Cockroaches are one of the most persistent and dangerous pests that invade our homes. Alt-hough they are prevalent year-round, they become much more active when temperatures ex-ceed 70 degrees F. With summer on its way and temperatures on the rise, cockroaches will soon be a major problem for homeowners across the country.
Aside from being creepy and repulsive, cockroaches also pose serious health risks to humans. In order to help you understand the importance of keeping a cockroach-free home, following are some of the most common diseases and health risks these pests pose to humans, along with some simple tips you can use to keep your family safe and home bug-free.
Asthma is a serious and sometimes fatal respiratory illness that affects millions of people throughout Canada. Although there are many factors that can trigger an attack, certain insects such as cockroaches can heighten this risk. This is because the excrement and debris from de-composing cockroaches is light enough to be lifted into the air and then breathed onto the bron-chial tubes. These particles are recognized as a threat by the immune system in some individu-als, and an allergic reaction or asthma attack is triggered.
Aside from compromising the air quality in your home, cockroaches also pose a serious risk to humans through the contamination of food. When cockroaches invade your kitchen, they pas-sively transport microbes from their body surface to your food. Cockroaches are known to spread 33 different kinds of bacteria, all potential causes of serious illnesses, as well as parasitic worms and other types of human pathogens. Following are some of the more prevalent health risks caused by cockroaches contaminating your food:
E. coli and Salmonella
E. coli and salmonella are common causes of food poisoning causing stomach pain, headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Severe cases can even lead to dehydration if not treated promptly, and in rare cases, the bacteria can spread to the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections.
Dysentery is a general term for a group of gastrointestinal disorders that cause inflammation in the intestines. Like E. coli and salmonella, dysentery is contracted when humans consume food that has been contaminated by pathogens from cockroaches. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain. Dysentery is traditionally treated with the use of medications, and those inflicted with the disease should drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
Typhoid fever is a serious and life-threatening disease caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi. This disease can cause severe fever, stomach pain, headache, and loss of appetite, and is treated with antibiotics. Once treated, most people will no longer carry the bacteria; however, in some cases, individuals may continue to harbor the bacteria in their body.
Poliomyelitis, commonly referred to as polio, is an infectious disease that usually affects chil-dren. The virus is transmitted through the intake of food contaminated by pathogens from insects such as cockroaches. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, headaches, vomiting, and stiffness in the neck. If left untreated, it can even lead to full paralysis. Thankfully, polio can be prevented through immunization; however, the presence of these pathogens still show the damaging effect cockroaches have on the health of children.
Obviously, a cockroach-free home is essential to keeping your family safe. However, that is much easier said than done, because cockroaches are incredibly persistent pests that can be difficult to detect and even harder to remove.
Begin by thoroughly cleaning your home, paying special attention to common problem areas such as kitchens and basements. Once all clutter and food scraps have been removed, seal and store all food in airtight containers and never leave food out for long periods of time. Next, locate where the cockroaches may be entering your home and seal cracks and holes in the perimeter of the building. Finally, apply natural cockroach treatments throughout your home to
kill any lingering pests without the use of toxic chemicals.
If your cockroach problem is exceptionally bad and home remedies don’t seem to do the trick, contacting a pest control professional may be your best solution. At Greenleaf Pest Control, we offer complete home removal of all cockroaches without resorting to harmful chemicals in your home. Once the problem is eliminated, our team will identify access points that allow pests to enter and seal them to prevent future infestations.
Cockroaches may be nasty to look at, but the health risks they pose on your family should be your one of your primary concerns. Regular inspection of your home is key to keeping your family safe. If you identify any signs of their presence, make sure to treat the problem immedi-ately and contact a pest control professional for assistance in their prevention and removal.
About the Author:
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.