Common Allergies at Work and How to Deal with Them

Getting Allergies at Work
A human body can easily be susceptible to allergic triggers so you have to ensure that your workplace is safe for your employees and customers.

As one of the leading chronic diseases in the world, allergies continue to affect everyone. In the US alone, it is estimated that around 50 million people are dealing with allergies. If you’re a grown adult and are working in an office, it is especially difficult to deal with them. Itchy eyes, runny nose, and difficulty in breathing are just some of the things you would have to experience when it is triggered. But here’s the thing, it’s not something you should just shrug off. 

Before we dive into the topic of ways to avoid allergies, let’s first tackle the impact of allergies at work and the top 10 agents that could trigger an allergic reaction. 

Impact of Allergies at work

Dust mites, mold, and pollen are some of the common invisible allergy triggers in the workplace. As most offices are closed buildings, these allergens can get trapped inside. The trapping of these allergens may cause an allergic reaction to some of the employees in the building. 

Having employees experience an allergic reaction may have a negative effect on your business. We have listed some of the effects of allergies at work.

1. Focus

Allergy symptoms may include runny nose and watery eyes. Dealing with these will be difficult how much more if you experience them while working? Do you think you can still focus?

2. Less productive

As your employees get more distracted and some may even be absent due to these allergic reactions, your productivity level will go down. Not much will be done with only a few employees working at their best condition. 

3. Motivation

Employees will be grateful to you if they know you take care of them. If your employees are always getting sick in your office, isn’t it time to evaluate the place?   

10 Agents That Can Trigger An Allergic Reaction 

Here are ten agents present in an office that could trigger an allergic reaction. 

Mold 

Mold is everywhere. It can exist not just outside but also inside of a house or even a building. They find a place that is perfect for them to multiply – places that are moist, heated, and could be a food source for them. Mold could affect a person’s immune system, especially those molds that are seen outside. As these molds attack a person’s immunity, it causes irritation or other respiratory effects.  

Animal fur

Though most offices don’t allow the presence of pets in their office, animal dander on clothes is more than enough to trigger allergic reactions. 

Dust mites

Dust mites exist in the air, and even on the floor. Dust mites may hide in carpets, furniture, and curtains, while in healthcare settings they might also be found in bedding and linen. It is notorious in triggering allergic reactions. 

Fragrances

Perfumes and other things with fragrance such as lotion and deodorants may cause allergic reactions to some people. Some offices even have a “scent-free” policy as part of the requirement of their workplace. 

Pollen

Pollen is one of the most common agents of an allergic reaction. Experts usually refer to pollen allergy as “seasonal allergic rhinitis”. A person experiences allergic reactions because his or her immune system believes that pollen is dangerous. In an attempt to fight against this “foreign invader”, your immune system releases antibodies to attack the pollen particles which causes allergy symptoms. 

Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies are composed of a variety of chemicals. These chemicals may trigger allergic reactions especially the strong ones like the acid cleaners, acetone, and paint strippers. 

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde that is often used for glues for woods and other furniture can cause a variety of allergic reactions on both respiratory and skin. Some countries even have set a “safe limit” for the use of formaldehyde. 

Paints

There are now three (3) different types of paints—all of which may result in an allergic reaction.

  • Solvent-based paints – have a strong odor that may cause irritation to your eyes, nose, and lungs. 
  • Water-based paints – some water-based paints have biocide that could affect a select group of people
  • Resin-based paint – contains isocyanates that are strong allergic sensitizers that result in an asthmatic reaction. 

Latex

Some people develop allergic reactions after repeated use of latex such as latex gloves. Allergy to latex is an increasing health problem as most people allergic to rubber latex are also allergic to some fruits and vegetables such as bananas, kiwis. This makes the treatment process much more difficult.

Stress

Our bodies react to all forms of stress. Our bodies won’t even tell us what caused the allergies. We may know that we are experiencing allergy, but we will find it difficult to find the source. 

Reducing Allergy in the Workplace

Now that we know the impact of allergy in the workplace as well as the ten agents that may cause allergy, here are some tips on how to lessen or avoid triggers in the workplace

Identification

The first step to lessen allergy in the workplace is to identify the cause of allergy. Know what things your employees are allergic to. Once you know what triggers their allergic reactions, you can take steps to reduce their exposure to these allergens. 

Wipe, wipe, wipe

Wiping your desk shouldn’t be a big job for your employees. Having them regularly clean their place will reduce the risk of accumulation of dirt and dust which may cause allergy. 

Wear a mask

Wearing a mask may reduce your exposure to allergens such as dust mites, pollen, and paint. Whether you’re cleaning your desk or if the pollen season is nearing, wear a mask to lessen the chances of getting an allergy.

Use a humidifier

Humidifiers are a great way to reduce the presence and growth of mold in your place. 

Make sure your area is well ventilated 

A well-ventilated place is a safe place. Proper ventilation may prevent allergen from getting trapped inside your office building. 

Cleanliness is the best way to deal with allergies. Having a clean environment will reduce the presence and growth of allergens. Hiring a commercial cleaning service can get the job properly done. Regular cleaning will help improve the health of your workplace.