Children in homes being treated with insecticidal bait had almost 50 fewer days a year with asthma symptoms.
For children living in the inner-city, being exposed to cockroaches regularly can trigger their asthma and reduce their quality of life. Completely eliminating cockroaches from a home with traditional, multifaceted pest management is expensive and unattainable for many families. A study in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) found that just by putting cockroach bait in homes, it reduced the amount of pests significantly and children had almost 50 fewer days with asthma symptoms a year.
The study followed 102 children with moderate to severe asthma living in the greater New Orleans area for a year. Most families (92%) had a household income of less than $25,000. In homes that were being treated with cockroach bait, technicians would visit every two to three months and place traps in the kitchen, living room and the child’s bedroom. Insecticidal bait is inexpensive and exposes families to a relatively small amount of pesticides compared to other forms of pest control.
“Cockroach exposure is an important contributor to asthma disparities which, despite an overall trend for stabilization in prevalence, continues to rise among the poor,” said Felicia Rabito, PhD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. “Identifying interventions that result in clinical benefits and that are affordable, and feasible for low-income families are urgently needed.”
Three months into the study there was a noticeable difference in the number of bugs between houses with cockroach bait and homes with no intervention. At 12 months, no homes treated with bait had a cockroach infestation compared to 22% of control homes that were not treated with insect bait.
Children in homes being treated had better health outcomes. On average, they had 47 fewer days with asthma symptoms over the course of a year. Conversely, children with a cockroach allergy in untreated homes were significantly more likely to miss school and have unscheduled emergency department visits.
To learn more, access the study “Single Component intervention for cockroach control reduces cockroach exposure and asthma morbidity in children” at jacionline.org .
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