Humans have long been afraid of roaches. But sometimes, a lot of us don’t even know why. Is it because of how they look? Of what they eat? Or are roaches dangerous?
The truth is, these bugs are actually more dangerous than other pests. And it’s definitely not because of their look. It's because of what they carry. So if you’re wondering what these bugs can do, here are 5 reasons that prove how life-threatening they can be.
They contaminate food with disease-causing bacteria
Aside from striking fear and disgust into almost every human they can find, roaches are known for contaminating food.
According to The Health Site, a cockroach will crawl around your house looking for something to eat. So if you leave food out in the open, it’ll get to it and contaminate it.
First, it will soil the food with its droppings. Roaches have a bad habit of defecating on what they eat. They also leave behind tiny hair, dead skin and egg shells.
Second, a cockroach eats fecal matter from other animals. So it picks up bacteria from what it feeds on and passes them into anything it touches.
Here are a few of the most common bacteria that a cockroach can put into your food.
Don’t get us wrong, this bacteria already lives in our digestive tract. But the type that we have are harmless.
For roaches, however, they can harbor harmful types of E. Coli, and they can spread them across the house. If these bacteria get into a person’s body, they will cause serious food poisoning which will take about 1 to 2 weeks to get better with proper treatment.
Another bacteria that you can get from roaches is Salmonella. This type of bacteria can also cause food poisoning. In the US alone, there are about 50,000 cases of Salmonella infections each year.
People infected by this will experience diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. They will need to be hospitalized to receive proper care and treatment.
They cause allergies
Roaches only bite humans if they really need to. Similar to other bugs, they bite when they sense that they need to defend themselves, like when they’re pinned down. They can also bite human flesh when their population has become so big that food has become scarce.
The scary thing about these roach bites are not the bites themselves. It’s what comes after them. If a bacterial infection does not get you, maybe an allergic reaction will. According to a publication by the World Health Organization, cockroaches carry parasitic worms that can cause allergies, but they’re saliva alone is enough to trigger reactions like skin rashes, welts, sneezing, watery eyes and even difficulty in breathing.
They trigger asthma
Since roaches can trigger allergies, it’s only natural that they can also cause asthma.
The same substances can trigger both medical conditions. In fact, incidences of getting an asthma attack may increase if you live in a house full of roaches. According to Rentokil, 23-60% of asthma sufferers are sensitive to cockroach allergens.
So we highly recommend getting rid of roaches immediately if you have a loved one that has asthma.
They may get inside your body
It’s the stuff of nightmares. Bizzare, unrealistic and even crazy, you might be thinking that it’s fictional. But incidents with roaches getting inside human body parts are more common than you think.
For Colonial Pest, this is not surprising since emergency rooms in big cities get visits from patients with roaches inside their ears. Homes with huge cockroach populations force roaches to travel to more dark corners and holes to look for food. And unfortunately, our ears and noses are those “dark holes” that they can fit into.
Having these insects inside you can cause great pain, unbearable discomfort and an itching feeling that’s literally under your skin. If left untreated, the roach can die inside and cause a severe infection.
Still not convinced? Here’s a very real and recent news report of a woman with a cockroach living inside her head.
They may cause deadly diseases
We put this in the last part because although roaches have always been seen as dirty and disease-causing for many years, there’s actually little evidence that links them to disease outbreaks.
But this doesn’t mean that they don’t carry other deadly illnesses. The publication from the World Health Organization further states that roaches can play a supplementary role in spreading diseases like cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, the plague, leprosy, typhoid fever and viral diseases like poliomyelitis.
So are roaches dangerous? Well since they cause a number of serious medical conditions, we think it’s only fair for humans to be afraid of them. For many of these illnesses, lives are at stake. So this fear keeps us in check. It gives us a few good reasons to get rid of these bugs now.