Northside Allergy Associates Newsletter September 2011
Sep 26, 2011
BACK TO SCHOOL WITH ALLERGIES
It has been found that asthma and allergies account for more than 16 million missed school days per year in the United States (1). A recent report also suggests that asthma within the educational services industry is an occupational health problem, particularly among teachers and teacher's aids (1). As providers, we often stress the importance of managing allergens in the home ; however, it is also important that we direct attention to non-residential environments, such as schools and daycare facilities, as important sources of allergen exposure.
Improvements in our schools and daycare facilities might be needed to decrease indoor allergen levels. Some examples of improvements include: reductions in potential dust reservoirs, regular and thorough cleaning and maintenance, pest control, improvements in ventilation systems, control of excess moisture, and methods to reduce allergen load on clothing of individuals with pets (2). Allergen levels can vary by time, location, and type of room within the building.
Children and teachers spend a large portion of each week in schools and daycare facilities, which can be important sites of indoor allergen exposure. Common sources of indoor allergens include: carpeting, upholstered furniture, pillows, stuffed animals, toys, and the clothing of individuals with pet exposure, class pets (2). Exposure to allergens can occur directly or indirectly. For example, clothing would be the primary transfer mechanism and source of exposure for pet allergens (1). Clothing is also a source of dust mite exposure.
For those individuals allergic to dogs and cats, schools and daycares can be important sites of exposure, particularly for those that do not have pets at home (1). A study of the prevalence of cat allergen in Kansas City Schools found that cat allergen is present throughout schools. These findings reinforced the need to identify and/or treat cat allergy in children, even in those with no cat exposure at home (3).
Salo P., Sever M., & Zeldin D. (Aug 2009). Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. allergens in school and day care environments. 124(2), 185-192. Retrieved September 6, 2011, from http://www.jacionline.org/
Szefler, S. (Aug 2009). Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. asthma and allergies in schools: an opportunity to coordinate health care. 124(2), 201-204. Retrieved September 6, 2011 from http://www.jacionline.org/
Arnold D., Gard L., Pacheco F., Barnes C., Portnoy J. (Feb 2010). Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. of cat allergen in kansas city schools. 125(2), AB211. Retrieved September 7, 2011 from http://www.jacionline.org/