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Cockroach Allergy

Cockroach Allergy

Home About Allergy Types Cockroach Allergy

  • Cockroach Allergy
  • Signs and Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Prevention
  • Treatment

What is Cockroach allergy?

Cockroaches contain a protein that causes allergic reactions in many people. When people allergic to cockroach comes in contact with the body parts, saliva and waste of cockroaches they get allergic reaction. Furthermore, dead cockroaches can also cause allergic reactions(1).

American cockroach (Periplaneta americana) and German cockroach (Blatella germanica) are the commonly known species. Both of these species are known to cause asthma and allergic reactions in sensitive individuals(5). The following table highlights the features of these species(3-4):

American Cockroach (Periplaneta americana)

  • They are capable of flying
  • About 4 cm long
  • Reddish brown in color with a pale band on the head
  • Commonly found in commercial places rather than in homes like bathroom, drainage pipes etc

German Cockroach (Blatella germanica)

  • They cannot fly
  • About 1.5 cm long
  • Light brown in color with two racing stripes behind the head
  • Commonly found indoors in places such as kitchen bathroom

References:

  1. http://www.aafa.org/page/cockroach-allergy.aspx
    Accessed on December 27, 2016
  2. http://www.news-medical.net/health/Cockroach-Allergy.aspx
    Accessed on December 27, 2016
  3. https://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_images/programs/hgic/Publications/HG15_Cockroaches.pdf
    Accessed on January 19, 2017
  4. http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/american-cockroaches
    Accessed on January 19, 2017

What are the symptoms of Cockroach allergy(1)?

Symptoms of cockroach allergy include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, red or watery eyes
  • Stuffy nose
  • Itchy nose, mouth or throat
  • Postnasal drip (a flow of mucus from behind your nose into your throat)
  • Cough
  • Itchy skin or skin rash
Cockroach Allergy

Asthma triggered because of cockroach allergy can cause:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • A whistling or wheezing sound when breathing out
  • Difficulty in sleeping because of shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
  • Itchy nose, mouth or throat
  • Postnasal drip (a flow of mucus from behind your nose into your throat)
  • Cough
  • Itchy skin or skin rash
Cockroach Allergy

References:

  1. http://www.aafa.org/page/cockroach-allergy.aspx
    Accessed on December 27, 2016

How is cockroach allergy diagnosed(1,5)?

Cockroach allergy is diagnosed usually on the basis of clinical symptoms of hypersensitivity involving the respiratory system.

Your doctor may conduct a physical examination and discuss your symptoms. If your doctor thinks you have a cockroach allergy, he or she may suggest a skin prick test or a specific IgE blood test.

Skin prick test

The skin prick test involves:

  • Placing a small amount of substances that may be causing your symptoms on the skin, most often on the forearm, only in exceptional cases, the skin of the prostrate back can be used as an alternative.
  • The skin is then pricked so the allergen goes under the skin’s surface.
  • The health care provider closely watches the skin for swelling and redness or other signs of a reaction. Results are usually seen within 15 to 20 minutes.
Cockroach Allergy Diagnosis

Tiny amounts of purified allergen extracts including an extract for cockroach will be pricked onto your skin’s surface. If you are allergic to cockroaches, you will develop a red, itchy bump where the cockroach extract was pricked onto your skin.

In some cases your doctor may order a blood test that screens your blood for specific allergy-causing antibodies to various common allergens, including HDM (3).

References:

  1. http://www.aafa.org/page/cockroach-allergy.aspx
    Accessed on December 27, 2016
  2. http://www.news-medical.net/health/Cockroach-Allergy.aspx
    Accessed on December 27, 2016
  3. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dust-mites/basics/definition/con-20028330

Following are the preventive measures you can take to avoid cockroach allergy(1)?:

  • Eradicate cockroaches with appropriate insecticide bait
  • Seal cracks in floors and ceilings
  • Store all food in sealed containers
  • Clean-up spills and crumbs right away
  • Keep your kitchen clean and wash dishes promptly
  • Do not store waste in the home
  • Scrub floors with water and detergent to remove allergens

References:

  1. http://www.aafa.org/page/cockroach-allergy.aspx
    Accessed on December 27, 2016
  2. Portnoy J, et al.J Allergy Clin Immunol 2013;132:802-8

What is the treatment for cockroach allergy(1)?

Antihistamines:

They are available in the form of pills, liquids or nose sprays. They can help in relieving symptoms such as sneezing and itching in the nose and eyes, running nose and, to a lesser extent, nasal stuffiness.

Nasal corticosteroids::

It is a type of nose spray. It reduces swelling in the nose and block allergic reaction. They are most effective in allergic rhinitis.

Leukotriene receptor antagonists:

It blocks the action of important chemical messengers (other than histamine) involved in allergic reactions.

Leukotriene receptor antagonists:

It blocks the action of important chemical messengers (other than histamine) involved in allergic reactions.

Cromolyn sodium

It is a type of nose spray. It blocks the release of chemicals that cause allergy symptoms.

Decongestants:

They are available in the form of pills, liquids, nose sprays or drops. Its use is recommended for a short duration.

References:

  1. http://www.aafa.org/page/cockroach-allergy.aspx
    Accessed on December 27, 2016
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