Aside being gross and germy, many insects can really provoke panic in asthma and allergy sufferers. And they’re not just a warm-weather problem; most are found all year long in homes and buildings. Some don’t even need to bite or sting to cause a problem.
- Cockroaches can spark allergies, without biting or stinging you, through the waste they leave behind in your home. A cockroach infestation can cause sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, nose, or throat, runny nose, congestion, skin rashes, sinus & ear infections and asthma attacks. Cockroaches need water to survive and they thrive on what you leave behind. They’re less likely to be a problem in a clean, dry house. Fix leaks, keep food in containers, don’t leave out dirty dishes, clean the kitchen after meals (including under appliances), and take out the garbage regularly. Also block any openings through which cockroaches could enter from outside, including windows, wall cracks, and floor gaps.
- Dust mites may be the most common trigger of year-round allergies and asthma. These microscopic pests live in many homes throughout the world. They feed on small pieces of skin that humans shed each day. The waste of the dust mites and their body parts can trigger allergies. Common symptoms of dust mite allergy include a runny nose, red or watery eyes, cough, itchy nose or throat, and a lot of sneezing. You could have a dust mite allergy if you experience these symptoms constantly. Keep in mind that these pests can survive quite well in warm and humid houses year-round.
- Fleas bite your pets, but sometimes they will settle for you. Humans can be affected by flea bites and suffer from an allergic reaction to the flea saliva, especially if there’s a large infestation. This reaction is common and is known as flea allergy dermatitis. The symptoms include itchy skin, hives, and rash. Those who suffer from flea-bite allergy may experience a whole body itching. It’s even more dangerous for children since they may scratch until developing open sores. If your pet has fleas, inspect your home thoroughly. If there is an infestation, you should call a trained professional to remove them from your home. Don’t forget to treat the pet!
- Mosquitoes bite and release saliva into your skin. Many people are allergic to the substances contained in the mosquito’s saliva, which is why they start to itch and develop small welts. So, technically, a lot of people are allergic to mosquito bites, but some people may have more serious reactions than others, such as blistering lesions or large hives accompanied by fever and joint swelling. Though extremely rare, people who are severely allergic to mosquito bites may experience a potentially life-threatening condition called anaphylaxis. This condition is characterized by throat swelling, generalized hives, dizziness or wheezing.
Other insects that can cause a severe allergic reaction are those that sting – bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, scorpions and fire ants are the most common. The toxic venom that is released when they sting can cause a mild reaction in some people; but for others, it can trigger a life-threatening allergic reaction.
In addition to mosquitoes and fleas mentioned above, the biting insects that can commonly elicit an allergic response are kissing bugs, bed bugs and certain flies. Most people bitten by insects suffer pain, redness, itching, stinging and minor swelling in the area around the bite. Rarely, insect bites may trigger a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Having a bad reaction to pests in your home? Call a licensed pest control professional to lessen the sting.