Hot and stuffy – that’s what comes to mind when returning to school classrooms after the summer break.

After being locked up for months while everyone was hitting the beach, classrooms gather a build-up of dust, dirt and condensation which can pose allergy risks when returning.

Return-to-school asthma flare ups are well-documented both in New Zealand and overseas.

Research shows that asthma hospitalisations for New Zealand children peak in the early weeks of each term, with the greatest peak occurring in weeks three and four of term one.

The rate of hospitalisations at this time of year is greater than during winter months for children under 14 years.

To help you prepare your classroom for the start of Term 1, we’ve put together some tips on cleaning, airing-out, and supporting the students in your classroom.

School classroom Term 1 tips

• Vacuum all floors (carpet, tiles, wood or vinyl) and mop where necessary

• Vacuum entry mats dust/dirt before bringing them inside

• Wash walls and windows to eliminate a year’s worth of dirt, dust, and allergens

• Wipe down lockers and cubbies

• Once cleaning is completed, air out the classroom by opening windows - even just a 10-minute blast to flush out pollutants will make a big difference

• If you live in an area with a lot of outdoor air pollution, make use of a ventilation system or an air purifier with a HEPA filter

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