Seasonal allergies accompany allergic individuals especially during spring and early summer. Due to climate change, pollen season start earlier each year. No matter how careful you are as an allergic person – the symptoms of an allergy can directly influence your mood and productivity at the workplace.
We collected several tips that can help you control sneezing fits, itchy eyes, and headaches while you’re on the clock:
1. Keep your workplace well ventilated
Not all office buildings are created equal – some have windows that can be opened and closed whenever you want, in others you have to rely on the air con to do the job of circulating air through the room. If your office space has windows that can be opened, keep them closed during early morning hours and in the late afternoon – that’s when the concentration of pollen in the air is at its peak.
2. Find the right allergy medication for you
It’s important to take allergy medication that best fit your allergic condition. After allergy testing, your doctor can give you a proper diagnosis and prescribe individualized medication that will help to keep your symptoms at bay. Don’t just rely on over-the-counter antihistamines, as some drugs can have side effects like fatigue and extreme tiredness, which is not suitable for people who drive a lot in their job or have to operate heavy machinery.
3. Build tolerance through medication
Experts advise allergy patients to start taking their allergy medication a little while before the start of the pollen season. This way, the immune system can build some tolerance against the upcoming onslaught of allergens flying through the air.
4. Keep your workplace clean
Once dust and pollen settle on your desk and other office surfaces, they can lead to irritation and allergy symptoms. Try to keep surfaces clean of allergens by wiping them down with a damp cloth frequently. Additionally, you should try and store coats and jackets as far away from your workspace as possible. This way you can create a distance between yourself and the pollen you “collected” on your way to work.
5. Protection against the elements
Not everyone works in an office building, of course. People spending the better part of the day working outside (e.g., construction work) are exposed to pollen and other allergens a lot more than those who spend most of their time inside. If you happen to work a lot outside, try applying a thin film of Vaseline on and around your nostrils – this will catch pollen before they can enter the nose and irritate your airways. Additionally, sunglasses and protective masks can also be helpful to keep pollen away from your face and prevent your form breathing them in.
6. Wash the day away
No matter where you spend your workdays, change your clothes as soon as you arrive home and take a shower. This way you can reduce the amount of pollen that are carried into your house and prevent further irritation.
7. Consider your commute
It’s hard to change your own commute. If you live in a big city, you will be exposed to a high concentration of pollen and fine dust on your way to work. Several studies have shown that hay fever symptoms get worse in places with a lot of traffic. If you drive your car to work, make sure that it is clean and vacuum seats and other surfaces thoroughly to make sure no pollen or other irritants are settling on your car’s surfaces. Keep the windows closed and make sure the A/C is working properly.
8. Be proactive
If you struggle with your allergies at work, be proactive and try to be part of the solution. If bad ventilation at the workplace is decreasing your productivity, politely suggest ways to improve the circulation by opening the windows in regular intervals or installing an air conditioning unit. Chances are high that you aren’t the only person suffering from allergies. If working from home or flexible hours are available to you, do it – this way you can stay indoors and can avoid exposing yourself to allergens on your way to work.
9. Look out for others
You might be struggling with hay fever caused by a pollen allergy – but maybe your colleague two desks over is allergic to the cat hair on your sweater, or can’t tolerate the scent of your perfume. Be mindful of others and look out for signs of discomfort that could be caused by an allergy and ask if there is anything you can do to accommodate them.
10. Be prepared
During pollen season, it’s helpful to check a digital version of the regional pollen count forecast. This way, you are always up to date about the intensity of pollen in your region and how they might affect your day-to-day life.