Cleaning Chemicals in the Classroom
Has your child ever said, "I think I am allergic to school"? You probably chuckled a little and said "Okay honey, whatever you say"; however, there is a chance that your child is actually allergic to school. If you child continually feels ill at school, don't merely discount it as just another reason to take the day off.
Each year, your child moves into a new classroom, which is a new environment, containing new irritants and allergens. As you know, new environments present allergens that cause a new set of symptoms, or at the very least familiar symptoms, like runny nose, eye irritation, headaches, sneezing, and nasal congestion. Along with the common symptoms, your child can become irritable, exhausted, and experience trouble concentrating.
Most Common Known Allergens
Most common known allergens found in the school classroom are those we usually can see. For instance:
- Chalkboard dust
- Common dust
- Dander and bedding from the classroom pet
- Pollen from open windows
As parents, we do our best to make our home clean and allergy free for our child, but we have little control in the classroom environment. So, is there anything we can do? Of course there is, but we need to think like investigators. Paying attention to allergen triggers and asking questions, carefully evaluating by sight and smells what could be causing our child's allergy symptoms to react. Most importantly, always anticipate that new allergens will be present in the classroom, and teach your child to identify allergen triggers and how to avoid them.
The most difficult allergen trigger to identify is cleaning chemicals in the classroom. For example: Art class. After finger painting, tables are sprayed with cleaner and the children wipe down the tables. After continual exposure to cleaning chemicals in the bathrooms, classrooms, art room, and gym your child comes home feeling ill. Eyes are swollen, wheezing has started, exhaustion has set in, but we cannot identify why. The everyday cleaning chemicals our children are exposed to are made of clorox, ammonia, and some even contain pesticides. Here are a few tips for reducing your child's allergy attacks in the classroom environment, for a healthy and allergy free school year:
- Inspect the classroom and environments where you child will spend their time at school. Identify the allergy triggers that make it difficult for your child to be healthy and allergy free.
- Communicate your child's allergy condition to the teacher(s), school nurse, principle, and lunchroom aids. Be supportive, and offer ideas for reducing allergen triggers in the classroom
- Build your child's immune system to fight of allergen triggers. Provide your child with a natural supplement that will support a healthy immune system.
Photo Credit: Chez Larsson