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9 Tips to Keep your Classroom Allergen-Free

Allergy symptoms in classroom

Children will soon face allergy symptoms as they return to school. How can teachers create allergen-free classroom environment to minimize allergy risk.

As autumn rolls around, so does the moment children must return to school, to face hectic schedules, forgotten routines and, for the more sensitive ones, allergy symptoms that might even be life-threatening. Teachers are encouraged to create classroom environments that minimize contact with products or animals that might incur allergic reactions, but it’s impossible to fully eradicate inhalable allergens.

Currently, 28 million children in the United States suffer from allergy symptoms, while as much as 7.1 million battle asthma. As such, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology has created a list with suggestions to help ensure a safe environment for children in the classroom.

• Know the trigger symptoms: Keep a list of children and their allergies close at hand, using it as reference for every activity conducted or outside source brought into the class.

• Be proactive: If you know that a child in your class is allergic to rodents, your class pet might be replaced. If you know there are dust allergies, the custodian would be informed to keep things extremely clean.

• Know the difference between an allergy and a cold: Whereas colds develop over time and don’t last very long, allergy symptoms seem to attack the body and last over 2 weeks. Trouble breathing, wheezing and coughing mean an asthma attack. A runny nose, trouble focusing, lack of strength and cough mean a cold.

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• Ensure the child knows his/her symptoms: Encourage parents to have children tested and made to understand their symptoms, to better be able to communicate their issues with the school and their peers. In-class presentations about the different allergies might also help everyone feel more comfortable with the concept of allergies, giving them the tools to help prevent problems for the allergic.

• Carry medication: encourage the allergic children to carry their asthma inhalers and Epipens with them at all times, keeping a spare close at hand, ensuring less problems and better awareness about the issues at hand.

• Do not store food in the classroom: This will keep away pests. If need be, store in tightly sealed containers.

• Identify areas of moisture and mold: You want your children to breathe clean air, which means ensuring there is no mold building up in the class and no moisture seeping through the walls.

• Keep things relatively fragrance-free: many children have their allergic reactions triggered by strong-smelling products, such as perfumes and cleaning chemicals, creating an unsafe environment. Have scented products banned from your classroom to ensure children are safe.

• Ensure optimal environment: Keep windows open when possible and air circulating, at room temperature and with open vents. It should be a non-smoking environment where car idling is discouraged outside the classroom window. The less in pollutants inhaled, the better it is for all children involved, not just those racked with allergies.

Have a great new school year that’s safe and allergen-free!

Tips for Keeping Allergy and Asthma Out of the Classroom, by ACAAI
Healthy Air Walkthrough: Classroom Checking, by American Lung Association