Health Watch - Allergies: Cockroaches

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about allergies, asthma and what to do about them. We may blame allergies on pollinating trees and other plants, but one of the biggest causes of allergies and allergy-related asthma is cockroach allergens.

They’re not nearly as pretty as flowers, but cockroaches also become more prevalent in warm weather, and that can mean allergy and asthma problems. Dr. Rebecca Gruchalla, an allergist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says children who are allergic to cockroaches have worse asthma and miss more school because of asthma. Inner-city kids who live in apartments are most likely to be exposed to cockroaches, but they’re found everywhere. To reduce exposure to cockroach allergens, keep the indoor environment clean. Fix any leaky faucets and seal any cracks. Keep food sealed in plastic containers, take out the trash daily and eat only in the kitchen or dining room so crumbs don’t spread throughout the house. 

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May 2011


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