State campaign aims to stomp out roaches
The state will pass out hundreds of cockroach traps to residents at Kalihi Valley Homes this month in a pilot campaign to raise awareness about the danger that the insects pose to people with asthma.
Getting rid of roaches
» Seal cracks in walls or around pipes, and repair screens
» Keep food and water away from roaches
» Clear clutter such as old newspapers and boxes
» Use roach traps or baits
» Avoid bug sprays, foggers and bombs since they might harm your lungs
Source: Hawaii Department of Health
The state Department of Health, in partnership with the Hawaii Public Housing Authority, will spend $6,000 in the Hawaii Catch-a-Roach Project at the 375-unit public housing complex.
About half of Hawaii residents who have asthma are allergic to roaches, according to the state Health Department. Proteins found in roach droppings and saliva can cause sneezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, and itchy or watery eyes, while decaying roaches can worsen asthma, it said.
While the health link between asthma and roach exposure is not new, many people are unaware of it, said Alice Silbanuz, public education coordinator for the Health Department.
The Kalihi residents participating in the state program will receive up to three traps per unit, brochures with tips on how to combat roaches, and be asked to fill out an evaluation survey, she said.
Kalihi Valley Homes was picked for the program in part because its resident manager was willing to cooperate, Silbanuz said.
The goal of the project, which is being launched during National Asthma Awareness Month, is to reduce preventable asthma complications and emergency room visits and hospitalizations. It is estimated that in Hawaii, 12 percent of children and 8 percent of adults have asthma.
If the project works, it could expand to other public housing and target different asthma triggers such as secondhand smoke, Silbanuz said.