Reducing asthma triggers in the classroom

By Amy Henderson on 2013-05-07

As a teacher, Heather Crysdale knows that asking for help is important. That’s why she sought out The Lung Association’s help to learn how to manage her asthma better.

Heather worked with Rosario Holmes, a certified asthma educator with The Lung Association in Ottawa, to learn more about her asthma medications and how to use her inhalers appropriately.

Rosario explained to Heather about how to use a spacer with her metered dose inhaler to improve the delivery of the medication. Rosario also taught Heather how to keep her inhalers clean and sanitary.

“As a teacher of young children, I have since gone on to pass these same lessons about inhaler use and cleanliness to the students in my class who have asthma and to their parents,” explains Heather.

Rosario also discussed ways to make Heather’s home and work environments more asthma friendly. “After my visit, for example, I purchased new bedding to reduce the dust levels in my bedroom. In my classroom, I was able to reduce the levels of dust significantly, by purchasing large plastic bins with lids to contain my classroom teaching books and supplies. Instead of using chalk boards and chalk, the students and I now use dry erase boards and low-odour dry erase markers,” says Heather.

“I am happy to say that I have been symptom free for quite some time now. During the 2012-2013 school year, I didn’t take a single sick day and my asthma has been very well controlled.”

Here are some other tips to make classrooms more asthma-friendly:

• Encourage frequent hand washing to prevent the spread of viral infections.

• Use scent-free markers, non-toxic cleaning products and dust-free chalk.

• Ask other staff, students and volunteers to refrain from using scented products.

• If possible, schedule building repairs and cleaning when students and staff are

less likely to be exposed.

• Ensure that students, staff and visitors do not smoke on school property.


To learn more on how to manage your asthma, visit

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Page Last Updated: 22/08/2018