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6 Causes of Workplace Allergy Symptoms and What You Can Do

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Cleaning supplies are causes of workplace allergy Symptoms

Although allergy season is around the corner, workplaces can affect your allergies year-round. The sneezing, runny nose, itching and other allergy symptoms can be maddening. What can you do?


This story about the causes of allergy symptoms in the workplace is written by Abimbola Farinde, PhD, from Columbia Southern University.

First, understand that an allergy is defined as the body’s immune reaction to the presence of a foreign substance and the subsequent reactions that can include sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, scratchy throat or hives.

Allergies are common.

For example, in 2011, it was estimated that 11.1 million people were diagnosed with allergic rhinitis or hay fever. Allergies can also be expensive as the associated healthcare costs of treating allergies were reported to be $17.5 billion and more than 6 million work days off as a result. In fact, a study cited by the Harvard Business Review said employers in the United States lose approximately $150 billion in productivity a year due to the impact of illnesses in the workplace.

Our workplaces often have nasal allergens and it is important to be aware of some of the possible causes such as:

  1. Cleaning supplies
  2. Fragrances
  3. Plants
  4. Mold
  5. Dust
  6. Animal dander

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Check with your supervisors and human resources department to address these allergens if you are certain they are present and affecting you. Worker health is vital to companies and key to keeping productive and happy employees.

While there is currently no definitive cure for allergies, there are available treatment options or remedies that can be utilized to manage allergy symptoms. Here are a few:

  • Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine or fexofenadine are generally considered to be front-line agents that provide quick relief of allergy symptoms by blocking histamines.
  • Decongestants can be used for stuffy noses when antihistamines prove to be ineffective. Decongestants such as oxymetazoline or phenylephrine work by decreasing the blood flow to vessels and tissues to help alleviate congestion.
  • Anticholinergic nasal allergy sprays such as Atrovent that can help to alleviate symptoms.

For any individual who is considering any of the available treatments or remedies for managing the symptoms of allergies, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before initiation of therapy.

Columbia Southern University offers online certificate and degree programs in various fields such as human resource management, organizational leadership, health care administration, emergency medical services administration, criminal justice and business administration. For more information about CSU, visit www.columbiasouthern.edu or call 800-977-8449. Abimbola Farinde, PharmD, is faculty member with Columbia Southern University’s health administration program. She is a clinical pharmacy specialist who has gained experience in the field and practice of psychopharmacology/mental health and geriatric pharmacy.


Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (2016). Allergy facts and figures. Retrieved from http://www.aafa.org/page/allergy-facts.aspx
WedMD (2016). Allergy treatment. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/allergies-treatment-care
Harvard Business Review (2013). The Real 800-Pound Gorilla of Presenteeism. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2013/05/the-worst-kind-of-presenteeism