This fun fact about hay fever might make your skin crawl
THE windows are closed, the pollen trees have been cut down and you are still waking up with puffy eyes and a stuffy nose.
The cause of your hay fever reaction might be lurking under your bed, in your bathroom and undoubtedly is living in your kitchen.
It is cockroaches.
Research has shown these common critters carry allergens that can cause skin rashes, chronic stuffy nose, itchy eyes, wheezing and acute asthma attacks.
It's not the cockroach itself that is the problem. It is the feces, urine and decomposing bodies they leave behind.
These by-products become part of the household dust, according to Flick Anticimex national pest technical manager Gary Stephenson.
"Common advice for people suffering from hay fever allergy is to stay indoors and close your windows so pollen can't come inside,'' Mr Stephenson said.
"But this can actually make pest-related allergies worse if you have cockroaches inside."
Symptoms of cockroach allergy include a stuffy nose, a persistent skin rash and year-around asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, a feeling of tightness in the chest and shortness of breath.
"If you suspect you or your child may be suffering from cockroach allergy, it is important to see your doctor,'' Mr Stephenson said.
The warm spring weather is also likely to increase cockroach infestations.
Landsborough GP and Sunshine Coast Medicare Local chairman Dr Peter Dobson said cockroach allergies were not nearly as prevalent as dust mite.
"It is frustrating, I get it myself," Dr Dobson said.
"There is no new silver bullet. Antihistamines work quite well and another thing to consider is desensitisation injections.
"They are a long course, reasonably expensive and time consuming, but they work well."
How not to have them:
- Do not leave dirty dishes in your sink overnight
- Regularly remove garbage from your home, especially your kitchen
- Keep pet food in well-sealed containers
- Clean out gutters regularly and repair leaking taps