Springtime At School

Springtime Is Here: Teachers, Are You Ready?

The cold, dreary weather is just a memory and springtime is finally here; the grass is green, the flowers and trees are in full bloom and your students are so happy to go outside and enjoy the wonderful Florida weather at recess…but wait, is there a danger lurking out there?

Springtime brings a plethora of tree and grass pollens, which are typically small and light, enabling them to be airborne for long periods.  Airborne particles (triggers) are easily inhaled, causing irritation to the upper and lower respiratory tracts.  Exposure to these triggers increases the likelihood that an asthmatic student could have an asthma attack at school.

Pollen counts are highest in the morning and evening hours, the counts are affected by the local weather conditions: lower on rainy days and higher on hot humid days.  Most pollen sensitive individuals start having symptoms when pollen counts are greater that 50-grain/ m3 (check Jacksonville’s pollen count).  Be aware that tree pollens peak in April and May, while grass pollens are highest from May through August.  Weed pollens are at their highest in the fall months.

Grass is the largest contributor of pollen; it is everywhere and because it has cross reactivity, if you are allergic to one type of grass you are probably allergic to all grasses!  Bermuda grass is the exception and does not show this cross reactivity with other grasses.

If you are a teacher with an asthmatic student(s) then you must be aware of the triggers that are lingering outdoors at recess.  Fresh cut grass, blooming trees and flowers are all potential triggers that may compromise the health of your student(s).  The tips below will help you manage asthma flare-ups and ensure you are doing everything possible to make springtime fun and safe for your students!

Seasonal Asthma Tips:

• Know which students in your class have asthma!

• Have access and be familiar with your student’s written action plans – be prepared to put it into action!

• Know asthma warning signs:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain/tightness
  • Rapid breathing

• Know the outdoor air quality by checking:

http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_city&cityid=7

Also, check pollen counts:

http://www.weather.com/outlook/health/allergies/weather/USFL0228

• Keeping children inside during high pollen counts and orange or red zone days.

• Be prepared to respond to asthma related emergencies.

• Never leave a child alone during an asthma attack.

• Call 911 in the event of an emergency.

Click here for additional classroom tips

Click here for additional tips for managing an asthma attack

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