Controlling cockroaches can help stamp out allergy symptoms

The coming of spring generally means one thing to allergy sufferers: hay fever.

But while springtime pollen remains a major cause of stuffy sinuses, runny noses and itchy eyes, it’s not the most prevalent cause of allergies and asthma in children.

UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found that cockroach allergens – a real problem in the spring – have a much bigger impact on kids with asthma than either dust mites or pet dander. 

“Children who are allergic to cockroaches have more asthma symptoms and generally miss more school because of their asthma,” said Dr. Rebecca Gruchalla, an allergist and immunologist at UT Southwestern. “Inner-city kids who live in apartments are most likely to be exposed to cockroaches, but they’re everywhere.”

Dr. Gruchalla said that cleaning the environment can make a big difference in preventing allergy symptoms and asthma. Some preventive tactics include: fixing leaky faucets, caulking cracks, eating only in the kitchen and dining room, keeping food sealed in plastic containers, and taking out the trash daily.

Visit to learn more about UT Southwestern’s clinical services for asthma and allergies.

Media Contact:">Kristen Holland Shear

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