Environmental Allergens - Triggers for Pediatric Asthma

Stuart L. Abramson, Anne Turner-Henson, Lise Anderson, Mary P. Hemstreet, Shenghui Tang, Kay Bartholomew, Christine L.M. Joseph, Shellie Tyrrell, Noreen M. Clark, Dennis Ownby

Categories: Schools, Health & Hygiene
Tagged: Asthma


Environmental allergens are major triggers for pediatric asthma. While children’s greatest exposure to indoor allergens is in the home, other public places where children spend a large amount of time, such as school and day care centers, may also be sources of significant allergen encounters. The purpose of this article is to describe schoolroom allergen levels from 3 different geographic sites obtained from dust samples collected in the fall and in spring. Environmental dust samples were collected from elementary schools in Birmingham (AL), Detroit (MI), and Houston (TX), from 4 room locations, including the cafeteria, library, upper grades, and lower grades. Samples were assayed for dust mite (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and Dermatophagoides farinae), cat (Felis domesticus), and cockroach (Blatella germanica 2) allergen levels. Allergen levels varied by geographic location and type of schoolroom. Schoolroom settings differed by the type of flooring (hard and carpet), room characteristics and use (food service, library shelves with books, and general classroom with multiple types of materials [individual desks and different types of furniture]), and the average age of the schoolroom dwellers (younger vs. older children). Dust mite, cat, and cockroach allergens were present in all schoolrooms and all sites at varying levels by season and by type of room. Schools may be important sources of direct allergen exposure and reservoirs that could potentially contribute to allergic sensitization and disease exacerbation in children. Further studies are needed to carefully examine the environmental allergen load in schools and its effect on children. (J Sch Health. 2006;76(6):246-249)


Stuart L. Abramson, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Immunology ([email protected]), Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77037, and Texas Children's Hospital, 6621 Fannin St, Suite FC330.01, Houston, TX 77030

Anne Turner-Henson, DSN, RN, Professor ([email protected]), UAB School of Nursing, 1530 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35294

Lise Anderson, MPH, Project Associate ([email protected]), Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan School of Public Health, L4000 Womens 0276, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Mary P. Hemstreet, MD, Professor Emeritus ([email protected]), and Shenghui Tang, PhD, Research Associate ([email protected]), UAB School of Medicine, 1530 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35294.

Kay Bartholomew, EdD, MPH, Associate Professor ([email protected]), School of Public Health, University of Texas at Houston, 7000 Fannin, Houston, TX 77030

Christine L.M. Joseph, PhD, Senior Epidemiologist ([email protected]), Department of Epidemiology and Research Biostatistics, Henry Ford Health System, 1 Ford Place Suite 3E, Detroit, MI 48202

Shellie Tyrrell, MSW, MPH, Health Behavior Research Consultant ([email protected]), formerly at University of Texas at Houston School of Public Health, 228 Alta Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84103

Noreen M. Clark, PhD, Professor ([email protected]), University of Michigan School of Public Health, SPH Dean’s Office, 3520 SPH I 2029, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Dennis Ownby, MD, Professor ([email protected]), Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine, Section of Allergy, BG 1019, 1120 15th Street, Augusta, GA 30912, Texas Children's Hospital, 6621 Fannin St Suite FC330.01, Houston, TX 77030.

This study was supported by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Interventions to Improve Asthma Management/Intervention, W. C. Bailey PI (HR56077), N.M.C. PI (HR56078) and L.K.B. PI (HR56079).

DOI: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2006.00105.x


Journal of School Health
Volume 76, Issue 6, pages 246–249, August 2006


Environmental Allergens - Triggers for Pediatric Asthma:  Created on July 14th, 2012.  Last Modified on August 7th, 2012


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