The temperatures are getting colder and insects are crawling into your home, especially ladybugs. For some of you there may be hundreds of them. Did you know that there is an allergy to ladybugs?
We all know about the common allergies against pollen, weeds, and bee stings, but what about an allergy to ladybugs?
"We find a typical patient stating that my seasonal allergies are typically gone but I am still symptomatic in the winter months. It could be a ladybug allergy," said Dr. Arvind Madaan,Charlottesville Allergy and Respiratory Enterprises President.
The allergy first started showing up about ten years ago. Now, there are as many people allergic to ladybugs as there are people allergic to cats.
"You don't get two or three you might get two or three hundred," said Orkin service manager, Matt Yeager. "So, when they show up it's pretty disconcerting for a home owner to walk into their living room and there is this big pile of bugs piled up in the corner of a room and when they remove it they leave that stain behind."
That stains is what's causing the allergies to flare up. It's a trail of orange goo.
"They release their body fluid as a defense mechanism, an orange fluid," said Madaan, "and when it dries up it starts flaking and that's the allergy triggering substance."
How can you keep these pesky insects out of your home? Answer: by closing up any openings in your home.
"Cracks around windows.. doors. A lot of time in the sockets of your house, coming out of the light fixtures is usually how they get in through the attic," said Yeager.
That is the first way to get away from the allergy. Dr. Madaan said, "Treatment options are number one, proper avoidance. Avoidance means if you can seal or caulk the house nicely, there are no loose ends where the insects can come in." The doctor also recommends seeking a specialist evaluation. He says that is important once the insects are already in the house and the patient is symptomatic.
If you have the common allergy symptoms of watery eyes, a runny nose, and sneezing, and your current allergy medicines aren't helping, it might be time to get checked out and close up your house.
The fall is the main time the allergy shows up, but there's usually a smaller spike in reactions in early spring.