Airborne Allergens In Schools May Be Worsening Your Child’s Asthma

School Airborne Allergens And Child Asthma

According to the Asthma Society of Canada, there are many airborne allergens in schools that could potentially be worsening your child’s asthma that you may not have even been aware of. Take a look below.

Indoor Airborne Allergens

  • Dust Mites
    Dust mites can be found in many different places in the classroom alone, from carpeting to upholstered furniture. HEPA filters, however, are capable of removing dust mites.
  • Animal Dander
    Any furry animal produces airborne antigens that can trigger inflammation in those who who are allergic. Even if the classroom does not have a pet, animal dander can be brought in by other children and transferred to upholstered furniture and carpets. If there is a furry pet in the classroom, you may have to ask that the pet is either moved to a different classroom or that your child is moved to another classroom. You can also request that the school change any upholstered furniture.

    Interestingly, a rare school-based study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that allergens from mice showed up in 99.5 percent of samples. These were found to increase asthma symptoms and lower lung function in children with higher exposure.

  • Mould
    Indoor moulds tend to grow in dark places where there is also a high level of humidity, which makes activity mats and bathrooms particularly susceptible to mould growth. Don’t hesitate to ask your child’s teacher to examine the classroom for any potential signs of moisture and/or mould.

Outdoor Airborne Allergens

  • Mould Spores
    Mould spores can also be found outside as well, particularly in decaying leaves, composts and wood piles. Your child can encounter mould spores during recess or gym class or on field trips.
  • Pollen
    Pollen can also be found outside and potentially trigger your child’s asthma symptoms. If classroom windows are kept open, pollen also has the chance to make its way indoors. If your child is allergic to pollen, speak to their teacher about closing the windows when pollen levels are particularly high as well as limiting any time spent outside during these periods.

In addition to all of the above airborne allergens that exist in schools, there is an extensive list of non-allergic triggers that could be contributing to your child’s asthma symptoms, from chalkboard dust to paint, markers, the common cold, diesel exhaust, certain weather conditions and exercise.

What To Do About It

If your child’s asthma symptoms seem to worsen at school and then subside once your child is at home again, or if you suspect that any of the above are cause for concern, speak to the principal and your child’s teacher about what can be done. Pay particular attention to where your child spends the most amount of time and try to narrow down a potential cause from there.

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