Household Pests: An Avoidable Asthma Trigger

Those annoying little insects and rodents commonly found in crowded inner-cities do more than just disgust people. They also trigger asthma.

According to the American Lung Association, pests, such as rats, mice, and cockroaches, produce allergens that aggravate asthma by inflaming the airway of the lungs and causing them to tighten. It is also being determined if allergens can actually cause asthma to develop in preschool aged children.

Pests produce allergens when they shed skin, leave behind waste products, or die. These pest-related asthma triggers, as well as the pesticides used to eliminate them, can worsen asthma. When possible, pesticides should be avoided.

“Asthma affects almost 20 million Americans and is one of the most chronic childhood diseases,” said Dr. Alan Roth, Chairman of Family Medicine at Jamaica Hospital. “It accounts for countless work and school absences, as well as frequent emergency visits and hospitalizations. In crowded urban areas, such as New York City, the environment can play a role in the onset of symptoms.”
Instead, Dr. Roth suggests individuals take the following precautions to safeguard their homes:

  • Keep food sealed and stored properly
  • Clean kitchen floors and counters daily
  • Seal cracks and holes in homes
  • Keep basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry

“If you’re aware of what triggers your asthma, you can take steps to avoid them, which can ultimately help prevent an asthma attack,” said Dr. Roth.

If you suffer from asthma and would like to schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-206-6942.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.