that could attract cockroaches and other pests.
  6. Wash blankets, throw rugs, and bedding in hot water, preferably at 130 degrees F, or take them to be dry-cleaned.
  7. Keep pet food sealed in a tight container and wash food bowls.
  8. If you or a family member are allergic to stinging insects, learn how to use an epinephrine kit (e.g., an EpiPen), and carry it with you at all times.

If you have questions about cockroaches, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or drop Clark an email at

Until next time, I’m Clark, and thanks for helping me to keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.

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