A Surprising Trigger for Allergies: The Roach Common allergens, like pollen, are annoying but hardly life-threatening. For some individuals, however, allergens can cause anaphylactic shock or trigger asthma reactions. Asthma is entirely separate from the phenomenon of anaphylactic shock, but a person with asthma may experience allergies more intensely and their reactions can trigger an asthma attack. A little known trigger for asthmatics is the cockroach. Partly because these bugs are so common in homes, and partly because a great percentage of humans are allergic to them, they can cause a lot of grief for people who suffer from asthma. The offending allergens come from cockroach feces, saliva and body parts. These allergens mix with common household dust, thus circulating throughout the house. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America states that between three quarters and 98% of homes in the U.S. have cockroach allergies, and about one quarter to one half of individuals with asthma are sensitive to cockroach allergens. Physicians can test for a wide array of allergens, including sensitivity to cockroaches. If an allergy is present, the next step is to contact an exterminator to rid your house of roaches.