How Children Can Breathe Easy in Schools
Roughly 50% of schools have poor air quality indoors, which directly contributes to students’ health problems.TR Ganesh, General Manager, Blueair Middle East, provides some top tips for parents and school authorities alike

As students around the country return to schools, they’re coming back home with the usual problems. No, not complete full lunchboxes or torn uniforms, but headaches, sniffles, coughs and respiratory infections, and general complaints of tiredness. Besides dealing with these issues, it’s worth noting that they are symptoms of a wider issue: school’s air quality.

Many people are not aware of how bad indoor air can be in classrooms. Consider this: about 50% of all schools have inferior indoor air quality, using US data. Students typically spend about 940 hours in college per year, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency, when they can be subjected to pollutants in the form of small particles. These findings are a point of concern for many parents and educators alike – and rightly so.

A growing body of research shows that indoor air quality has a direct impact on student health and performance. With cleaner air, students concentrate better and receive higher grades. With children less likely to become sick, absenteeism is decreased. Improving indoor air quality not only produces a healthier learning atmosphere – it also has a beneficial effect on student attention spans and academic performance. Air quality in classrooms and other school public areas therefore becomes a top priority. Here are 10 ways in which parents and students can work with school officials to promote better air quality indoors:

Ensure good ventilation
Adequate ventilation can bring substantial health advantages. Make sure that the ventilation system works well and filter replacement and cleaning takes place on a periodic basis.

Open a window
Indoor air can pollute up to five times as much as outdoor air. The WHO estimates that improved natural ventilation reduces up to 20 percent of lung-related diseases. Therefore, it makes sense to open windows as the weather cools–or even on summer evenings for a brief while. Simple alternatives are sometimes the most efficient.

Reduce the use of carpets
Reduce or remove carpets in public areas and around the school because they trap harmful particles and allergens including bacteria, mould, and pollen and dust mites.

Vacuum frequently
Regular vacuuming and frequent textile washing guarantees that dust and allergens are removed before they can build up, eliminating potential hay fever and asthma problems.

Avoid unnecessary chemicals
Strong solutions for careful cleaning are tempting to achieve – but they are often filled with harmful chemicals. Instead, use natural products for cleaning.

Avoid harmful gases
Over the holidays, schools are frequently painted and renovated so that in such cases the interiors are well ventilated. In addition, ensure that construction materials, paints, and soaps do not contain formaldehyde, phthalates, or triclosan.

Bring the outdoors in
Minor plant investment is an outstanding way of promoting general health. The green plants such as English ivy and peace lilies are the best way to eliminate airborne pollutants recommended by NASA.

Avoid plastics
The impact of atmospheric micro plastics has recently been flagged by scientists. Therefore, it makes sense to avoid plastic materials within the school, as these can release tiny plastic particles that children inhale.

Use an air purifier
The high-performance air purifiers in the classroom are a small but easy step to take. Choose an air purifier to remove dust, bacteria, virus or other common air pollutants by selecting one rated at 99.97%.

Implement car-free areas
Parents may be pardoned to wait as near the school portals as possible in a hot country, such as the UAE. If they are simply asked to stop driving their cars while waiting, however, air pollution in the area can be reduced by much.

In order to make a bright future for their child, every parent wants to do everything possible to keep their child happy and healthy. While parents are able to monitor indoor air quality at home, enhancing the air they breathe in school can help a child succeed during the school year, and creating a healthy and convenient environment constitutes an investment in a child's future.

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