Helping Students With Seasonal Allergies

Spring allergies are the worst! Not only can they make you sneeze and itch, but they can really make you feel crummy! This time of year can be hard for students who suffer from seasonal allergies. The weather is finally warming up and everyone is excited to play outside during recess. But if you come back inside and your students are sneezing, running to the tissue box, and rubbing their eyes--are they really learning? Here are some tips to help your students who suffer from seasonal allergies.

1. Keep your classroom windows closed
It can be really tempting to let that nice spring breeze into your classroom, but it can reek havoc on your students' sinuses! Pollen gets on everything! Keep your windows closed during this time of year!

2. Take a classroom trip to the bathroom after recess
Have everyone wash their hands, and even up their arms. I know this can be a bit time consuming, but it is really worth it. Would you rather your students spend the next hour getting up for tissue, rubbing their eyes, or being miserable? They aren't learning if they are suffering. If necessary, bring them in a few minutes early to ensure there is time for everyone to use the bathroom. If you are not allowed to do classroom bathroom breaks, consider asking your administrator for special permission. Explain that your students suffer after recess due to allergies, and you think being able to stop a the bathroom to clean up will help them.

3. Teach students to wash their face
Encourage your students to get a wet paper towel and wipe down their entire face after time outside. Forehead, cheeks, nose, mouth, chin, and even the neck!

4. Remind students not to rub their eyes
Sometimes they do this without even realizing it and it usually just makes matters worse! Any pollen from their hand gets into their eyes. Their eyes turn red and even become sore from the rubbing.

5. Let students get water
Take your students to the water fountain and let them get a long chance to get water. This can help rise pollen from their mouth and throat.

6. Leave jacket inside
Does your student have a jacket that they wear in the classroom when the air conditioning makes them feel cold? Don't bring it outside! It will become full of pollen and chances are, the student will be wearing the exact same jacket in class tomorrow.

7. Don't go outside in the morning
Pollen counts are the highest between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. Try to avoid having morning recess. If that is your scheduled time, talk to your administrator about adjusting it during the Spring. Keep in mind that dry, windy days usually have the highest pollen counts. Consider taking your students to the gym if you have open gym time. Or, do Go Noodle in the classroom. Sometimes its best to stay inside.

8. Wash surfaces in your classroom regularly
You can give your students a baby wipe at the end of the day and have them wipe down any surfaces in the classroom. Students are tracking pollen in all day, and a quick wipe down can really help. I would usually give students a wipe during our dismissal time and they would wipe off their desks, their chairs, and their backpack area.

9. Don't forget inhalers
Your students who suffer from asthma might have major difficulty with spring allergies. Be sure to bring their inhalers with you when you are outside. Even if you are not outside for recess.

10. Talk to the parents
If students have a pair of sunglasses at home, encourage parents to send them. This can act as a bit of protection over their eyes. If the situation is very bad, explain to parents how their child is suffering during the day. Encourage nightly baths, and regularly washing their jackets and sheets. If you don't feel comfortable having this conversation, you can ask your school nurse to give them a call. You can also send this free letter home! (You can even edit it to make it work for your classroom! Just make sure you save a copy to your computer before you attempt to edit it.)

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