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October is Healthy Lung Month

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) testing can identify asthma and allergen triggers. The results of such testing can help to develop a plan to reduce triggers, asthma attacks and ultimately lower facility operating costs.

Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases that afflicts children. Attacks can be debilitating enough to affect student performance and attendance. While there is no cure for asthma, there are ways to medically treat the symptoms and there are recommendations to identify and reduce agents that act as asthma triggers.

A 2015 study on the association of cognitive function scores and the indoor environment published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that occupants exposed to less volatile organic compounds (VOCs) had increased cognitive function performance.

According the Florida Department of Education student absenteeism costs the state $228,557,676 per year. Florida schools can lose at least $1020 per chronically absent student. Asthma related absence certainly contributes to these numbers.

Getting started with an IAQ plan to identify and reduce asthma triggers

Both the CDC’s National Asthma Control Program (NACP) and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommend a having a plan for improves IAQ and asthma/allergen trigger reduction. The first step in developing an IAQ plan is to identify and quantify the asthma triggers that are present in a facility. Recognizing that people with asthma might react to just one asthma trigger or sometimes multiple triggers.

Common Asthma Triggers Found in Schools
• Mold
• Pollen
• Dust
• Dust Mites
• VOCs

Do-it-yourself IAQ Test Kits are an easy way to begin looking for asthma triggers lurking in the facility. Building Health Check, LLC, provides a variety of specific IAQ Screen Check kits to meet this initial inquiry. In fact, there are IAQ Screen Check kits for Mold, Allergens, and Dust Mites. These testing kits are simple to use. Just follow the instructions to to collect the samples, fill out the chain of custody and mail into the lab. The samples will be analyzed and a report issued. The report will determine a if the trigger is present and give a basic summation of how much or little there is of it in the area sampled. Should the results indicate there is elevated levels of a certain trigger, then the next step would involve a professional assessment.

Once the building and HVAC system has been professionally tested, the detailed data can then be used to recommend various methods to strategically remove/reduce any asthma triggers that were found. These methods can include Hygienic HVAC System/Duct Cleaning, Mold Remediation, and hard products like Professional Air Purifiers, to name a few solutions.

Finally, repetition of these two steps, testing and remediation, on a regular basis is what really creates a proactive Indoor Air Quality management plan. The result is healthier and higher performing students, staff and buildings.

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