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School Allergens Worsening Asthma?

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Asthma is the leading cause of chronic illness in children and the #1 reason children miss school. As a parent, you do your best to monitor what your child breathes in at home, but what about at school? A new study published in JAMA Pediatrics researched nearly 300 children with asthma in the northeastern United States.
The study took classroom samples where cat and dog dander were found in common quantities. The most common allergens found at home, like cockroach and dust, were nearly undetectable. However, the most substantial allergen found was mice! It was detected in 99.5% of the school samples, which is higher than in homes. The study indicated that the worse the exposure to the mouse allergen the lower the lung function.

With 1 in 10 affected by asthma, this study begs the question, should schools be evaluated and tested for allergens? If at home you have removed all offending allergens by removing carpet, getting rid of the family dog, encasing all bedding, how can you monitor what your child is inhaling at school? Researchers state this study is a needed “first step” in determining “the effects of children’s exposure to allergens in schools and said they hoped it would pave the way for future work on this issue,” per The Washington Post.

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