IAQ: Asthma in Schools

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disorder affecting as many as 24.6 million Americans – approximately 7.1 million of those individuals are children, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

iStock_000014421351SmallAnd the EPA estimates that on average one out of every 10 children of school age has asthma. That’s because certain conditions in a school building – conditions that aren’t controlled – can worsen the symptoms of those suffering from asthma.

Not only do these conditions exacerbate the health problems of children with asthma, but they can also negatively affect a child’s performance in the classroom.

The EPA claims asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism. In fact, asthma causes students to miss 10.5 million school days every year.

Students can function better, feel more alert, experience less symptoms related to asthma, and miss fewer school days, if their environments are healthy.

There is no known cure for asthma, but the EPA explains it is best controlled with medical treatment and by minimizing environmental triggers, including those found within schools.

The asthma triggers most often found in school buildings, according to the EPA, include:

  • Tobacco Smoke
  • Pests
  • Mold
  • Dust mites
  • Animal Dander

To alleviate these asthma triggers, the EPA recommends:

  • Enforcing a no-smoking policy in all schools
  • Implementing a pest management program
  • Dusting and vacuuming school surfaces regularly to reduce exposure to dust mites
  • Keeping animals out of school or at least away from students with asthma
  • Remediating mold

For more about mold clean-up and control read our recent post, Post-Hurricane Sandy: Mold Control for HVAC and Facilities.

Goodway offers several products that can effectively clean up mold infestation and prevent further mold growth. Our products are not only just appropriate for use on HVAC systems, but they can also be used on non-porous surfaces like floors and walls.

The EPA provides a resource on its website to use as guide when instituting a plan to control the indoor pollutants in schools that affect asthma sufferers.

The American Lung Association’s “Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative” is another resource school administrators and other community leaders can use to address asthma management. It offers tools to help communities and schools work together to implement extensive asthma management programs.

The Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative offers an approach that follows the CDC’s Coordinated School Health model by providing resources to schools, districts, and local governments to help them improve school health programs.

Next Steps:


  • […] is somewhat out of your control. This air can lead to bouts of asthma in children. In fact, the EPA reports that asthma is the leading cause behind school absences. This is because many conditions of school’s air […]

    May 9, 2013
  • Asthma has reached epidemic proportions in the United States, affecting millions of people of all ages and races. An average of one out of every 10 school-age children now has asthma, and the percentage of children with asthma is rising more rapidly in preschool-age children than in any other age group. Asthma is a leading cause of school absenteeism due to a chronic condition, accounting for nearly 13 million missed school days per year. Asthma also accounts for many nights of interrupted sleep, limits activity and disrupts family and caregiver routines.

    May 31, 2013

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