Allergies in the Workplace

How to Overcome Allergies in the Workplace

Allergies are a living nightmare for many people around the world. Coughing, sneezing and drying our watery eyes with a tissue is enough to drive anybody crazy. Dealing with allergies and allergic reactions at work can be incredibly difficult, especially since it can be hard to control the working environment when you are not the employer. However, there are certain precautions and methods you can undertake to help you defeat pesky allergy symptoms in the workplace.

Hay Fever

SneezingHigh levels of pollen will usually result in classic hay fever symptoms such as itchy and watery eyes, a runny nose and lots of sneezing. Whilst there is no cure for this irritating sister of the common cold, there are some types of medication on offer. Many of these unfortunately have one common side effect – drowsiness. This is hardly the answer at the workplace so it’s best to choose a type of hay fever tablet or medicine that does not cause drowsiness. Better still, speak to a complementary therapist and see what natural options are available.

Chemicals & Solvents

It’s best to avoid chemicals and solvents whenever possible. At home we can choose to use natural alternatives. However, we may not be able to make such decisions at work. If, for whatever reason, you have to come in contact with solvents or chemicals in the workplace, particularly if you work in the manufacturing industry, you can avoid associated allergies by wearing protective gloves, for example Brosch Direct nitrile gloves. These are disposable and made of synthetic rubber, which is ideal for use with harsh chemicals because they are resistant to punctures and tears.

Poor Ventilation

The most common source of ill-health and allergies in the work place is a result of poor ventilation systems. Air conditioning and ventilation is needed to purify air and if you are stuck in the same room all day with a crowd of other co-workers, each of them constantly breathing out carbon dioxide, it won’t be long before you begin to feel fatigued and unproductive. Poor ventilation can cause headaches, lethargy, dry throats and itchy or watery eyes. It is up to the employer to ensure that there is sufficient ventilation systems in place so if you suspect the opposite, don’t be afraid to voice your rights. After all, healthy employees are more productive employees so it’s certainly in the company’s best interests to get it right.

Dust Mites

Offices are often floored with carpets. This leads to the inevitable presence of dust mites. According to both carpets and other soft furnishings can harbour these mites and their allergen. Interestingly, it is not the mite itself that causes us to cough and splutter with our allergies, it is the mite’s droppings that provoke this reaction and is commonly associated with asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis. Solid flooring is ideal to avoid dust mite allergies. If this isn’t possible, keep the floor well maintained and cleaned regularly to avoid dust mites from breeding.

Office Plants

For many, plants in the office have a very positive impact on our wellbeing. However, according to Allergy UK, 38% of workplaces have plants in the office which can harbour moulds. These moulds can emit spores that trigger an allergic reaction. In the same study, the organization discovered that nearly 31% of those suffering from allergies experienced an allergic reaction to moulds radiating from plants situated in the office.
If you think the office plants could be affecting you, have a chat to your colleagues and employers to see if the guilty specimens can be moved out of your normal working area.

Written by Patrick Vernon on behalf of Brosch Direct Medical Supplies

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