Having cockroaches in your home is more than just an annoyance. These common pests are a hazard to health, so it's important to contact a professional exterminator the moment you suspect you have an infestation. However, since cockroaches are such persistent, strategic bugs, it can take a while to eradicate them completely. It is therefore important to know the risks roaches present and to take some steps to protect your family while fighting an infestation.
What Health Risks Do Cockroaches Present?
Cockroaches are known to spread a wide array of bacterial and viral diseases, including:
- Salmonella, a bacterial infection that causes nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and that can be deadly in children and the elderly.
- Listeriosis, a form of bacterial food poisoning that causes miscarriages and premature deliveries in pregnant women.
- Campylobacteriosis, a common bacterial infection that causes diarrhea, headache, abdominal pain and fever.
- Staphylococcal infections, such as infected skin lesions that are resistant to antibiotics.
Certain proteins on the bodies of cockroaches and in their feces are also an trigger for many asthmatic patients, who may experience increased wheezing and even full-blown asthma attacks when exposed to these particles.
How Can You Protect Your Family From Cockroaches?
When you have roaches in your home, you need to be very proactive about reducing your exposure to these bugs, their feces and their saliva. The following are a few strategies that will help.
Use a powerful, effective vacuum and vacuum your home more often; every other day is a good starting point, and daily is even better. This should help minimize the number of cockroach antigen proteins in the air.
Change Your Air Filter
Change your HVAC filter over to a HEPA filter, which is more effective at trapping tiny particles, like cockroach proteins and bacteria, than a standard fiberglass or cotton filter. Switch to a new filter every month to keep your air as clean as possible.
Clean Up Roach Feces Immediately and Carefully
Cockroach feces look like coffee grounds or grains of black rice. If you see them, it's important to clean them up immediately before any bacteria or viruses they might contain get spread around your home. Put on some gloves and a face mask for protection, and then vacuum up the feces. Next, make some soapy water, and scrub away any marks the feces have left behind. Finish up by wiping down the surface with a mixture of bleach and water.
Do Not Eat Potentially Contaminated Food
If the plastic bag inside a cardboard box of food is chewed or has a hole in it, do not eat that food. If you drop a piece of food on the ground, throw it away. You have no way of knowing whether a roach recently walked across the floor and left dangerous bacteria behind. Never eat directly off a table or counter unless you have recently cleaned it with a disinfectant solution.
Store Your Food Properly
To prevent roaches from contaminating your food, store everything in tightly sealed glass or thick plastic containers. Remove items like cereal and oatmeal from their original containers, and put them into sturdy, sealed containers as soon as you arrive home from the store.
Wash Dishes Before Using Them
It's common for roaches to wander across your dishes as they meander through cabinets looking for food. To protect yourself from contamination, get into the habit of washing each dish and utensil right before you use it. This may seem like a lot of work, but it is better than ending up with Salmonella or Listeria.
If you have cockroaches in your home, contact Patrick Exterminating as soon as possible. With the precautions above, you can protect your family from the risks cockroaches present as we work to completely rid your home of these pests.