Allergies at WorkMay-29-2012
SupermarketGuru has discussed food allergies in schools but has never brought up the topic of allergies at work; it's possibly because there is much less support and few allergy-friendly policies in the workplace, versus the great strides being made in spreading allergy awareness and protocols in schools. That needs to change!
The ever-annoying allergy symptoms - whether environmental or food related- might make it tough to get through the work day especially if you are not comfortable sharing the fact that you have allergies with you coworkers. Sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes, brain fog, headaches, etc can lead to a loss in productivity; and add to that the effects of allergy medications which can make you drowsy.
Those with allergies are not alone. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI), missed work and reduced productivity due to allergies cost US companies more than $250 million a year!
Is your allergy food or environmental related? Allergens like dust and mold, and even pets in the office, can cause allergic reactions. If you work with chemicals, or foods and are suffering only at work, you may be allergic to an ingredient. If going out to work lunches, or catered dinners has you worried, let your employer know you have an allergy and that either they need to provide you with something suitable, or you will bring your own food.
If dust or mold is the issue, simple changes could help eliminate your trigger. Dust your desk space regularly and ask that others do the same. Use a HEPA filter in your office space, or at your desk. Ask that old, soiled, dusty or moldy carpets are replaced as this could be the main trigger of your allergies.
Tell colleagues about your allergies from day one on the job (or early on); don't wait until you are put in an awkward situation, or don't realize that a coworker's special birthday cake has nuts in it - don't put your health in jeopardy. Explain the allergy basics to co-workers in a pleasant and non-confrontational manner; many people without food allergies have a family member who is allergic, so they will probably be more sympathetic than you think.
Posted by Ken at 12:00 AM
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