Allergies are common during pollen season outdoors, but what about sniffles and sneezes in the office? Allergies in the workplace might mean a dusty office, mold or even food risks. While they can undoubtedly hinder productivity, allergies can also be life-threatening.
It’s essential to be aware of common workplace allergens and symptoms to prevent them and keep your employees safe. By employing proper workplace hygiene measures, you can eliminate allergies at the source. Keep reading to learn the impact of allergies and how to reduce allergens in the workplace.
Impact of Workplace Allergies on Employees
More than 50 million people in the United States experience different types of allergies every year. An allergic employee can experience a harmful physical reaction when exposed to an allergen. Workspaces include several variables that can trigger allergies and affect the health and safety of your employee.
While many allergies develop quickly, others occur gradually from repeated exposure, making proper hygiene critical. Many common workplace allergens can affect your employees, including:
- Pollen, dust and molds
- Pet dander and debris
- Industrial chemicals — such as solvents, bleaches and adhesives
- Natural rubber latex
- Food allergies
- Perfumes and odorants
- Wood dust and resins
While many allergy symptoms are just inconvenient, some are life-threatening. Symptoms can vary depending on the employee, but allergies can cause anaphylactic shock, contact dermatitis, rashes, hives or asthma.
Studies also show allergies significantly impact workplace productivity. One study found Americans lose 3.5 million workdays each year due to allergies. And it makes sense that those with allergies in the office would be less productive than healthy team members.
That’s why it’s essential to keep a clean workspace. A dirty office can be distracting, inhibit creativity and slow production. A clean office also lends to an attractive and comfortable professional environment.
How to Reduce Allergens in the Workplace
A workplace’s top priority should be the health and safety of employees. Considering your employees’ health concerns can also boost productivity. While it may be challenging to clean regularly and focus on work operations simultaneously, professionals can help.
Janitorial cleaning and sanitizing services promote those workplace hygiene measures without you needing to lift a finger. Experts can help prevent allergies in the workspace so you can focus solely on your company.
Other cleaning tips for allergies in the workplace include:
Dust is a common culprit for allergies in the workplace. Dust mites will hide almost anywhere and gather on carpets, furniture and cubicle walls. When your employees are frequently exposed to dust, it gives rise to the common dust allergy. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, irritable eyes, cough and shorter breaths.
Regularly dusting and vacuuming the office can help prevent these health hazards. It’s also essential to sanitize your office and check your air filtration regularly to stop allergens from circulating in your office space.
Professional carpet cleaning can also remove dirt, debris and dust from beneath carpets. National Janitorial Solutions uses a low moisture process to eliminate deeply embedded stains and substances. The process helps promote a clean, healthy work environment and ensures your employees’ safety.
Mold is a fungus that exists outdoors and indoors. Once inside, exposure to heat, moisture and food helps it multiply. A large-scale fungus spread can significantly impact your employees’ health and immunity.
Symptoms from mold exposure include itchiness, sneezing, congestion and dry or scaling skin. In severe cases, it can make its way into a person’s lungs and cause asthma attacks.
Strong workplace hygiene can prevent mold buildup and ensure your employees’ safety. It’s also critical to change air filters regularly and reduce humidity levels and dampness levels indoors by running a dehumidifier. Professionals can clean carpets and other areas where mold can build up. Putting these hygiene guidelines in place can reduce your employees’ exposure to this dangerous allergen.
3. Pet Dander
While many offices allow pets, some employees have trouble with the allergens they bring in. The animal protein found in some pets’ saliva and skin cells is what triggers an allergic reaction. Employees with asthma will be among those most affected by pet dander. Pet allergy symptoms can include sneezing, runny nose, itchy or watery eyes and postnasal drip.
To prevent employees’ exposure to this allergy, you might consider a no-pet policy in the office. You might also create a designated pet area in the office or a different workspace so employees can bring their pets while minimizing the risk to those who are allergic to their dander.
While fragrances won’t cause severe allergic reactions, they can make the environment uncomfortable for employees in close proximity. The substances used in perfumes are chemicals and synthetics that irritate the skin. Symptoms can also include itchy eyes and throat and sneezing.
The best way to prevent this allergy is to maintain a safe distance from perfumes and colognes. Suppose certain employees are sensitive to these smells. In that case, it’s best to take their concerns seriously by installing proper air circulation measures and removing certain fragrances, such as candles and room sprays, from the office.
5. Food Allergies
Approximately 32 million Americans have food allergies. Milk, eggs, nuts, wheat and seafood are responsible for most of the more severe food allergy reactions. Symptoms can range from mild with an itchy mouth or hives to severe with throat tightening and difficulty breathing.
It’s best to take note of each employee’s allergies to adjust your workspace and keep them safe. For instance, employees allergic to nuts should not work near these products, while you’ll need to remove any products with gluten from those with Celiac disease. It’s essential to gear your sensitivity training toward those with allergies, disabilities and health issues, especially regarding food allergies.
National Janitorial Solutions Will Take Care of Your Office Cleaning Needs
Above all, keeping a clean workplace is essential in keeping allergens at bay. National Janitorial Solutions (NJS) provides thorough cleaning services for commercial spaces across the country.
Many common workplace allergens gather in carpets, drapes and other absorbent materials that aren’t cleaned often. Our expert cleaners eliminate allergens by removing dust, debris and other common irritants from your office. Boost your team’s productivity by giving us a call. We’ll handle everything from washing floors and windows to commercial sanitation and restocking consumables.
With over 35 years of dedicated service in the janitorial industry, we offer thorough and reliable cleaning solutions. Our expert services will keep your company healthy and happy.
Contact us online or call 877-227-6374 today to find out how we can maintain your workspace.