Reducing Hay Fever With Cleaning In Education Centres

Hay fever is something that’s often mentioned, but never spoken about in depth. As a result, many of us might think it’s a rare condition, limited to only a subsection of our society.  However, the shocking truth is that 49% of people in the UK reported suffering from hay fever symptoms, which correlates to over 16 million GP visits annually, which makes it much more common than some might have believed.

Naturally, this means that hay fever affects millions of school children every year, each with varying levels of severity and symptoms. At best, it’s an annoyance, but at worst it can have an adverse effect on your child’s entire day, and regardless of whether symptoms are minor or more acute, it will have a tremendous impact on the quality of their education.

Of course, a strong education acts as a slingshot to propel your child into a bright future, but with hay fever season causing havoc every year, it’s easier said than done. That’s a key problem that our education centres must tackle, and with many schools and nurseries doing very little to address the problem, it leaves plenty of room for improvement.

In our latest article, we’ll discuss how hay fever impacts learning and how professional cleaning can reduce this detrimental effect on our children. We’ll outline how Vanguard Cleaning can help, and what methods can be taken to reduce allergens in our schools.


How Does Hay Fever Affect Learning?

Hay fever is caused by pollen, which is a chemical substance released by flowers and plants in the spring and summer. This pollen gets spread across the air from a variety of carriers, such as bees, insects, and the wind, meaning particles can and will get everywhere (including indoor areas that see a lot of foot traffic). Unfortunately, many people who are exposed to pollen will then have an allergic reaction, which results in what we know as hay fever.

According to the NHS, symptoms of hay fever include sneezing, coughing, a runny nose, itchy or watery eyes, and a whole host of other aches and sensory issues. Despite its seasonal nature, symptoms can persist for a large chunk of the year, from March all the way through to September.

This can make it difficult for children to focus on their learning – symptoms will distract them from set tasks, while taking medicine and managing the effects of hay fever can prove disruptive to the whole classroom. On top of this, 88% of children with hay fever have sleep issues, which leads to further problems with concentration throughout the day. It’s not only productivity that suffers, but also attendance and general wellbeing – with both plummeting as children struggle with the condition and avoid coming into school.


How Can Cleaning Ease The Effects Of Hay Fever?

With hay fever being so troublesome, creating a healthy environment in your school can be a challenge. Pollen, dust, and mould all collect on day-to-day furniture and fixtures, including carpets, desks, seats, sofas, windowsills, toilets, and walls, making allergic reactions extremely difficult to avoid.  As a result, cleaning will play an instrumental role in keeping your interiors allergen-free and your learning environments safe and healthy.

Check out the following ways that cleaning can clear your premises of allergens and solve the UK’s hay fever epidemic in schools:


1. Regularly Dust and Vacuum

As allergens begin to collect on surfaces, you will need to commit to regular dusting and vacuuming to remove said particles. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America recommends vacuuming once or twice per week to keep allergen levels low.

However, the type and quality of your equipment can make a big difference in terms of efficiency. Some vacuum cleaners will simply kick up dust and allergens into the air, which makes things worse than just leaving it as is. Special Asthma & Allergy Friendly vacuums are much more effective, picking up a vast majority of allergens instead of releasing them back into the air.

As for dusting, make sure to work from top to bottom to avoid spreading dust to areas you’ve already cleared. While many people prefer to use a brush or duster for this, a damp cloth might be a better choice to pick up the most particles.


2. Properly Ventilate

While it may seem counter-productive, opening your windows to keep fresh air running through your building will do much to ease your pollen problems. This is because higher concentrations of pollen in the air often means a more severe allergic reaction, and by allowing free movement of air, pollen particles can escape outside and reduce the concentration found inside. This is known as positive air pressure, which pushes those harmful allergens outside.

Other key strategies include using an air cleaning device or an air conditioning system. The latter works in the same way as opening a window, by increasing ventilation and improving airflow, but the former is a different beast altogether.

Air cleaning devices like High Efficiency Particulate Air filters (HEPAs) work by capturing dirt and allergens in the air and filtering them out. This can be highly efficient, with an NHS study on air cleaning in healthcare spaces finding HEPAs can reduce harmful particles in the air by  whopping 99%. Then there are Positive Input Ventilation systems (PIVs), which filter clean air in from the outside and displace any airborne allergens in your building.


3. Clean Air Filters

Going hand in hand with increased ventilation, it’s important to regularly clean the filters in your air conditioning units and heating systems. If not, pollen will just be recircled around your property, which will undo all of your hard work to eliminate exposure.

To reduce the presence of allergens in the air, your filters need to be changed generally around every six weeks. Requirements can vary depending on the size of your room and layout of your building, but replacing your air filters will help keep your air quality high, reducing the severity and frequency of allergic reactions.

This is something that is often overlooked, with studies finding over 80% of people failing to regularly change their air filters. If struggling with allergens in your education centre, it would be prudent to avoid making the same mistake.


4. Create Allergen-Free Areas

If managing a large school or campus, it may not be feasible to allergy-proof every room or building. In this case, when hay fever season hits, it may be useful to create designated allergen-free rooms, which would be thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis to minimize exposure.

This provides children with a safe space to work, and gives them a retreat should hay fever symptoms become too severe. Be sure to sign post these areas clearly to ensure affected children know where to go and minimize overall disruption to class.


5. Prepare For Pollen Season

Hay fever season is at its worst in the summer, but even so, levels of pollen will fluctuate across this time. Preparing for when pollen is at its highest is an important strategy to manage allergen levels and avoid severe reactions.

Upcoming pollen forecasts can easily be found from the Met Office’s handy guide, which can then inform your response, allowing you to adjust your cleaning schedule as and when needed. Make sure to take greater precautions and conduct more thorough cleaning when pollen is high.


How Vanguard Can Help With Your Hay Fever Troubles

Extensive cleaning is necessary to clear your education premises of allergens. Whether it be vacuuming or dusting your furniture, cleaning air filters, or deep cleaning a room to create an allergen-free sanctuary, the task of reducing hay fever in schools is a complex one. There are no shortage of factors involved, and with substantial foot traffic from students and teachers entering and leaving for breaks or lunchtime, there’s plenty of opportunities for pollen to spread.

Vanguard Cleaning are specialists at tending to schools and education facilities. Our staff are comprehensively trained with procedures accredited by the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc), meaning we have the expertise to deal with allergens like pollen, dust, or mould. From strict hygiene protocols to ensure the efficient cleaning of your premises, to PPE to prevent cross-contamination, rest assured that we have the capability to solve your all your hay fever difficulties.

We also offer a number of additional services to take care of all cleanliness-related problems in your education facility. These include:

Vanguard also understand that schools are sensitive areas, so all our cleaners undergo full Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) checks. This means they can be trusted to work with vulnerable individuals, ensuring they will be a safe and positive influence on our school children.

For all your cleaning needs, choose Vanguard.

To receive a FREE, no obligation quote, feel free to contact our professional team today to find out what we can do for you.