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How To Manage Your Allergies At Work

How To Manage Your Allergies At Work

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Written by:
Dr. Shuba Iyengar, MD, MPH
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Dr. Shuba Iyengar, MD, MPH
After graduating from UC Berkeley, Shuba completed medical school at Duke University, earning her MPH in tandem at UNC. After a research fellowship at the NIH, Shuba completed her residency at Stanford, then fellowship in allergy-immunology at Boston Childrens/Harvard.

Shuba returned to the Bay Area to join Dr. Bocian at a large multi-speciality health system where she helped lead an allergy practice. She cofounded Allermi to make expert allergy care more accessible for all.

Do you find yourself dealing with allergies while at work? You're not alone. Many people experience the same symptoms, such as sneezing, wheezing and fatigue. It's possible that your allergy symptoms are preventing you from getting a good night's sleep, but you still need to show up for work. 

Allergies can significantly impact your productivity and quality of life, especially if you are exposed to allergens at work. 



What Triggers Your Allergies at Work?

Dust mites, pollen, and mold are common and invisible allergy triggers in the workplace. These allergens can get trapped in tightly insulated and poorly ventilated office buildings.

For some jobs, there can also be environmental triggers such as fumes that cause dizziness and make it hard to breathe.

It is important for employers to take steps to minimize exposure to these allergens and environmental triggers in the workplace. This can include regularly cleaning and maintaining HVAC systems, providing air purifiers or filters, and using non-toxic cleaning products.

Employees can also take steps to reduce their exposure to these allergens by regularly cleaning their workspaces, using hypoallergenic products, and keeping windows open for fresh air when possible.

By taking these precautions, both employers and employees can create a healthier and more comfortable work environment for everyone.



Tips to manage allergies in the workplace:

  • Identify the allergen: The first step in managing allergies is to identify the allergen that triggers your symptoms. Keep a journal of when and where your symptoms occur to help pinpoint the culprit. If you suspect that something in your workplace is causing your allergies, talk to your employer about identifying and removing the allergen.

  • Keep your workplace clean: Dust, mold, and other allergens can accumulate in your workplace, exacerbating your symptoms. Keep your workspace clean and free of clutter, and use a HEPA filter to trap airborne allergens.

  • Take allergy medication: Over-the-counter or prescription allergy medication can help alleviate your symptoms. However, some allergy medications can cause drowsiness, so be sure to choose a non-drowsy option if you need to stay alert at work.

  • Use nasal sprays: Nasal sprays can help reduce inflammation in your nasal passages and relieve congestion. Consider trying Allermi’s custom nasal spray for allergies!

  • Allergy shots: Allergy shots, also known as immunotherapy, can help reduce your sensitivity to allergens over time. This treatment involves receiving regular injections of small amounts of allergens, gradually increasing in strength.

Don't let allergies interfere with your job performance or quality of life. With proper management and treatment, you can manage your allergies and feel better at work.



Check Your Workplace

Look for allergic and non-allergic triggers that may affect you. Common triggers include:

  • Aerosols
  • Chemical fumes
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Cockroaches
  • Cold air
  • Dust
  • Fresh paint
  • Humid air
  • Mold and mildew
  • Perfume and scented products
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Tobacco smoke and wood smoke
  • Weather fronts
  • Wind

When identifying allergic and non-allergic triggers, it's important to pay attention to your environment and your body's reaction to certain stimuli. Here are some additional triggers  to consider:

  • Latex
  • Metals, such as nickel and gold
  • Synthetic materials, like latex gloves or polyester clothing


To help identify your specific allergens, you may want to consider allergy testing. Once you know what triggers your allergies, you can take steps to avoid or minimize exposure to those allergens.



The most common jobs that can cause allergic reactions:

Allergies can be triggered by a variety of different factors such as pollen, dust, pet dander, and even certain foods. However, did you know that certain jobs can also trigger allergies? Here are some of the most common jobs that can cause allergic reactions:

  1. Healthcare Workers - Healthcare workers are often exposed to latex gloves, which can cause allergic reactions in some individuals. Additionally, they may come into contact with various medications, chemicals, and cleaning products that can also trigger allergies.

  2. Hairdressers and Barbers - Those who work in the hairdressing or barbering industry are often exposed to hair dyes, chemicals, and other products that can cause allergic reactions. These workers may also be exposed to dust, hair, and other allergens on a daily basis.

  3. Farmers and Agricultural Workers - Farmers and agricultural workers are often exposed to pollen, dust, and other allergens found in the outdoors. They may also be exposed to various chemicals and pesticides that can trigger allergic reactions.

  4. Landscapers and Gardeners - Those who work in the landscaping and gardening industry are often exposed to pollen, dust, and other allergens found in the outdoors. They may also come into contact with pesticides and fertilizers, which can trigger allergies in some individuals.

  5. Food Industry Workers - Those who work in the food industry may be exposed to various food allergens such as peanuts, shellfish, and dairy products. They may also be exposed to cleaning products and other chemicals that can cause allergic reactions.

  6. Construction Workers - Construction workers may be exposed to various chemicals, dust, and other allergens found on construction sites. They may also be exposed to certain building materials such as insulation and drywall, which can trigger allergies.

It's important to note that not everyone who works in these industries will develop allergies. However, those who are predisposed to allergies may be more likely to develop them if they are exposed to these types of allergens on a regular basis. If you work in one of these industries and are experiencing allergy symptoms, it's important to speak with your doctor or allergist to determine the best course of treatment.



FAQ on managing your allergies in the workplace

Allergies can be a challenge to manage, especially in the workplace where there are many potential allergens. Here are some frequently asked questions about managing allergies in the workplace.

What are common workplace allergens?
Common workplace allergens include dust, mold, pollen, pet dander, cleaning chemicals, fragrances.

What can I do to manage my allergies at work?
A: Talk to your employer about your allergies and work together to develop a plan. This may include things like keeping your workspace clean and free of dust and allergens, using an air purifier, avoiding certain foods, or requesting a fragrance-free workplace policy.

What should I do if I have an allergic reaction at work?
If you have an allergic reaction at work, seek medical attention immediately. Let your supervisor know what’s happening and go to the nearest medical facility or call emergency services if necessary.

Remember, managing allergies in the workplace is important for your health and wellbeing. By working with your employer and taking necessary precautions, you can reduce your risk of exposure to allergens and stay safe while on the job.

 

CUSTOMIZED ALLERGY TREATMENT AT HOME:

Using multiple over-the-counter allergy treatments is not ideal for treating Rhinitis. Most allergists recommend and prescribe nasal sprays. This is because they are considered to be more effective. Nasal sprays go right to the nose to reduce inflammation and prevent it from spreading to the eyes and sinuses. Also, because nasal sprays go directly to the nasal tissue and not the rest of the body, they also usually have far less side-effects than pills. Skip the drugstore and get a personalized all-in-one allergy treatment from the comfort of your home. 


Allermi is a customized nasal spray designed by experienced, board-certified allergists to solve your unique seasonal allergy symptoms. The Allermi formula is backed by science to give you the most effective allergy treatment for your individual allergy symptoms. 


The best part? Allermi nasal spray is easy to use and delivered right to your door.