Cockroach allergy: Am I allergic?

Cockroach allergy is a prevalent ailment that arises as an immune response after inhalation of cockroach debris or contact with dead parts and fecal matter.

Cockroaches are considered as common insects found globally. Generally, they are household pests and can result to severe infestations if left uncontrolled. In warm countries, cockroaches are present all year.

A household might hold several cockroaches, usually in the bathrooms and kitchens. Some individuals are highly sensitive to the saliva, feces and dead parts upon inhalation.

In most cases, the respiratory system is mainly affected. Chronic exposure to the cockroaches can result to a sinus infection and even asthma.

What are the potential risk factors?

  • Regular exposure to fecal material, saliva and dead parts of cockroaches.
  • Kitchens that are humid and poorly ventilated and dining areas that are not kept clean regularly.
  • Family history of any associated allergy including hay fever and asthma.
  • Babies and young children

What are the indications?


If anaphylaxis arises, an auto-injector epinephrine should be administered right away.

The indications of cockroach allergy might manifest within a few minutes up to several hours after exposure to cockroaches. Depending on the degree of exposure and sensitivity level of the individual, the signs might range from minor to severe. If a severe allergic reaction arises, it is considered as a medical emergency.

The usual signs of the allergy might include:

  • Sneezing and cough
  • Chest tightness
  • Stuffed or runny nose
  • Throat irritation
  • Watery eyes along with irritation and redness
  • Ear infections
  • Shortness of breath and wheezing
  • Asthma-like symptoms among children with asthma or other lung ailments
  • Itchy skin
  • Facial pain if the sinuses are involved

Management of cockroach allergy

  • Limit or lessen exposure to cockroach particles.
  • Anti-allergy drugs can be given for minor reactions including leukotriene modifiers
  • For relief to the symptoms, decongestants are given as well as steroid sprays
  • Breathing support might be needed for the asthma symptoms and low blood pressure
  • If anaphylaxis arises, an auto-injector epinephrine should be administered right away
  • Bronchodilators are given for respiratory issues including wheezing and asthma
  • Immunotherapy or allergy shots might be suggested for severe allergies to establish long-term tolerance