Community Based Programs: Arts, Crafts, Clubs

This section is to help those supervising arts, crafts, and clubs (that are non-physical activity based) better understand asthma triggers and strategies to support safe and successful participation.   


There are several substances or sources of exposures that may occur during activities that can trigger asthma symptoms. These include:

  • Irritants from art supplies such as strong fumes or odours from paints, ink, varnish, markers, adhesives, glues, etc.
  • Science clubs that use chemicals can present potential exposures to irritants
  • Woodworking often presents challenges for those with asthma as they may be allergic to a variety of trees, and inhalation of tree shavings and dust is extremely problematic
    • In this case, a fit-tested appropriate respirator is recommended, but the best approach is not to perform this type of activity if they are allergic to trees

Strategies to Support Participation

The following strategies can help children and youth with asthma participate in arts, crafts and other clubs. 


The adults leading these programs need to know which participants have asthma and how to manage and prevent asthma flare-ups or worsening asthma symptoms, as well as any environmental triggers.  

In general, the best way to manage asthma and its triggers is to:

  • avoid exposing children/youth to their triggers
  • inform parent(s)/guardian(s) and child/youth (if age-appropriate) when you know an activity will involve exposure to a trigger and discuss strategies to avoid the triggers
  • plan alternative activity that everyone can participate in
  • inform parent(s)/guardian(s) and child/youth (if age-appropriate) when you identify that the child's/youth’s asthma is being consistently triggered by an exposure   

It is important to remember that new asthma triggers are often identified, and exposures previously tolerated may produce a new trigger for asthma. 

Activity Strategies

An exposure to a trigger can cause a significant worsening of asthma, that can require increased use of medication for weeks to months. 

If a participant thinks that there is something in the environment triggering their asthma, this should be taken seriously and the participant should be removed from the exposure.  

Good ventilation is key to maintaining good indoor air quality for these types of programs.