Hazelwood Schools, St. Louis County Have Tips for Asthma Awareness Month

May is Asthma Awareness Month. A health education coordinator with the St. Louis County Health department set up a table and took questions from students and staff as part of a Mini Asthma Health Fair May 8 at Townsend Elementary School.

“What we’ve found is that education and compliance are the best weapons to help children control asthma symptoms,” said Tammi Holmes, health education coordinator with the St. Louis County Health department. “Many times, students will rely on the rescue inhalers for relief but prevention and control are the best ways to keep asthma in check.”

News reports indicate increased levels of pollen and other allergens in the air this spring. For many students, these allergens can possibly trigger severe asthma symptoms.

“One of the main reasons students miss school is due to asthma-related symptoms,” said Crystal Nelson, Director of Health Services with the Hazelwood School District. “This is a great opportunity to provide additional information on prevention and other resources to help parents treat students’ symptoms.”

The County Health department is providing pamphlets, kid-friendly coloring books and other informational materials to students and staff. The Health Department will also provide information during a family event at Jury Elementary on May 22.

HSD Health Services recommends the following tips from kidshealth.org to help create an asthma-free home:

Improving Indoor Air

·   Avoid irritants such as tobacco or wood smoke, perfumes, aerosol sprays, cleaning products, and fumes from paint or cooking gas can trigger flare-ups

·   If you must open windows on days when the pollen count is high, do so after midmorning because counts are usually highest from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. If air quality is the problem, open doors and windows early, before pollution has a chance to build up.

Reduce dust mites:

·   Vacuum and dust your home (especially your child’s room) often — at least once a week. Use a special small-pore filter bag on your vacuum or buy a vacuum with a HEPA filter. When you dust, use a damp cloth to avoid spreading dust mite particles in the air.

·   Avoid feather or down pillows or comforters; choose bedding made with synthetic materials instead.

·   Every few weeks, wash all of your child’s bedding in hot water (greater than 130° F or 54.4° C) and then dry it on a high setting.

·   Cover mattresses, pillows, and box springs with mite-proof covers (available from retailers who specialize in hypoallergenic products). Also, be sure to regularly wipe down the covers.

·   Remove any carpeting, especially wall-to-wall carpeting, from your child’s room and other spaces where he or she spends a lot of time.

To reduce moisture and mold:

·   Fix leaky pipes, faucets, or roofs. Clean and repair roof gutters regularly.

·   Make sure your bathrooms and basement are well ventilated. Install and use exhaust fans to help lower moisture in these areas.

·   Keep pets outside. If you can’t, at least keep them out of your child’s bedroom and playroom.

·   Wash and brush your pet every week.

·   Make sure your child doesn’t play with or touch your pet and keep him or her away from the litter box if you have a cat.

·   Wash your hands after touching your pet

·   If you have any damp closets, clean them thoroughly and leave a 100-watt bulb on all the time to increase the temperature and dry out the air

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