Even in the cleanest house, ants and roaches can stubbornly refuse to vacate -- forcing the need to use a pesticide. Because the various chemicals in ant and roach chemicals eradicate insects, they are obviously harmful to humans and companion animals -- and can cause numerous issues when not used properly. Taking a few simple precautions can prohibit a serious injury, as well as future health complications from exposure to these chemicals.
Toxic ingredients in pesticides can be absorbed through the skin upon contact and cause severe reactions; and in spite of our best efforts, bug spray can splash or spill during use. It is best to wear long sleeves and pants while mixing or spraying any ant and roach killer, as well as a hat if you will be spraying above your head. Gloves protect your hands; socks and shoes should be worn to protect the feet. If skin contact still occurs, immediately remove any contaminated clothing. Wash exposed skin with water and soap, lathering and rinsing several times for best results. Scrub under fingernails to remove any unseen residue. If necessary, take a shower to wash off larger areas of contamination; use shampoo to remove any chemicals that may have splashed in hair. Follow up with a doctor for any noticeable chemical burns, rashes or allergic reactions.
When pesticides spray or drip into the eyes, the chemicals used can cause eye irritations and even blindness. If possible, wear glasses or goggles when using ant and roach killers to protect the eye from any unexpected drips or sprays. Affected eyes must be washed out immediately, as some damage can occur on contact. Holding the eye open, wash out the eye with a stream of warm water to gently rinse out the contaminants. Continue rinsing the eye for at least 15 minutes, using only water in the eye. Even if symptoms abate after rinsing, a doctor can rule out any permanent damage or future problems.
Permethrin, the main ingredient in many ant and roach killers, has numerous side effects -- including irritation of the nose and throat, as well as respiratory problems, when inhaled. Avoid exposure by covering the mouth and nose when using any bug fogger or spray, and immediately leaving the vicinity to avoid breathing in the pesticide. Wait for fumes to dissipate before re-entering the affected area; provide ventilation, such as an open door or window, to remove any last traces of the fumes. If breathed in, immediately move to an area of fresh air and take deep breaths to avoid long-term exposure issues. If symptoms are severe, call 911.
Swallowing ant and roach killer -- a huge concern for those with children and pets -- can cause poisoning symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting, fatigue, headaches, odd facial sensations, and unconsciousness. Keeping bottle and cans out of the reach of little hands or paws is the easiest way to avoid poisoning; store pesticides up high or outside of the home, such as in a garage. If ingestion occurs, immediately call 911. Do not induce vomiting if the victim is unconscious. Since various chemicals require different reactions -- such as inducing vomiting or diluting the chemical by drinking water -- read the back of the ant and roach killer label to see what is recommended, or ask the emergency personnel when you call for assistance.