Allergies and hay fever are enough to spoil the summer for many school pupils and adult staff members throughout the Great British summer, and in some serious cases can lead to absences and even hospitalisation. Can you ever keep the scourge of hayfever at bay? In this article, we’ll look at five easy ways to encourage better school hygiene over the summer months and help reduce the misery of hayfever.
1. Encourage Students To Wash And Sanitise Their Hands After Playtime And PE
Hayfever is caused by plant pollen and harvest dust, which are easily bought into the classroom on dirty hands. An important part of managing and preventing hayfever, therefore, is to encourage all pupils to wash their hands after playing outdoors or engaging in activities that bring them into contact with pollen and other potential allergens. This is especially true if the children have been touching flowering plants, grasses and trees at certain times of the year, or have spent time on the field. Doing so will reduce the volume of pollen particles that may be present and decrease the chance of an allergic reaction.
2. Position Desks Away From Windows In The Summer
Most schools keep their classroom windows open during the summer term to keep learning areas cool and ensure a good airflow. However, this often has the unwanted effect of allowing pollen into the building. If classroom windows must be open during periods of high pollen count, therefore, it is wise to seat pupils with known hayfever and allergies away from these windows. Pollen counts tend to be highest in the morning, so taking extra precautions at this time is advised. On cold or rainy days in the summer, try to keep windows closed for periods throughout the day.
3. Provide Alternative Break Time Options For Children With Allergies
Outdoor play, social activities, and sport are important parts of the school day, and children with hayfever should still be able to participate in outdoor play during break times. However there should also be alternative indoor breakout spaces and activities available if their symptoms become too severe. Give parents the flexibility to choose whether or not their children engage in certain outdoor activities, if possible, at times when they are particularly susceptible to allergies. Indoor activities can include board games or creative activities inside the classroom, as well as indoor play and sports. Encouraging these activities allows children who cannot go outside due to their condition to still enjoy some form of recreational and social contact during play times without feeling excluded from their peers.
4. Regularly Clean The School Of Dust And Pollen
A clean environment goes a long way towards reducing allergic reactions. Vacuum regularly at least daily during the summer (preferably with a vacuum cleaner fitted with a HEPA filter) and use damp cloths when cleaning classroom surfaces to prevent allergens from being released into the air. If possible, move stuffed animals and dust-prone displays out of classrooms or at least keep them covered when not in use.
5. Encourage Antihistamine Medication
Encourage pupils who suffer from hayfever or allergies to use a daily non-sedating antihistamine before coming to school. These come in both liquid and tablet form and are widely and cheaply available over the counter at pharmacies. If necessary, speak with parents at parents evening about getting a prescription for more powerful medication, such as a corticosteroid nasal spray, which can provide relief for up to 24 hours at a time.
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