Vacuuming to Fight Allergens: A Foundation of Effective School Cleaning

 Brad Hoare — Senior Product Manager with Sanitaire

To provide a clean environment for the 53 million children and 6 million adults in the U.S. who spend much of their days inside schools[i], you need to keep indoor allergens at bay. Allergens are a top culprit in reducing indoor air quality, triggering allergy and asthma symptoms and decreasing student and staff health, wellness, attendance and performance. Improving indoor air quality is unrealistic without a focus on vacuuming to reduce the number of allergens — which can be far higher in schools than in the home[ii]. To deliver an excellent school environment for learning and working by combatting allergens, keep these considerations in mind.

 

Indoor allergens can rise from the surface, reducing air quality.

Even if a classroom appears spotless, there may be nefarious pollutants lurking on the surface. Dust mites and other common indoor allergens tend to gather in far higher numbers in carpeted areas of school environments[iii]. In fact, a study[iv] concluded that school floors contained the highest concentrations of allergens in buildings — and supported that carpets are even more susceptible than smooth floors. Additionally, outdoor allergens, like pollen and mold[v], and a large number of pet allergens brought in on students’ clothing[vi], can settle onto floors and furniture.

Once these high-levels of allergens settle on surfaces, they’re prone to rise into the air, where they wreak havoc on those with allergies and asthma.

 

Poor indoor air quality is detrimental to students and staff. 

Poor indoor air quality in schools can increase short- and long-term health problems, reduce comfort and performance among students and teachers, and can even build tension between administrators, staff and parents[vii]. Absenteeism is also a significant concern — allergy and asthma symptoms lead to more than 16 million absences in the U.S. per year, with asthma as the number one cause overall[viii]. This fact is hardly surprising, as symptoms from allergens in the air include sneezing, sinus issues, ear congestion, shortness of breath, wheezing and headaches, among others[ix].

For the more than 25 million Americans[x], including 9 million children[xi], suffering from asthma, symptoms caused by allergens can be more severe and far-reaching, sometimes requiring emergency medical attention. However, if students’ asthma symptoms are managed — such as through the reduction of risk factors — they can maximize performance, and increase attendance and participation[xii].

 

Use a CERTIFIED vacuum for the best results.

Allergy Standards Limited (ASL) recommends that vacuuming, among other steps, should be prioritized to help contain and reduce the level of indoor allergen and improve air quality. It’s essential to make sure to use the correct, thorough technique. Frequently use slow, repeated passes — a minimum of twice-daily for high-traffic areas. Walk-off mats should receive special attention; vacuum them at least once a day and have them professionally cleaned every few days.

The Sanitaire® EON™ ALLERGEN Commercial Upright Vacuum (SC5505A) is the ultimate choice for improving indoor air quality, as it’s the first commercial upright vacuum cleaner to earn asthma & allergy friendly Certification from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and ASL. 

The EON ALLERGEN is backed by the highest level of Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI) certification — the CRI Gold Seal of Approval, and its sealed HEPA system successfully captures particles at a 99.97% rate. This dynamic upright also allows for quiet day-cleaning at 68 dBA to help schools keep energy costs down, students and teachers happy, and LEED certifications maintained.

To learn more about how to reduce allergens for improved air quality, or to request a quote for orders of the EON ALLERGEN, please visit www.sanitairecommercial.com.

____________________________

[i]   Dunn, A.D. “Healthier Schools through Integrated Pest Management.” United States Environmental Protection Agency

[ii] Salo PM, Sever ML, Zeldin DC. “Indoor allergens in school and day care environments.” J Allergy Clin Immunol.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] “Cleaning, Indoor Environmental Quality and Health: A Review of the Scientific Literature.” Minnesota Department of Health, August 2008

[v] Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA)

[vi] Patchett K, Lewis S, Crane J, Fitzharris “Cat allergen (Fel d 1) levels on school children's clothing and in primary school classrooms in Wellington, New Zealand.” PJ Allergy Clin Immunol

[vii] “Indoor Air Quality Backgrounder: The Basics.” United States Environmental Protection Agency

[viii] Salo PM, Sever ML, Zeldin DC. “Indoor allergens in school and day care environments.” J Allergy Clin Immunol.

[ix] “Seasonal Allergies: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment.” Healthline

[x] United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

[xi] “Managing Asthma — A Guide for Schools.” National Asthma Education and Prevention Program

[xii] Ibid.

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