Where do we begin? There are so many ways cockroaches can make us sick that it’s hard to pick a place to start. We can't start from the least to the worst because it isn't that cut and dry. There are some ways cockroaches make us sick that will lead to nothing more than a stomach ache one time and will have us rushing to the hospital the next. So here are, in no particular order, the many ways cockroaches can be dangerous when they invade our New York homes!
Cockroaches & Bacteria
The link between cockroaches and the spread of bacteria is strong. Studies link these pests to more than 33 different kinds of bacteria. But, while this number is somewhat startling, it doesn't even scratch the surface of the threat cockroaches pose to us. Of those 33 kinds of bacteria, one of them is salmonella, and there are over 2,000 strains of the salmonella bacteria. That's a lot of bacteria!
There are two primary ways cockroaches spread bacteria to us: they contaminate our foods, and they contaminate our surfaces. When they leave bacteria on the surfaces in our homes, most of the bacteria will die in less than four hours. But that is long enough for you or your family members to touch the counter and rub your mouth with your fingers.
If you or others in your home keep getting the flu or the common cold, it might not be the flu at all. It could actually be bacterial infections caused by cockroaches. It is important to make this connection as arresting the cockroach infestation could make those health problems go away.
Cockroaches & Parasites
While some bacteria behave like parasites when they get into the human body, there is a distinction between bacteria and parasites. While bacteria can live outside of a host, parasites cannot. So, when we talk about parasites, we're usually referring to parasitic worms such as hookworm, roundworm, and tapeworm. Cockroaches are known to spread at least six different parasitic worms to humans. The contraction of these parasitic worms happens when cockroach feces are touched or consumed. This might sound disgusting, but it is possible to consume cockroach feces by accident, especially if you have cockroaches climbing around in your stored food items without you knowing. Contracting these parasites can lead to serious stomach issues and other problems.
Cockroaches & Human Pathogens
There are at least seven human pathogens believed to be transmittable by cockroaches, one of which is the virus that causes polio. While the link between cockroaches and human diseases is still lacking, there is strong reason to believe that roaches should be considered when determining illness vectors.
Cockroaches & Allergies
When cockroaches crawl on our skin, they can cause an allergic reaction in some individuals.
This allergic reaction will result in a rash. But for others, there is no reaction at all. However, the allergy that concerns health officials is not topical; it’s respiratory.
In 2005, an extensive study was conducted on the connection between cockroaches and asthma. This study determined that the presence of cockroaches in homes significantly increases the symptoms of asthma, especially in urban areas. These particles in their fecal matter shed skins, and saliva acts like dust mites, aggravating allergy and asthma symptoms when they become airborne.
Cockroaches & Pesticides
When roaches invade, many people try to eliminate them by using pesticides and inadvertently increase their health issues! Cockroaches are incredibly resilient pests. In fact, they can even develop a resistance to the pesticides that are used to treat them. And when you use pesticides to treat your home for roaches, they can actually spread those pesticides throughout the home they are invading and contaminate foods, items, and surfaces with them, leading to the exposure of you and your family to these harmful chemicals.
Cockroaches & Bites
While cockroaches don't generally bite people, this can happen when their populations inside a home grow too large or available food sources are too low. These bites most commonly occur on our eyelids as they feed on the dead skin found on our eyelashes. Cockroaches don't feed on blood, unlike mosquitoes, fleas, bed bugs, and many other pests. Cockroaches don’t mean to bite us at all; they're just looking to feed on the dead skin particles found on our bodies.
If you see cockroaches in your New York home, take action to get rid of them as soon as possible! Those roaches can cause many health issues for you and everyone living inside your home. When dealing with a cockroach infestation, the best course of action is to reach out to a licensed and certified pest control professional for assistance.
Since cockroaches can develop a resistance to pesticides, it is important to hire a pest control company that uses green pest control and other Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods to control pests, as we do at Parkway Pest Services! When treating your home, your health is our greatest concern. If you live in our New York service area, reach out to us today for residential pest control solutions you can depend on. We are always here to help!