How Cockroaches Spread Disease and What You Can Do about It

Cockroaches are among the most common and repugnant pests found in homes and buildings all across the country.

The mere sight of these intruders causes most homeowners to shudder in disgust, but what’s most disturbing is that roaches often get by without being spotted at all. That’s because cockroaches are fast, adept at hiding, and nocturnal. Live cockroaches are usually discovered when an unsuspecting homeowners flicks on the lights in a dark room, setting the roaches’ trademark scattering. This means that a cockroach colony could grow for months (or longer) before being noticed by homeowners!

Roaches aren’t just unpleasant to look at, however. They also have the potential to spread deadly diseases and cause serious allergic reactions.

Keep reading to learn how cockroaches are hazardous to your health and what you can do to protect yourself.

Less Than Clean Cuisine

Cockroaches will eat just about anything: their typical diet includes feces, trash, crumbs, and any uncovered food they can access. Because they travel from feces and trash to your food, they’re able to spread dangerous bacteria to your next meal.

Unfortunately, even if food is kept well covered, the mere presence of roaches in your house means that they still could be tracking their tiny germ-ridden footprints throughout your home and kitchen, across counter tops, and all over plates and glassware.

Roaches have been found to transmit a number of diseases this way, including the following:

  • Gastroenteritis (like food poisoning and diarrhea)
  • Dysentery
  • Cholera
  • Leprosy
  • Typhoid fever
  • Salmonella
  • E. Coli
  • Poliomyelitis

In addition to carrying bacteria, roaches may also carry parasitic worm larvae in their bodies.

Of the diseases listed above, cockroaches most commonly cause gastroenteritis. While some cases can be more mild—with just stomach pain and nausea—severe cases (like those with extended diarrhea) can lead to dehydration and require hospitalization.

Aggravating Allergies

Another, equally serious health problem with cockroach infestations is their ability to cause allergic reactions and worsen asthma.

Cockroach excrement, skins, and saliva contain numerous allergens. People who are allergic to cockroaches can experience skin rashes, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, sneezing, nasal congestion, and watery eyes.

Similarly, cockroaches can also worsen asthma—especially in children—causing coughing, difficulty breathing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

Prolonged proximity to cockroaches (whether you have an allergy or asthma) is very serious, as it will lead to a worsening of symptoms over time.

Roach Removal

The best way to avoid coming into contact with these diseases and allergens is, unsurprisingly, preventing a cockroach infestation in the first place. After an infestation has taken hold, it becomes much more difficult to rid your home of roaches.

To prevent cockroaches from infesting your home, we recommend taking the following steps:

  • Make sure that all food is stored in sealed, air-tight containers. (Cockroaches love flour and cereal, which come in easy-to-chew-through paper or cardboard containers, and pet food.)
  • Check underneath faucets, drains, and your refrigerator for leaks and small pools of water. (Roaches need water to survive and will flock to areas with a lot of moisture. Oriental cockroaches, in particular, prefer moist areas.)
  • Clean often and thoroughly. Wipe up spills and crumbs promptly, take out the trash every day, and don’t leave dishes in the sink overnight.
  • Take time to seal up any cracks or openings around outside walls, windows, and light fixtures with caulk or screens, making it more difficult for roaches and other unwelcome guests to enter and move about your home.

A professional pest control provider, like Scherzinger Pest Control, can also help by performing a pre-emptive inspection of your home to find and seal openings and apply protective repellant that keeps roaches and other insects away. The best defense against cockroaches is a proactive approach!

The most important thing is to take steps now to help prevent an infestation later, because roaches are more than just an unsightly nuisance—they’re also a real threat to your health.

Call Us Today

If you’re concerned that your home has roaches, we’re here to help.

Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our websiteFacebook, or Twitter.