FAIRFAX, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As the days grow shorter and colder weather arrives, people will be spending more and more time indoors. While cabin fever will undoubtedly set in, it may be hardest on people who suffer from asthma and allergies as more indoor time means greater exposure to indoor allergens. Although ragweed and dust mites are often blamed for sneezing and itchy eyes this time of year, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns that pests like cockroaches, rats and mice are also common asthma and allergy triggers.
“The saliva, urine and fecal droppings from cockroaches and rodents contain allergen proteins known to elicit allergic reactions and asthma attacks,” said Dr. Jorge Parada, medical advisor for the NPMA. “As cockroaches and rodents enter homes seeking shelter in preparation for the winter months, people with allergies and asthma are at a higher risk when coming in contact with these pests.”
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), cockroach allergens are present in 63 percent of American homes and mouse allergens in 82 percent. Moreover, the number of homes containing cockroach allergens increases to as many as 78 to 98 percent in urban areas.
The NPMA recommends the following tips to help keep allergy-causing pests out:
- Seal cracks and holes around the outside of the home, including utility pipes.
- Properly ventilate basements and crawl spaces to prevent moisture buildup.
- Keep counters free of crumbs and vacuum floors often to reduce the accumulation of allergens.
- Keep garbage in a sealed container and dispose of it regularly.
- Pay extra attention to kitchens and bathrooms - especially under appliances and sinks - as these areas are particularly vulnerable to cockroach infestations.
“Unfortunately, seeing just one mouse or cockroach is usually a sign of a larger problem,” added Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “As these pests pose great risks to human health, anyone who suspects a pest infestation should contact a pest professional.”
The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. For more information visit PestWorld.org.