Making a safe and healthy environment for students and staff is a top priority for any school. One piece of the puzzle often overlooked is indoor air quality. Air pollution can lead to asthma flare-ups, allergic reactions and respiratory infections. In this blog, we’ll explore some steps schools can take to maintain clean air and promote the well-being of everyone on campus.
Controlling Sources of Pollution: Dust, mold and allergens contribute to unhealthy air, and in turn cause asthma flare-ups. Regular cleaning routines, the use of low-chemical products and quick professional intervention for mold infestations are essential. Stay on top of issues like dusty carpets, cluttered rooms and hidden mold or mildew behind bookshelves, ceilings or damp areas.
Clean Ventilation Systems: Regularly check and clean ventilation systems for proper airflow and filtration. This helps eliminate harmful particles in the air and maintains a healthy indoor environment.
Temperature Control: Keep a consistent temperature between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius, as temperature plays a crucial role in asthma and overall health. Extreme temperature, hot or cold, can be an asthma trigger and lead to flare-ups. Use electric heating and cooling sources, avoiding non-flued gas heating. Remember to regularly clean air conditioner filters.
Open Windows: Open windows for ventilation when outdoor conditions are right; this will reduce the risk of indoor air pollution. Remember to leave the windows closed if there is a high pollen risk or increased outdoor air pollution from things like bushfire smoke or heavy traffic. You can check the live air quality in your area with Asthma Australia’s AirSmart App. Download the app now.
Protecting Your Air: Invest in Air Purification Systems – consider installing air purification systems with HEPA filters in classrooms. These systems can help to improve air quality, benefiting students’ health and performance, and peace of mind for parents.
Addressing Traffic Pollution: Traffic pollution contains harmful concentrations of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter. If your school is situated on a main road, try to minimize exposure to traffic pollution. This may look like shutting windows during peak traffic hours to reduce exposure to harmful emissions.
Idle-Off Programs: Encourage programs that promote turning off car engines during pick-up times. This helps reduce the concentration of traffic exhaust breathed in by students during home time and contributes to cleaner air around the school.
Air Quality Policies and Training: Revise school policies to encourage the use of roll-on deodorants over spray deodorants and the removal of strongly scented sprays or air fresheners. Airborne chemicals from these products can be irritating to the airways and cause asthma flare-ups.
Implement an Air Quality Policy: Develop and implement an air quality policy to address poor outdoor and indoor air conditions. This policy could extend to days with high pollen levels and extreme weather events and provide peace of mind to parents, students and staff. Remember to check the AirSmart App regularly for live air quality updates.
Training for Teachers: Make sure that all teachers are trained in Asthma First Aid by completing Asthma Australia’s free course and the Schools Asthma Health Check. This training equips educators to respond effectively to asthma-related incidents. You can complete the course here.
Maintaining clean air in schools is important for the health and well-being of students and staff. By implementing these practical measures and policies, schools can create an environment that supports respiratory health, reduces the risk of asthma flare-ups and promotes overall student well-being.
You can check how asthma-ready your school is by taking the Schools Asthma Health Check. It only takes 5 minutes and could save a life. Complete it now here.