A 2014 study found that 97% of allergists surveyed believed a pest-free home was an important step in preventing asthma and allergy symptoms.
As May is Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is educating homeowners on how to prevent allergen buildup in their homes.
Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for NPMA, explained that when most people think of allergies asthma, they associate them with sensitivities with pollen and grass. However, “common household pests including rodents, cockroaches and dust mites can all exacerbate allergy and asthma symptoms, especially in children," she said. "Controlling pests inside the home is key to staving off potential reactions.”
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of American (AAFA), more than 60 million people in the United States suffer from asthma and allergies, 6 million of those being children. A 2014 study conducted by the AAFA evaluated physician’s views on pests and their recommendations to patients with sensitivities to pest allergens. It found that 97% of allergists surveyed believed a pest-free home was an important step in preventing asthma and allergy symptoms.
The NPMA has released the following guidelines to pest-proof each room in your home in a safe matter:
Cockroaches can exacerbate the symptoms of allergy and asthma sufferers. To prevent an infestation, keep a meticulously clean kitchen, store food in airtight containers and avoid leaving out pet food.
Dust mites feed on human and animal dander. Vacuuming at least once a week using a machine with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate) filter can help to prevent them.
Dust mites are most often found in the bed, where dander is most abundant. Wash linens frequently in hot water, and consider encasing pillows and mattresses in allergen-proof covers.
Thanks to an abundance of moisture, pests like cockroaches and rodents are drawn to this room, as it provides a warm, moist environment for populations to thrive. Be sure to routinely clean and cover drains, and fix any leaky pipes to prevent moisture buildup.
Dust mites and cockroaches alike thrive in humidity, so be sure to maintain the humidity level in the house at about 50 percent by properly ventilating basements and crawl spaces, and running a dehumidifier to prevent moisture buildup.
Droppings and dander from rodents such as mice and rats are other common allergens found inside the home, so keeping rodents outside with exclusion methods is important. Be sure to seal any cracks with an appropriate sealant, paying particular attention to areas where utility pipes enter the home.
With all types of pests, it is critical to contact a licensed pest control professional at the first signs of an infestation.
National Pest Management Association.
Could Pests be Triggering Your Asthma and Allergy Symptoms [news release]. Fairfax, VA; May 06, 2019:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190506005564/en. Accessed May 07, 2019.