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Dealing With Triggers: Cockroaches

A variety of things in the environment can make asthma or allergy symptoms worse. These are called "triggers." Your doctor can help you figure out what your child's triggers are.

Cockroaches are a common asthma trigger for many kids.

How Do Cockroaches Trigger Asthma Symptoms?

Cockroaches have a protein in their shed body parts, saliva (spit), and droppings (poop) that can set off a person's asthma or allergy symptoms.

How Can I Help My Child Deal With Them?

Have your home professionally exterminated every few months. Between these treatments, use bait traps to catch roaches (not aerosol sprays, which can make some kids' symptoms worse).

  • Avoid saving boxes, paper bags, or newspapers in piles around your home.
  • Don't leave open food containers or dirty dishes lying around your kitchen.
  • Keep counters free of crumbs or spills.
  • Keep garbage containers closed.
  • Wash recyclables before putting them in the bin.
  • Seal any cracks in walls and floors.
  • Remove all food and water sources that can attract cockroaches.
  • Frequent cleaning of floors (vacuum, mopping, etc.) and countertops will reduce allergen exposure.

Reviewed by: Stephen F. Dinetz, MD

Date reviewed: November 2017