How to Manage Your Allergies in the Workplace

Dealing with allergies can become especially difficult in the workplace. Sometimes the symptoms of allergies—itchy eyes, sneezing and wheezing—can keep you up all night. Tiredness can negatively affect your work performance. There are steps that you can take to better manage your allergies in the workplace. This article will discuss those suggestions.

Where to Begin Dealing with the Issue

Allergy issues do not have to take over your life and make you miserable in the workplace. Certain allergy medications can assist in controlling allergy symptoms. However, some of them may cause drowsiness and drain your energy level, resulting in more inattentiveness during work. In a recent article, Dr. Debra Fulghum Bruce shared three specific factors in managing allergy symptoms and then being better able to improve your concentration level.

  • Recognize your allergy problems at work – take stock of your issues and make a conscious decision to find a healthy solution to the problems.
  • Pinpoint the workplace allergy triggers – make a point to identify the triggers in the workplace which are causing your allergies or making the symptoms worse.
  • Ascertain the correct allergy medicine – meet with your doctor to find the right allergy medication and other health remedies for your situation.

Several Allergy Triggers in the Workplace

There are various allergy triggers and two that can occur in the workplace are discussed in the listing below.

1. High Stress Situations

High stress situations can cause and increase allergy symptoms. According to Dr. Gailen Marshall from the University of Mississippi Medical Center and his interview with Dr. Bruce from, “stress from work deadlines, conflicts with co-workers and long hours can all increase allergy symptoms.” Since stressful situations can increase your allergy symptoms, you need to follow Dr. Bruce’s advice to first ascertain those triggers. Take stock of the current workplace environment and ask yourself the following questions.

  • When am I most stressed during the work day?
  • What are the stressors triggering the allergy issues?

When you can answer the when and what of the situation, you can begin to find a solution to removing such stressors from your workplace environment. Depending on the issue, you may need to seek assistance from your manager or someone in the HR Department to help you in dealing with the situation.

2. Overactive Immune System

You may be experiencing extreme tiredness in the workplace and this can be caused by more than lack of sleep. Dr. Greg Martin is a physician in the critical care unit and assistant professor of medicine at Emory University. According to Dr. Bruce in her article, Dr. Martin has advised that allergies can be blamed on an overactive immune system. Apparently, “persistent, ongoing activation of the immune system triggers chronic inflammation, and this causes fatigue.” Dr. Martin described a three-step process regarding this chronic inflammation causing fatigue.

  • The allergies become consistently inflamed
  • That inflammation then produces cytokines
  • Those cytokines travel from the nose, to the bloodstream and brain

This process of the cytokines traveling through our systems causes those various allergy symptoms to occur and that is a sign to our bodies that we are sick. According to Dr. Martin, a major symptom of allergies is fatigue. He also advised that symptoms such as nasal congestion are a sign that the allergies have been poorly treated.

Ways to Manage Your Allergies

If you want to function properly in your daily life and especially in the workplace, then you need to get a handle on managing your allergies. After you have identified the triggers, you can decide on a plan of action. The main ingredient in many allergy medicines is antihistamines. Some of those antihistamines are: loratidine, brompheniramine and chlorpheniramine. They can usually relieve the symptoms. However, they can cause drowsiness. (Source: The following are simple steps that you can take to manage your allergies in the workplace.

  • Take an antihistamine like Benadryl, Claritin or Allegra, but look for the ones that say “non-drowsy” on the packaging. However, you may still react to the antihistamine and become drowsy. If that is the case, try taking the tablet before bed and that should help with the symptoms and get you through the next day.
  • Opt for a natural solution and take an alfalfa supplement or drink alfalfa tea during the day. This herb is a natural antihistamine and it helps with the symptoms without causing drowsiness.
  • Use a netipot a few days during the week (at home) to help irrigate the nasal passage ways and clear them out. You can read more about the netipot and its benefits in this article.
  • Use an aromatherapy vaporizer with essential oils in your office space. Lavender is helpful for relieving stress and calming down. Eucalyptus oil is good for clearing the nasal passages. However, clear this option with your manager first. If it is not permitted, use the vaporizer at home.    
  • If you are allergic to dust, make sure that you or the office cleaning staff keep your office space as clean as possible.
  • Make a diligent effort to relieve the current workplace stressors that may be triggering your allergy symptoms

Managing allergies in the workplace can be a simple process if you follow the steps outlined in this article. The process begins with understanding the issues and specific triggers. Then you need to find the best solution to relieving your symptoms and dealing with those triggers.


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