What Pests Can Aggravate Asthma?

Those of you with asthma or who have a child with asthma know that cigarette smoke, dust, pet dander, and outdoor pollen can aggravate it. But, did you know that certain pests can also contribute to asthma flare-ups?

Here are the 3 most common pests that can aggravate asthma and what to do about them:

Cockroaches: Droppings or the shed exoskeletons of cockroaches and other pests can trigger asthma. People breath them in as they desiccate and break down. Certain proteins are found in cockroach feces that can cause allergic reactions or trigger asthma symptoms in some individuals. While they are commonly found in crowded cities, the pests are attracted to anywhere with moist conditions and, of course, food and shelter. Cockroach allergens likely play a significant role in asthma in many urban areas.

The best things you can do to combat cockroaches in your home are:

  • Keep counters, sinks, tables, and floors clean and free of clutter.
  • Clean dishes, crumbs, and spills right away.
  • Store food in airtight containers.
  • Seal cracks or openings around or inside cabinets.
  • Vacuum and steam clean carpets regularly.
  • Involve a pest control company to not only take care of infestations but use strategies to help keep them out.

Rats & Mice: Mouse and rat allergens tend to appear in their urine, feces, and even in their fur. If you have rats or mice in your home, these allergens could be anywhere, but researchers have found that they’re most likely to be found in the kitchen. Kitchen floors often have high levels of rodent urinary proteins that can cause allergic reactions and might even lead to asthma. They could also be in the walls or attracted to uneaten food in the kitchen. In addition to aggravating asthma, rat and mice can vector many diseases including hantavirus, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), Tularemia, and Salmonella. If you think you have mice or rats, you should call for professional help as soon as you can so you can avoid the health issues that come with them.

Other ways to keep rodents out of your home include:

  • Seal the exterior of your home including around vents, pipes, window, and doors.
  • Keep food sealed in airtight containers.
  • Keep trash in tightly sealed cans with locks (also helps with bears and raccoons).
  • Invest in a cat, although if you have asthma, this may not be the thing for you.

Squirrels: Squirrels love the cozy warmth they find in your attic. Should they settle down in your insulation, they will defecate and urinate into it. Once those bodily functions dry, they can create animal-caused bacteria and fungal pathogens. Both of which that, when they become airborne and eventually travel into the main living areas of your home, can make you and your family sick. So, these pests not only aggravate asthma in those that already have it, they can actually make you sick. Unfortunately, you can’t clean insulation once it becomes contaminated. The best thing you can do is have a professional come in and replace it correctly. Read more about that here. Keeping squirrels out is the best way to deal with them including:

  • Inspecting the outside of your home for gaps and weak areas such as rot
  • Sealing entrances that could be allowing them entry
  • Having chimney caps installed

Western Pest Services can help with all of this including the work to keep out pests out of your home and replace compromised insulation if necessary – all while dealing with many other household pests. You can and should do some of the simpler techniques above to help, because with pest control, managing them is a team effort. But to really keep them at bay or fix any issues caused by pests, bringing in a trusted pest control company is your best bet. Having asthma is enough to deal with. Contact the pros at Western Pest Services and we will help mitigate the pests that can make it flare up so you can breathe easier.