While the home environment plays a key role in kids' asthma flareups, the school environment also plays a part. Boston Children's Hospital recently visited schools directly to find out which in-school allergens are the ones responsible for the most asthma attacks in students. The researchers believe that when school administrators know the prime suspects that cause asthma symptoms, they can take steps to reduce the risks in their schools.
It's too early for researchers to claim a definite link between increased asthma flareups in school and the presence of mouse-related allergens, but there is enough evidence to suggest that a connection exists. Here's what school administrators should know about mice and asthma.
Nearly all schools have mouse allergens present
Researchers collected dust from 37 inner-city schools. They were surprised to find that despite the wide variety of asthma-related allergens present in schools, almost every sample contained mouse allergens.
Another interesting phenomenon the researchers observed is that kids in schools with the highest levels of mouse allergens also had asthma symptoms at school more often. Kids exposed to dust containing the most mouse allergens suffered from symptoms at school four days a week; those kids at the lowest level of mouse-allergen exposure suffered attacks three days per week during the same period.
You need a comprehensive school-wide approach to eliminate mice
To eliminate mice from the school environment, assemble a team to inspect your school from top to bottom. There are many areas in the school environment where administrators may not focus on mouse control, yet these areas could be your school's biggest mouse hangouts. Some of these areas include:
- Student lockers
- Gyms and changing rooms
- Classroom desks and cabinets
- Athletic fields and landscaping
- School buses
Additional areas where mice enter and live in your facility include conduits and openings for pipes and other infrastructure. A qualified mice-control professional knows how to find evidence of mice in these hard-to reach areas and will help you determine the vulnerable places in your school where cracks and holes must be sealed. Pest-control professionals will also advise you about specific bait and trap methods that are safe and approved for school settings.
Moving dumpsters and trash bins away from the school building, restricting students' and staff's eating to certain areas, and being vigilant about setting and checking your school-safe mouse baits and traps are some of the easy solutions to get your school's mouse-control program under way. If the research is correct, these steps will help your students with asthma stay healthier in the classroom.
Effective pest control is more than a facility-management responsibility. It's an investment in education, since students and teachers have more time for studying and learning when all kids are symptom free. Talk to a company such as A-Alert Exterminating Service Inc to learn more.