Cockroaches are omnivores, eat both meat and plants. They generally do not bite humans except when threatened. But when cockroaches are started to bite humans, it means that the cockroaches lack food because their population is too large. As a nocturnal pest, cockroaches will bite at night when they find food debris on the human body. That’s why you can find cockroach bite marks generally on the mouth, face, and nails.
Here, actually cockroaches do not transmit pathogenic bacteria from their bites but their saliva does. That is why cockroach bite is associated with the spread of diseases. On the other side, the cockroach bite hurt’s level depends on the pain tolerance or tolerance for pain that a person has. This pain tolerance is the maximum amount of pain a person can endure.
You may feel a pinch or sting, but the discomfort doesn’t last more than a few seconds. However, research shows that cockroach bites are very strong, even if only on a small scale. Cockroaches are capable of producing a bite force that is fifty times stronger than their own body weight.
Cockroach bites generally have the same effect as other insect bites, but cockroach bites do not carry disease agents such as pathogenic bacteria that can enter the skin. The following are common signs of being bitten by a cockroach:
Roach Bite Marks
Reddened and Swollen Skin
Reddened skin is the first stage of inflammation. Inflammation is a protective response caused by tissue damage, which serves to destroy or reduce agents that cause tissue damage and the damaged tissue itself. Blood collects in areas affected by tissue damage due to the release of inflammatory mediators, one of which is histamine. After that, the blood plasma will spread into the damaged tissue. Quinine increases the permeability of capillaries, causing swelling of the bitten skin.
Cockroach Bite Marks Are Bigger Than Mosquito Bite Marks
Insect bite marks are affected by the size of the insect. The bigger the insect, the bigger the bite marks. Here, the cockroach bite marks are bigger than mosquito bite marks. The bite marks are about 1-44 mm. Also, the other thing we should notice is that the cockroach bite marks are random and have no specific pattern. So, it is completely from the other bugs’ bite.
There is irritation
Irritation occurs because of the increased collection of blood that interferes with the heat regulation center in the hypothalamus so that the brain will perceive this disturbance as a pain signal. The release of inflammatory mediators can cause pain. Inflammation aims to stop bleeding and clean the wound of foreign objects, such as dead cells and microorganisms in preparation for the healing process. The release of inflammatory mediators is carried out by white blood cells to prevent infection.
The skin feels itchy because histamine interferes with the nerve endings in the skin bitten by a cockroach. Histamine itself plays a role in regulating the function of the digestive system and functions as a neurotransmitter in the brain, spinal cord, and uterus. Histamine is involved in the inflammatory system and has a major role as a mediator of itching.
Cockroach Bite Mechanism
According to this research, cockroaches have proteolytic enzymes, namely enzymes that are able to break down PAR-2 (Protease-activated Receptor). PAR-2 is found in the epidermis. If PAR-2 is activated (with proteolytic enzymes that cockroaches have), then there is the release of inflammatory mediators.
Then, the release of inflammatory mediators can increase sensory nerve responses, thereby delaying skin barrier repair. Here, the release of these inflammatory mediators can trigger a rash on the skin. Followed by an increase in sensory nerve responses in the form of itching or pain due to irritation. After that the skin barrier is not repaired, causing dermatitis or eczema on the skin.
In addition to the signs above, cockroach bites can trigger allergies in certain conditions, including:
- When the immune system reacts to proteins found in the saliva, feces, and bodies of cockroaches.
- When the skin comes into contact with a cockroach. Cockroaches carry a lot of bacteria on their bodies because they live in moist and dirty environments.
- When the allergen is inhaled. Allergens are substances that trigger allergies. Allergens in cockroaches can be found in the body of cockroaches. Allergens in cockroaches are airborne or spread through the air. People with asthma may be affected by this allergy attack.
Allergies are hypersensitivity that occurs as a result of being triggered by an allergen. Hypersensitivity is a pathological immune response due to an excessive immune reaction that causes damage to body tissues.
Based on the way into the body, allergens are divided into four, namely:
- Inhalants (inhalation/breathing)
- Ingestion (digestion)
- Injection (injection)
- Contactants (contact with skin or mucous tissue)
Common characteristics found in someone who is allergic to cockroaches, among others:
- Watery eyes and nose
- Nasal congestion
- Itching and rash
The features mentioned above are also the hallmarks of allergic rhinitis. Allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction found in the nose, caused by an inflammatory process of the mucosa in the nose so that the nose clogged.
People with asthma are more at risk of developing inhalant allergies. Asthma is a chronic respiratory disorder that causes obstruction of the airway. Asthma is caused by inflammation and swelling of the airways so that patients become very sensitive to foreign objects that cause an overreaction. Its characteristics include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain in the chest
- Breath that sounds (wheezing)
- Difficulty sleeping due to difficulty breathing
If the allergy gets worse, then there is an anaphylactic reaction in the form of a drop in blood pressure, difficulty breathing which can be fatal. An anaphylactic reaction is a condition of acute hypersensitivity or severe allergy.
The anaphylactic reaction is an allergen binding reaction to immunoglobulin E (IgE). IgE is a mediator in fast-type allergies such as asthma, rhinitis, and dermatitis. Anaphylactic reactions are more common in people who have a previous history of allergies.
First Aid for Cockroach Bites
When you are bitten by a cockroach, you should take the necessary countermeasures as soon as possible to prevent infection. Here are the first aid measures when you are bitten by a cockroach:
- Do not rub or press the wound
- Clean the wound with soap and water.
- Applying ice cubes (compress) to the swollen area affected by the bite for 10 minutes
- Do not scratch the wound so as not to cause infection
- Use calamine lotion or a solution of baking soda and water several times a day to reduce itching and pain. Calamine lotion is an antihistamine cream.
- Drip lemon water or alcohol on the affected area
- Using aloe vera gel to soothe the skin from bites
- Compressing bite marks with used tea bags
- Taking anti-inflammatory drugs, which are drugs that can reduce inflammation.
Well, that is all about the cockroach bite marks, mechanism, and first aid. Here, it can be inferred that allergic reactions to cockroach bites do not last long, because the effects are the same as the effects of insect bites in general. But what you have to watch out for is that cockroaches live in dark, damp, and dirty habitats so that their bodies contain many pathogenic bacteria that are harmful to health. So the most important prevention is to keep your home environment clean.