IAQ Tools for Schools
Health and Achievement
Managing Asthma in Schools
Read EPA's Managing Asthma in the School Environment
PDF Version (16 pp., 977 K)
Asthma Management: A Priority for Schools
- An average of one out of every 10 school-age children has asthma
- Asthma is a leading cause of school absenteeism
- Each year, 10.5 million school days are missed due to asthma.
- Asthma can be controlled through medical treatment and management of environmental triggers
Asthma is a serious, sometimes life-threatening respiratory disease that affects 24.6 million Americans, including 7.1 million children. Although there is no cure for asthma, it can be controlled through medical treatment and management of environmental triggers. [Statistics are from National Health Statistics Reports, "Asthma Prevalence, Health Care Use, and Mortality: United States, 2005-2009," Lara J. Akinbami, M.D., Office of Analysis and Epidemiology, National Center for Health Statistics; Jeanne E. Moorman, M.S., National Center for Environmental Health; and Xiang Liu, M.Sc., Office of Analysis and Epidemiology, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Number 32, January 12, 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr032.pdf.]
Controlling Common Asthma Triggers Found in Schools
Many factors found in the indoor and outdoor environment can cause, trigger, or exacerbate asthma symptoms. Some common environmental asthma triggers found in schools are listed below, along with suggestions for managing each common trigger:
|Asthma Triggers Found in Schools||Asthma Management Tips for Schools|
|Environmental Tobacco Smoke - Environmental tobacco smoke is a mixture of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar and the smoke exhaled by the smoker. Read More...||Eliminate Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke
Enforce no-smoking policies in schools. www.epa.gov/smokefree
|Pests - Cockroach body parts, secretions, and droppings, as well as the urine, droppings, and saliva of other pests (such as rodents) are often found in areas where food and water are present. Read More...|| Control Pest Problems
Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to prevent cockroach and other pest problems (e.g., store food in tightly sealed containers and place dumpsters away from the building). Visit www.epa.gov/pesticides/ipm/index.htm for more information on IPM in schools.
|Mold - Mold can grow indoors when mold spores land on wet or damp surfaces. In schools, mold is most commonly found in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, around roof seams and plumbing, and in portable classrooms and trailers. Mold can grow anywhere that moisture is present. Read More...|| Clean Up Mold and Moisture
Fix leaks and moisture problems and thoroughly dry wet areas within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. Clean hard, moldy surfaces with water and detergent, then dry thoroughly. www.epa.gov/mold
|Dust mites - Dust mites are too small to be seen but can be found in almost every home, school, and building. Dust mites can be found in school carpeting, upholstered furniture, stuffed animals or toys, and pillows. Read More...|| Reduce Dust Mite Exposure
Make sure schools are dusted and vacuumed thoroughly and regularly, and keep classrooms free of clutter. If stuffed toys are present, ensure they are washable and wash them regularly in hot water.
|Animal dander - Pets' skin flakes, urine, and saliva are often found in classrooms and science labs. Any warm-blooded animal, including cats and dogs, may trigger asthma. Read More...|| Control Animal Allergens
Remove classroom animals from the school, if possible. If not, locate animals away from sensitive students and ventilation systems.
To learn more about environmental asthma triggers commonly found indoors, visit Indoor Environmental Asthma Triggers.