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Cockroach Allergies?


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I knew going into this that I have a strong allergy prick test to cockroaches. I assume it was from the hell-hole of an apartment that I was born into and lived for the first few years. The stories of the wars between the roaches and the mice that my mom told me were epic. Haven't been exposed to them since, so I was bit surprised at how strong it was. (Much worse than dogs, and dogs can turn me into a walking welt farm.)

When I was presented with the chance to get hissing cockroaches and dubias last fall I jumped at it, and for several months I never had a single issue with handling either species. No allergy reactions, no skin reactions. So I ordered me some wonderful new species from Zephyr and now have a cockroach species explosion upstairs. None of the new species are bothering me except for the lats. I'm wondering now if it's the amount of roaches that I'm going to have problems with rather than the kind. :( I have to admit I never really gave much thought to what people are allergic to - the skin flakes off of the roaches.

Anyways, since I'm still new to this whole roach thing I was wondering if anyone else out there had severe allergies and if they had any tricks that might help alleviate symptoms? A stuffy nose is one thing, but when I went to feed the lats last night I had to run for my inhaler as it triggered a pretty bad asthma attack. I seem to be okay being in the room with them, but I can't get into the container without having a problem. I can't get rid of them as I desperately need them for the baby scorplings, so I just have to find a way to live with it. Any help would be very much appreciated!

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Introduce springtails into your colonies and bump up the temperatures. I used to have bad reactions to my roach bins but after increasing the humidity, the temperature, and adding springtails, I don't have problems. The springtails feed on bits of leftover food but more importantly they feed on fungal spores, which is probably what you're actually reacting to. If you get small welts on your arms from handling roaches, that's probably due to their defensive odors, which I have been inclined to think assist them from being eaten by mammals like monkeys and rodents by making them distasteful and irritating.

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I get awful hives and become a mucus factory after tending to my roach bins. My solution is a combination approach (keep in mind I'm not asthmatic), just deal with the miserable sneezing and stuffed up, itchy face, always wear gloves, it really helps with the hives, and go as quicky as possible. I find I react the strongest to my hissers, which I have had for the longest amount of time, which makes me think I developed a contact allergy.

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I get awful hives and become a mucus factory after tending to my roach bins. My solution is a combination approach (keep in mind I'm not asthmatic), just deal with the miserable sneezing and stuffed up, itchy face, always wear gloves, it really helps with the hives, and go as quicky as possible. I find I react the strongest to my hissers, which I have had for the longest amount of time, which makes me think I developed a contact allergy.

I also turn into a snot factory, or used to. When the peat moss that I use for substrate got dry it created a dust when I disturbed it. That dust became airborne and that is what caused me to sneeze like crazy. Now I wear a dust mask and I also mist the substrate before I go poking around in a bin. The problem has been solved for me.

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What worked well for me was increasing the humidity, introducing springtails and Isopods, and keeping the mold problems in check. I take an allegra everyday for my allergies anyway, that could also help if you have an issue. The minor irritation of some sniffles and a few bumps isnt enough to deter me however. The Lats are by far the worst for me, I generally avoid stirring up their tank if I can avoid it. Otherwise I don't react too strongly to them. Wearing a mask does work but it's annoying. I don't wear one anymore, I just don't stick my face into the tanks as much any longer. :P

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Am I the only one here who doesn't get the sniffles when working with roaches? Usually my hissers cause a bit of it (Only Princisia/Gromphadorhina, though) but everything else I can take a big ol' whif and nothing. In fact, several of my colonies (Supella, Gyna, Pseudomops, Parcoblatta) have very pleasant if not nice smelling odors. All of these containers are loaded to the brim with springtails, though.

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I love to work with my roacheys!! They never give me any probs, every now and then I may pop a lobster or 2, pretty tasty I must say :D, but my dubias and lobsters don't give me any reactions whatsoever

Maybe all my mantises have made me used to the allergens allegedly produced by their ancestors :)

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Come to think of it, my American colonies and honestly most of the specie I keep give me no reaction. Mainly Blaberus, Blaptica, Eublaberus, and Blatta...that may honestly be it. All the others don't really do anything to my allergies.

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Thanks for all the ideas! I'm going to look into buying masks for when I have to work with them - never even thought about using them. :)

I also think that the eggcrate may have been an issue as it's only the lats that are causing problems and the only difference between them and the rest is that their enclosure has the crate. I removed it tonight and will be going out for more leaves tomorrow to replace them. Honestly, in one week the lats are smelling worse than the crickets, which I thought wasn't supposed to happen. I'm hoping that putting them on peat moss and leaves will stop the smell. (The rest of the enclosures smell great! I love how pleasant the dubias always are.)

Interesting about the springtails! I have no choice about them as they've taken over my existing tanks, so I took handfuls of soil and seeded the new enclosures, including the lats. Might take a few weeks for them to build up, but once they do I'm hoping it helps.

I can handle my hissers with absolutely no problems and I've always heard they were the worst when it came to allergens. Weird that it's the lats that are my problem.

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My neighbor is deathly allergic to birch pollen yet she has 3 birches in her yard lol

She's not very nice, I wonder if she is allergic to roaches, I could give one of her kids a roach and they'd go show it to her (she freaked out over a Luna moth cat, I can picture a roach scene now...) and see if she's allergic :P

So does the roaches exoskeleton itself cause an allergy or is it the poo or something??

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Well I imagin it depends on the person, some people could be allergic to the frass or the microfauna that live on it but in the case of hissers I could also be the mites that that carry. I doudtt that it's the exo skeleton but any thing is possible

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