NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Tulane researchers say they've found a more effective and cheaper way to control an asthma trigger in children.
"It also results in a reduction in exposure to the cockroaches which are an allergen which subsequently results in fewer symptom days and less health care utilization for children who have asthma," said Tulane Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Felicia Rabito, Ph.D.
According to the new Tulane study, roach bait in the gel form is not only more effective at eliminating the roaches than other control methods, it's also more cost efficient and less toxic.
"We find a lot of families in New Orleans, what they do is, they spray or they put those fogs, those bombs in the house which are effective in a short term but the roaches come right back but importantly the pesticides in those, then you can breathe them in, those have been found to be associated with poor asthma outcomes as well," said Rabito.
Rabito, who authored the study, says the latest findings are particularly important for low-income families.
"Low-income families have more asthma, more asthma symptoms and they also have been found to have more roaches, so, it's a perfect storm of a situation where kids are sick, so, if using insecticidal bait reduces the roaches and reduces the illness, it's really an important intervention to reduce some of those disparities," said Rabito.
The study followed more than a hundred families in the New Orleans area who all had children with asthma. Research assistant, Nickey Wells, went into their homes and applied the gel.
"The bait worked better because the roaches actually eat the bait and once they eat the bait they don't die right on the spot, they die inside the walls and actually when they die inside the wall, the other roaches eat the other roaches," said Wells. "Two years later and still don't have any problems with the roaches."
Researchers say it even worked in houses with roach infestations. Children in the gel treated homes had nearly 50 fewer days with asthma symptoms over a year's time.
"Wherever you see the roaches, which is typically in places where it's dark, there's food, there's maybe some moisture, so, in the back of cabinets underneath refrigerators," said Rabito.
You can find the roach bait gel in stores and it only cost about $8 a tube. Researchers tell us they only needed to apply it about once or twice a year and the roaches stayed away.