It’s officially spring, which means warmer weather and blooming flowers. And also the sound of sneezing.
Those blooming flowers and leafy trees mean pollen and other allergens are in the air, and the sneezing, watery eyes, itchiness and stuffy noses can have a huge impact on students and faculty at your school.
Spring allergies vary based on where you live, but there are some basic strategies you can use to help minimize their effects at your school.
Here are five ways your school can help keep everyone healthy during allergy season.
1. Motivate students and faculty to stay hydrated.
“Studies have shown that when you’re dehydrated your body produces higher histamine levels, and that drives allergies,” according to Neeta Ogden, an allergy specialist. Encourage people to bring water bottles to school and take breaks as needed. And don’t forget to keep your water fountains clean, especially the spigot – they are often the germiest places in schools.
2. Avoid allergens by staying inside.
As tempting as it may be to enjoy the nice weather, don’t take your students outside for class when pollen counts are high or when it’s windy. The pollen will not only bother those with allergies, but will also enter the building every time you crack open a door.
3. Use a microfiber cloth and mop when cleaning.
Microfiber cloths and mops trap the allergens instead of letting them loose into the air. Don’t forget to also regularly sweep or vacuum. If you have rugs or carpets in classrooms, make sure they get cleaned often. People walk in and track dust or pollen. The cleaner your school is, the less likely these allergens are able to stay inside.
4. Crank up the cold air in classrooms.
The air conditioner can help keep pollen out by filtering the air. And make sure to keep windows closed at all times. That way the pollen will stay where it belongs: outside.
5. It’s not just about pollen. Keep your school free of mold.
It’s not just pollen you have to be worried about. Mold can also cause problems in school buildings. Schools accumulate mold on ceilings, around windows, near water fountains, on walls and bathroom tiles, in books and on carpets, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Make sure you are reporting any water leaks, humidity level changes and moisture problems to your facilities staff. You can manage mold in your school by conducting regular maintenance and building inspections, as well as by controlling the moisture.
To make sure your school is prepared, track the allergy forecast for your area here. This way you can make sure your school is doing the right things to keep students and faculty healthy during the times when allergies are at their peak.
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