The seasonal allergies caused by pollen typically cause symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes and a scratchy throat. These symptoms not only make you feel miserable but having allergies in the workplace can kill your productivity at the office. Staying at home and taking medication during allergy season might be an effective method of handling a severe allergy, but it’s not always an option if you need to earn a living. The best strategies for dealing with allergies at work generally consist of minimizing your exposure to allergens.
Allergies in the Workplace
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates that 50 million people in the United States have significant allergies to pollen. Allergy season generally corresponds to the time of year when most flowers and trees release their pollen. This period generally depends on your latitude, which determines the length and duration of spring. For most parts of the continental United States, allergic reactions are generally most common during late March, April and early May.
However, this isn’t the only time of year that you can be affected these symptom, since it really depends on what your allergens are. While allergens are often some type of pollen, they also include other sources such as pets, mold and dust mites. Pets can cause allergies throughout the year, although the symptoms are likely to be most severe when they shed in the spring. Allergies to mold and dust mites depend more on environmental conditions that favor the growth of these organisms.
Effect on Productivity
Allergic symptoms generally reduce worker productivity in two ways. First, they interrupt your work when you have to constantly perform other activities such as blowing your nose or pumping nasal spray. Second, these symptoms can prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep, which impairs your ability to perform mentally challenging tasks at work. In addition, oral antihistamines can offer allergy help, but they can also make you feel drowsy. The combination of these factors often causes your productivity to take a nosedive.
Many studies show the effect of allergies on worker productivity. For example, a 2014 study published in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology shows that allergies cost business in the United States about $250 million per year. A 2001 study in Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine also estimated that the use of antihistamines could result in a 25 percent reduction in productivity for two weeks each year.
Strategies for avoiding your exposure to allergens primarily depend on the type of allergen. Use a portable filter to help remove pollen from the air. Ask your office manager to install high-efficiency filters in the air system and remove the carpet from your cubicle. Change your clothes every day and eat inside, especially on days when the pollen count is high.
We Can Help
Schedule an appointment with American Sinus Institute today to find out how we can help you with your allergies and sinusitis. We specialize in balloon sinuplasty, which involves inserting a tiny balloon into the sinus opening and inflating it to restructure the sinus cavity. Balloon sinuplasty received FDA clearance in 2005, and over 150,000 patients have had this procedure.