Allergic To School? Classroom Furniture May Be The Source

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This article is courtesy of the Baylor College of Medicine….please share your thoughts below…..

schoolbusIf your child claims to be allergic to school, there might be something to it. According to an expert at Baylor College of Medicine, allergic reactions may be caused by what students sit on.

“Sometimes we see children come in with rashes on the back of their thighs, and we typically find out that they’re allergic to something that they’re sitting on,” said Dr. Rajani Katta, professor of dermatology at Baylor. “We call this school girl or school child dermatitis because it is often caused by the nickel in bolts on chairs at school.”

If someone is allergic to nickel and wears shorts or a skirt while sitting in this type of chair for prolonged periods of times, a red patchy rash may appear. In severe cases blisters may form.

Sweat pulls more nickel out of an object, which also can cause a bigger reaction, she said.

“These reactions are a delayed allergy, which means a rash might not appear until two or three days after exposure,” Katta said. “The rash tends to be worse in areas where nickel is in closer contact with the skin and for longer periods of time.”

Besides nickel reactions, patchy rashes may also appear on children allergic to chemicals in leather furniture, she said.

Dermatologists can treat both reactions with prescription creams that cut down on the inflammation in the skin.

Exercise In The Classroom Gets An A+

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By Betsy Dru Tecco

girlhulaMy youngest daughter is finishing up 7th grade, her first school year without recess. Her gym class is scheduled twice in a six-day rotation. She takes a bus to school and in foul weather gets driven to the bus stop. Most of her seven-hour school day is spent sitting at a desk. It reminds me a lot of the typical workday for millions of Americans who drive to an office and sit at a desk for most of the time. Our society is largely set up to support sedentary living – unless we take action.

One way we can help children get more exercise is by incorporating movement into the classroom setting. Doing so would not only provide fitness benefits but other benefits as well. In his book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, John J. Ratey, MD, an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, describes how brain chemicals released during exercise, including serotonin and dopamine, makes the brain more alert and ready to learn. Dr. Ratey asserts that exercise helps improve everything from the feelings of stress and anxiety to academic achievement.

boyjumpingropeFor several years I visited elementary schools to make a presentation I called Get Up and Go! During the assembly, I sought to educate and motivate children from Kindergarten through fourth grade about the three primary things they need for energy: nutrition, sleep, and exercise. I also had them stand up and do some fun physical activities with me, including exercises that could easily be done in the classroom on a daily basis. Even the teachers stood up and participated in the activities. Together we got our hearts pumping harder, our muscles flexing, and our bodies stretching for greater flexibility. For the stretches at the end I played soft music and included deep breathing exercises to aid in stress relief and a sense of calm. It always seemed to me, as the students filed out of the auditorium to return to their classrooms, that they were more invigorated and relaxed than at the start of my assembly. I hoped the experience would translate into a better school day overall, for everyone.

So if you want to encourage your child’s school to promote physical activity in the classroom, here are some great online resources to get started:

Instant Recess
Brain Breaks
Let’s Move
JAM School Program
Crossfit Kids

– Betsy Dru Tecco is a freelance writer who has written extensively about health & fitness. Her book, Food for Fuel (Rosen Publishing Group), teaches kids about the connection between food and physical activity. Visit her website at