Asthma Triggers at School and Ways to Prevent Them!
One of the most traumatic experiences a child could ever face is the asthma attacks. Unfortunately, asthma is widespread and many children than ever before are being diagnosed with asthma. Well, first let’s look at what asthma is and how it happens? Asthma is a chronic lung disease that happens when the airways in your child’s lungs are inflamed and filled with mucus, making it extremely difficult for your child to breathe in air.
Asthma flare-ups are one of the reasons why kids with asthma miss school. How do children handle asthma flare-ups and deal with asthma triggers while at school? Well, it the responsibility of the school management to provide a supportive environment to help kids with asthma to take charge of their health. Schools can help students with asthma to allow access to medications and initiate steps to reduce asthmatic triggers.
Schools should take action to identify and reduce common asthma triggers and provide a safe and healthy learning environment. Eight asthma triggers and ways to prevent them.
1. Mould spores have the potential to trigger asthmatic attacks in susceptible kids. All moulds that are found to grow inside the school campus should be removed. Mould loves to grow in damp things like leaky pipes, basins and tiles. Schools should fix all leaky pipes and plumbing issues. Water should not be allowed to stagnate and all damp items should be dried out within a day or two. Controlling moisture is the key to managing moulds in schools.
2. Physical activity can cause exercise related bronchoconstriction. Avoiding physical activity altogether is not good at all. Physical activity is good for lung function and the child’s overall health. Kids may indulge in physical activity after properly hydrating themselves and taking medication to prevent asthmatic flare-ups.
3. Dust mites are one of the most common asthma triggers. Dust mites are found in the fibres of stuffed chairs, carpets and gym mats in schools. These should be vacuumed and dusted regularly. Make sure they are done after the school children have left for the day.
4. Another surprising asthmatic trigger in schools is the art supplies. Artwork supplies release strong odours and some kids are allergic to it. The same goes for cleaning products whose fumes and odour can linger after use. Avoid perfumed cleaning products. Eco-friendly and less toxic cleaning products and artwork supplies can help prevent asthmatic triggers.
5. Cockroaches and pests like rats can also trigger asthmatic attacks. Do not permit students to eat in the classrooms. Make it a point to remove trash at it may contain food or liquids. It is important that school has a plan for integrated pest control.
6. Chalkboard dust can be problematic. It is best to use anti-dust chalk. Damp cloths are the best to clean blackboards. Do not allow kids with asthma to clean the blackboards.
7. Second-hand smoke can have negative effects on asthmatic lungs. Cigarette smoke can irritate or block the small airways. Teach kids to stay away from second hand smoke. Schools should support clean-air and a smoke-free environment to enable kids with asthma, breathe easy.
8. Stress and anxiety can fuel childhood asthma. A study has shown that stressful situations quadruple the risk of asthma in children. Getting back to school after a long vacation could be stressful for these little ones. They have trouble getting to the study mode. Under stressful conditions your child’s body releases some chemicals which cause narrowing of the small airways. This can trigger an asthmatic attack. It is the responsibility of teachers to reach out and make kids feel more comfortable and confident while at school.
The school setting should be such that it provides a safe, supportive and healthy learning environment for children. As children spend most of their time in schools, it is important that schools work towards being free from known possible asthmatic triggers. Yes, it is the responsibility of schools to create an asthma-friendly environment to help children with asthma, breathe easier.