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Creating an Allergen-Free Work Environment

Allergies and asthma strike 60 million Americans – that is one in four people – according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. As one of the country’s most significant diseases, allergies and asthma are frequently overlooked as one of the most common ailments.

How is your work environment affected by allergies? Employees struggling to fight allergic reactions drain energy that could be spent productively working on business-related tasks. Your exhausted employee who spent all day and all night coughing and sneezing needs a reprieve from allergy symptoms. In addition, customers entering your place of business might be disturbed by a number of allergy triggers, prompting them to leave as quickly as possible.

As an employer and a business professional, there are several steps available to improve the situation for an employee or client plagued by allergies. Showing concern for a situation and improving the negative circumstances boosts morale and the immune system! Follow some helpful advice to create an allergen-free place of business.

Eliminate and manage pests. Dust mites and roaches leave behind skin and feces that sometimes irritate people with allergies. Integrating pest management practices in the work place prevents an infestation of insects. Properly store food in air-tight containers located in a specially designated area. Keep dumpsters away from the building. Hire a professional to spray the building regularly, preferably during non-business hours using allergen-friendly chemicals.

Clean up mold promptly. Mold is also a common allergy trigger. Properly clean the molded area using water and bleach and allow it to dry completely. Take the initiative to repair the problem area so that it is no longer an issue. Patch leaky roofs, replace broken pipes and install proper drainage to prevent mold from reoccurring.

Create a smoke-free environment. Besides the health issues of smoking, some people are allergic to smoke. Designate smoking areas outside that are at least 15 feet from any entryways. If you own a restaurant that includes a smoking section, consider buying equipment that effectively filters smoke. In several states, it is legal for companies only to hire individuals who do not smoke.

Clean routinely. Dust irritates many allergy sufferers. Minimize dust and debris by dusting, vacuuming, mopping and disinfecting frequently. Since this process stirs up dust, try to work these tasks in during non-business hours. Regular cleaning prevents dust from building up and causing further issues.

Change air filter regularly. Over time, dust and allergen particles build up in air filters. By changing the filters on a routine basis, you rid your business of undesirable particles that can trigger sneezing or coughing.

Prohibit pets in the office. Animal dander is an allergy nuisance to a number of individuals. Not permitting animals in the workplace allows employees and customers relief from one less allergic reaction.

Promote employee cleanliness. Washing hands frequently and properly disposing of trash are important for creating a clean, allergy-free environment. Ensure that restrooms are stocked with adequate soap, water and paper towels. Keep trash cans in easily accessible areas, and empty them before they overflow.

Discourage fragrances. Like different scents appeal to different people, allergies react to different fragrances. Encourage employees to go easy on fragrances.

Make protective gear and clothing available. Distribute protective gear like masks, goggles and gloves to protect allergy sufferers from equipment that emits particles or gas. Research other equipment that could reduce problems for all employees.

Educate employees. Educate employees about the impact allergies have in the workplace and why certain steps are taken to provide for the interest of all involved. Awareness of how allergies affect coworkers and customers creates a positive environment. For individuals with allergies, assure that they take the proper precautions and follow up with a doctor to prevent further allergy-related issues.

Since there are no cures for allergies, take the initiative to manage proper prevention and treatment. Create an environment that is friendly for people with allergies. Encourage your employees to seek assistance in controlling their allergies and asthma symptoms through the help of medication and preventative action.

Research more information about allergies and how you can help your employees. Follow common practices that make a significant difference to allergy-sufferers. Taking such helpful steps shows employees that you care about their well-being and expect the best out of each person. Make your work environment a place of health and productivity!

For more information about National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month, visit http://aafa.org/display.cfm?id=10&sub=99&cont=457.