It can be startlingly gross to see a cockroach run up your wall or find a cockroach clinging to a surface in your bathroom. Cockroaches have a glossy, oily appearance that gives the impression that they have poor hygiene. The truth is that they actually do. They don't just look gross. Cockroaches are attracted to decay and this brings them in contact with things that can make you sick. It isn't a matter of whether or not cockroaches will make you sick if they find their way into your home, but more a matter of how sick they will make you.

a cockroach crawling on a kitchen counter

What You Need To Know Most About Cockroaches

The cockroach species in Sacramento County that are considered pests are attracted to rotting organic matter and feces. In fact, they eat these things. This is where the problems begin. An urban cockroach has access to many locations that are unsanitary.

Food Contamination

When roaches get into food, they can contaminate the food with their saliva, feces, and microorganisms that have attached themselves to their exoskeletons. This type of exposure can lead to stomach illness. We call this food poisoning. But you might not realize your food has been contaminated by roaches as food poisoning can be mistaken for the flu or the common cold. This can allow cockroaches to continue to make you sick. One of the most common bacteria spread by cockroaches is salmonella.

Surface Contamination

When cockroaches pass over surfaces, they can cause contamination by transferring bacteria, parasitic worms, and other disease-causing organisms from their bodies. This can cause your cutting board, kitchen counters, and other food-prep surfaces to be a breeding ground for illness.

Dish Contamination

Roaches love to explore tight spaces. As they search for food, they can crawl around in your silverware drawers, dish cabinets, and pan storage areas. This can make these items a source of illness.


Cockroaches can eat toothpaste and are attracted to the bristles on toothbrushes. If roaches get into your bathroom (and it is likely that they will), they can contaminate your toothbrush with microorganisms. Two of the best things you can do in response to a cockroach infestation is clean your bathroom and put your toothbrush in a protective case.


When cockroaches move about your home and climb around in your ventilation ducts, they can leave behind their shed skins. These skins have proteins that can cause an allergic response. Recent studies have shown that hospitalizations for asthma-related symptoms rise in homes with cockroach infestations.

Other Allergies

There are many ways cockroaches can cause you to have an allergic reaction. You may notice that your nose seems to be stuffy all the time. You may have inflammation in your ears or around your eyes. You could have conjunctivitis. You may wake up with a skin rash. Exposure to cockroaches, their skins, saliva, and excrement can create many issues. Cockroaches can also cause a rise in histamines within your home.


Cockroaches are not likely to bite you because they prefer to feed on decaying organic matter, but you may be bitten by accident. When a roach attempts to feed on the dead skin in your eyelashes, eyebrows, or around your mouth, it could bite you. This may lead to a swollen, red wound.

Harmful Chemicals

An unexpected way cockroaches can seriously impact your health is if you attempt to exterminate them with toxic chemicals. You can directly spray a cockroach and it can survive. This is because roaches are born with natural immunities to pest control products that their "parents" were exposed to. This can be a recipe for serious illness. If you spray a cockroach and it survives, it could bring that harmful chemical into your food-storage areas and dish cabinets. This is why we don't recommend using over-the-counter pest control sprays to control cockroaches and instead encourage those dealing with a cockroach problem to invest in an ongoing residential pest control plan or commercial pest control program.

The Proper Response To Cockroaches

We've painted a bleak picture, but keep in mind that most of the illnesses spread by cockroaches that we mentioned are not serious in nature. You'll recover from bacteria or an intestinal worm. It's unpleasant, but most people, in most cases, are not in any real danger from food poisoning; fatal cases of food poisoning are rare. 

Allergies are a little more severe. If you or someone you love has asthma, cockroaches can create a life-threatening situation. We can't speak to the level of danger cockroaches can present to you, but it is clear that they are a health risk. In light of this, we recommend investing in professional treatments for cockroaches to deal with an infestation.

If you live in the Sacramento Region, remember that HomeShield Pest Control is available to assist you with all of your pest concerns. We employ highly-trained and fully licensed pest management professionals and are experts in local Sacramento area pest control. We can guide you in finding the right solution for your cockroach issue. Connect with us today for immediate assistance. We're here to help!