Cockroach bite is caused by the large number of cockroach colonies that live in your home. Those bites generally look like insect bites in general. Unfortunately, cockroach bites can cause skin rash or dermatitis. According to Hardianty et al in the journal Atopic Dermatitis Related to Cockroach, cockroach saliva contains a type of protein that is an allergen (causing allergies) in almost most people in the world. Basically, this substance triggers an allergic immune reaction in the skin, causing a rash. Allergic reactions caused by insect bites will appear several hours after being bitten.
This rash will not last long because it is a local allergy that will not spread to other parts of the body unless there is an infection from scratching or an anaphylactic reaction for someone who has a previous history of allergies. 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.
The protein found in cockroaches is able to spread through the air. This protein is able to penetrate the human epidermis and trigger dermatitis in 3 mechanisms, including:
- Entry of proteolytic enzymes
- PAR-2 . receptor activation
- IgE binding
Cockroaches have proteolytic enzymes, which are enzymes that are able to break down PAR-2 (Protease-activated Receptor). PAR-2 is found in the epidermis. PAR-2 (Protease-activated Receptor) receptors play a role in nerve transmission that provides irritation or itching signals, maintenance of epidermal calcium ions, and restoration of the skin barrier. PAR-2 activation occurs if a person experiences allergies, one of which is if a person is exposed to insect bites.
If PAR-2 is activated (with proteolytic enzymes that cockroaches have), then there is the release of inflammatory mediators. The release of inflammatory mediators can increase sensory nerve responses, thereby delaying skin barrier repair. The release of this inflammation 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.
How Do Cockroach Bite Infect Humans?
When you get a cut or get bitten by an insect, your skin changes in the form of redness and swelling. This change is called 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. Inflammation aims to stop bleeding and clean the wound of foreign objects, such as dead cells and microorganisms in preparation for the healing process.
One of the risks of insect bites is infection. When you are bitten by an insect, you tend to feel uncomfortable, such as itching or burning, so you are tempted to touch the bitten area. Infection is very likely to occur due to the entry of microorganisms into the wound. Microorganisms enter the wound in search of a breeding ground and they have many surface antigens that stimulate the immune system. The human immune system is strengthened by the presence of white blood cells. White blood cells or leukocytes function to detect and fight foreign objects that enter the body.
When an infection occurs in the wound, it is not uncommon for pus to come out. The pus that comes out is one of the white blood cells that function in the body’s immune system, namely neutrophil cells. Neutrophil cells are the first cells to encounter bacteria or viruses and then attack them. Neutrophils also give signals to white blood cells and cells in the body’s immune system to respond to bacteria or viruses that come. White blood cells will come out after being released from the spinal cord.
As previously noted, a cockroach bite can trigger an allergic reaction. White blood cells also play a role in responding to allergies, namely eosinophils. Eosinophils can secrete histamine which causes itching of the skin.
How to Treat Infected Cockroach Bite (First Aid)
When you are bitten by a cockroach, you should take the necessary precautions as soon as possible to prevent infection. But what if you’ve scratched the cockroach bite until an infection occurs? The following are alternatives to relieve infection according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association:
- Applying ice cubes (compress) to the swollen area affected by the bite for 10 minutes. Applying a cold ice cube can relieve inflammatory activity that interferes with the heat-regulating system in the hypothalamus.
- Using aloe vera gel to soothe the skin caused by insect bites, because aloe vera contains antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, aloe vera, or natural Aloe vera can accelerate the recovery of skin tissue damaged by inflammation.
- Compressing bite marks with used tea bags containing marigolds. Marigold can provide stimulation to collagen so that it is anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial.
- Apply turmeric paste on the skin. Turmeric contains curcumin which has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. To cure the infection, you should not take turmeric orally because there is a risk of bleeding.
- Use products that contain tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and is widely used in anti-acne products.
- Apply petroleum jelly to moisturize the wound and heal faster.
- Cover the wound with a sterile bandage to prevent bacterial contamination of the infected wound.
- Taking anti-inflammatory drugs, which are drugs that can suppress or reduce inflammation. The main goals of taking anti-inflammatory drugs are to relieve symptoms, maintain tissue function, and slow or inhibit the process of tissue damage.
- Apply honey to the wound. Honey contains hydrogen peroxide which acts as an antibacterial. In addition, honey also has a low pH so it can neutralize wounds caused by insect bites and attract moisture which causes dehydration of bacteria.
- Using diluted aromatherapy oil, because it contains antibiotics that kill germs and inhibit bacterial growth. If it is not dissolved it will cause irritation to the skin
- Using oregano essential oil. Oregano essential oil contains compounds that can activate the immune system when inhaled and can reduce inflammation. You can also add a solution of oregano essential oil to an air diffuser to relieve sinus infections.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the infection will clear up within one week. However, if you experience the following symptoms then you should consult a doctor:
- Yellow or green pus
- Feels hot to the touch
- It hurts to the touch
- Blushing and bleeding doesn’t stop
- Have a fever
Infection can be prevented by not touching the area affected by the insect bite.