What are the health risks of cockroach and earwig exposures?

Updated: Jun 21, 2018
  • Author: Boyd (Bo) D Burns, DO, FACEP, FAAEM; Chief Editor: Joe Alcock, MD, MS  more...
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Cockroaches have been reported to bite humans, but their bite generally is harmless. Continued repeated exposure to their remains and feces poses a greater health threat, such as increased incidence of asthma, especially in inner cities, and their remains and feces are possible vectors for transmission of viral and bacterial diseases.

Earwigs generally are harmless insects that have earned an unpleasant reputation. This may be because of their depiction in popular culture, such as in the television series, "The Night Gallery." Although they appear to have a large pincer on the posterior abdomen, it is not capable of rendering anything more serious than a mild pinch. Additionally, and contrary to popular belief, they do not routinely enter the human ear canal and parasitize humans. Cockroaches are much more likely to be found lodged in a patient's auditory passage.

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