HUD is hosting a webcast on asthma triggers in housing, sponsored by their Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes. Hear from Coby Schal, Ph.D, Blanton J. Whitmire, Distinguished Professor, Department of Entogology, North Carolina State University on May 10th, 2016, 1:00-2:00pm EDT. Visit this website to register. Once registered, you will receive an email with a link to the webcast. Note: The link to the webcast will not be visible until the day of the webcast.The event will be recorded and you will have an opportunity to view the recording if you can't make it to the live event.
May happens to be asthma awareness month so I thought it would be worth re-posting some of a 2012 blog post from Allison Taisey to highlight the importance of cockroach control in managing asthma.
Did you know?
- The more cockroaches there are in a home, the more potentially asthma-triggering allergens there are.
- Regardless of housekeeping, if you put out enough bait, you can significantly reduce a heavy cockroach infestation.
- If you kill the cockroaches (even without cleaning them up), you can significantly reduce the asthma-triggering allergens.
- The IPM process—routine inspection and monitoring (made easier when paired with good housekeeping)—helps new infestations from ever reaching a high level again.
Here’s more detail on the link between cockroaches and asthma.
Asthma disproportionally affects minority children and children living below poverty level. Many of these children live in affordable housing. You hear a lot about the kids with asthma, but remember that caretakers and PHA staff members who work in homes may have asthma too.
One thing you can do to fight asthma is control cockroaches. Cockroaches are a known asthma trigger because of proteins in their skin and feces (collectively called “frass”). Both on the cockroach and for a few months after the roach dies, poops, or sheds the skin, these protein “allergens” can get in the air and trigger asthma attacks.
“In the 1970s, studies made it clear that patients with cockroach allergies develop acute asthma attacks. The attacks occur after inhaling cockroach allergens and last for hours….Now we know that the frequent hospital admissions of inner-city children with asthma often is directly related to their contact with cockroach allergens—the substances that cause allergies. From 23 percent to 60 percent of urban residents with asthma are sensitive to the cockroach allergen” (http://www.aafa.org/)
There are a lot of great resources available for families dealing with asthma. For example, EPA and CDC have a booklet that guides families through identifying asthma triggers and setting up an asthma action plan. The following quote is in the booklet, and it hit home for me:“‘We used to have cockroaches all over our kitchen counters. Now we put bread and crackers in plastic containers, and guess what? No more roaches. And that means I am having fewer asthma attacks.’ —Becky, age 12”
The Asthma Regional Council makes the case for funding preventative measures like IPM through healthcare and insurance providers. Read reports related to investing and funding asthma interventions with insurance and healthcare HERE.
You don't want to miss an opportunity to listen in to Dr. Coby Schal's presentation (the live May 10th event will be recorded). To get a sense why, skim the list of over 200 publications his lab has produced. He has conducted much of the foundation research upon which we can build IPM programs in housing. I encourage you to read his 2007 review, “Cockroach Allergen Biology and Mitigation in the Indoor Environment.” In this paper, the authors reviewed the understanding of cockroach allergen biology and the demographics associated with human exposure and sensitization up to 2007 when the review was published. The article critically evaluates allergen mitigation studies from an entomological perspective, highlighting disparities between successful and failed attempts to lessen the cockroach allergen burden in homes. http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev.ento.52.110405.091313