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General Medical Questions
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Question : I found a roach in the Chinese take-out food I was eating. Could I get sick?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Mary Pickett, M.D. is an Associate professor at Oregon Health & Science University where she is a primary care doctor for adults. She supervises and educates residents in the field of Internal Medicine, for outpatient and hospital care. She is a Lecturer for Harvard Medical School and a Senior Medical Editor for Harvard Health Publications.

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October 09, 2013
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Cockroaches can be a sign of a kitchen’s poor cleanliness. However, they are by themselves not known to spread infection.

Many people with asthma are allergic to a protein that is shed by cockroaches. This protein can be inhaled when it is stirred up into the air along with other dust. This means that the presence of cockroaches in a home or apartment can cause asthma to be more active.

So theoretically, if you had an allergy to cockroach, swallowing one might be able to cause an allergic reaction. This has never been described — most likely because roaches that are “discovered” in food are rarely swallowed!

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