Component 2: Environment
Allergies, Irritants, and Infection = Inflammation within the airway
Evidence continues to strengthen that reducing exposure to inhalant indoor allergens can improve asthma control and that a multifaceted approach is required; single steps to reduce exposure are generally ineffective. The cumulative effect of asthma triggers directly affects the level of asthma control and symptom development by reaching the asthmatic’s symptom threshold. If you have asthma, other things can also contribute to reaching your symptom threshold and trigger an asthma attack, including a cold, respiratory infection, or irritants (smoke, fragrances, or pollution).
Individuals who have asthma, exposure to these triggers (irritants or allergens) in which they are sensitive, can increase symptoms and precipitate exacerbations. Effective asthma management is to reduce exposure to these triggers:
- Inhaled Allergies: pollens, molds, dust, animal dander, cockroach
- Irritants: tobacco smoke, exhaust, strong odors, perfumes/ fragrances, chemicals, ozone, weather changes
- Parent Information on Vaping
- What are your asthma triggers? (graphic)
- What are your asthma triggers? (Spanish)
- Childrens Environmental Health Network's Asthma Triggers ebook
- Infection: colds, viruses, flu.
- Co-morbid conditions: sinusitis, rhinitis, gastric reflux, obesity, & sleep apnea; can make asthma more difficult to control.
Infections + Invisible particles + Irritant gases = Inflammation process in many human organs
People spend 90% of their day indoors. NEISD strives to achieve asthma friendly learning environments to reduce exposure during the school day. Parents can do their part in their home environment. Monitoring of Indoor Environment athome/school/work can make this a coordinated effort to address the child’s indoor environment.
- Infectious Microbes:
- Cold/Flu Virus TransmissionPaths in the classroom. Many bacterial and viral respiratory tract infections are associated with the majority of asthma exacerbations and illnesses in both children/adults.
NEISD Best Practice: Non-alcohol microbial hand wipes/foams to reduce transmission andcustodial training.
- Invisible Particles:
- Highaerosols levels in the classroom due to high occupancy level and all occupants bringing in particles from home environment. Airborne particles have the potential tocauseallergic reactions, skin irritation, coughing, sneezing, respiratory difficulties and circulatory system problems.
NEISD Best Practice: Measurement of particles in occupied spaces, upgraded filtrations devices increased ventilation, and educational tools for behavior modification of staff/students.
- Irritant Gases:
- Total volatile organic compounds (TVOC), formaldehyde, body odors, and biological contaminantsare causes for occupant discomfort and poor health outcomes.
NEISD Best Practice: Green-cleaning products used district wide to reduce chemical emissions,removal of fragranced products that emit chemicals, smoke free environment, integrated pestmanagement, anti idling policy & programs,gasphase air filters, as well as outdoor Air Quality Indexmonitoring.
Additional Asthma Resources
- Santitizers vs Disinfectants—what's the best for children
- Exercise is important to maintain basic health and it is important for those with asthma to be active. Resources listed below allow those with asthma to be active outdoors, safely.
- South Texas Environmeant Education Research (UT Health Science Center) Allergen Attack Comic Book on Enviromental Triggers Spanish version
The Environmental Protection Agency has recognized NEISD for our efforts in promoting healthy learning environments.