March 6, 2024

From Cubicles to Conference Rooms: How to Manage Allergies at Work

Navigating the daily demands of the workplace can be challenging enough without the added burden of allergies. Sneezing fits during meetings, itchy eyes in the midst of a project or constant congestion at your desk — workplace allergies can disrupt both your comfort and productivity. But fret not; in this guide, we'll explore practical strategies for managing allergies at work. From creating an allergy friendly workspace to communicating effectively with colleagues and employers, we'll provide you with the tools and insights you need to manage your allergies at work. 

Allergies at work 

Allergies can significantly impact individuals in various aspects of their lives, and the workplace is no exception. Allergies at work not only affect personal well-being but can also impact work performance and overall job satisfaction. Common allergens in the workplace can pose a challenge for employees, leading to symptoms that range from mild discomfort to more severe health issues. Recognizing and understanding these allergens is crucial for both employees and employers to create a healthy and productive work environment.

Dust Mites:

Dust mites are microscopic organisms commonly found in indoor environments, particularly in office spaces with upholstered furniture, carpets, and curtains. These tiny creatures thrive in warm and humid conditions. Symptoms of dust mite allergies may include sneezing, nasal congestion, itchy or watery eyes, and skin rashes.

Mold Spores:

Mold spores are airborne reproductive units of fungi, and they can be prevalent in workplaces with poor ventilation or areas prone to dampness, such as basements or bathrooms. Allergic reactions to mold spores may manifest as nasal congestion, coughing, wheezing, and skin irritation. Individuals with mold allergies should be cautious in environments where dampness is a concern.

Pet Dander:

Pet dander consists of tiny, even microscopic, flecks of skin shed by cats, dogs, and other animals with fur or feathers. In workplaces where pets are present or where people carry pet allergens on their clothing, individuals may experience symptoms such as sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and skin reactions. Proper cleaning and ventilation are crucial in managing pet dander in the workplace.


Pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds is a common outdoor allergen that can find its way into indoor spaces through open windows and ventilation systems. Symptoms of pollen allergies include sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, nasal congestion, and fatigue. Individuals working in areas with poor filtration or those who spend extended periods outdoors may be more susceptible to pollen exposure.

Fragrances and Perfumes:

Fragrances and perfumes in personal care products or air fresheners can be a source of irritation for individuals with sensitivities. Common symptoms include headaches, sneezing, coughing, and skin irritation. Promoting a fragrance-free policy and ensuring proper ventilation can help reduce the impact on those with fragrance allergies.

Recognizing the potential sources of these allergens in the workplace and their associated symptoms is crucial for both individuals and employers in creating a space that promotes well-being and productivity. Moving forward, implementing measures to minimize exposure to these allergens can contribute to a more inclusive and accommodating workplace for all employees.

Creating an allergy-free workplace

Managing allergies at work takes a concerted effort. Here are some tactics that can help.

Preventing dust mites in the workplace:

  • Regular Cleaning Schedule: Establish a routine cleaning schedule to minimize dust mites. Focus on vacuuming carpets and cubicle walls, dusting surfaces, and cleaning upholstery.

  • Use HEPA Air Filters: Invest in a HEPA air filter to capture dust mites and any other pollen that might be in the air.

Managing mold in the workplace:

  • Proper Ventilation: Ensure good ventilation in the workplace to reduce humidity levels and discourage mold growth. Use exhaust fans and open windows when possible.

  • Promptly Address Water Damage: Quickly address any water leaks or damage to prevent the development of mold. Consider professional mold remediation if needed.

Preventing pet dander in the workplace:

  • Pet-Free Zones: If your workplace allows pets, designate specific areas as pet-free zones to accommodate employees with pet allergies. This includes common areas like break rooms and meeting spaces.

  • Regular Cleaning: Implement a cleaning routine to remove pet dander from surfaces, especially in areas where employees may come into contact with these allergens.

Managing pollen in the workplace:

  • Landscaping Planning: Choose low-allergen plants for landscaping around the workplace to minimize outdoor pollen exposure. Avoid planting high-pollen trees or grasses in close proximity to entrances.

  • Filtered Ventilation: Use high-quality air filters in the ventilation system to capture pollen particles and prevent them from circulating in the indoor air.

Managing fragrance allergies in the workplace:

  • Implement Fragrance-Free Policies: Encourage a fragrance-free workplace by implementing policies that discourage the use of strongly scented personal care products or air fresheners.

  • Provide Well-Ventilated Areas: Designate well-ventilated areas for employees who may need to use personal care products or have specific scent sensitivities.

By implementing these detailed tips tailored to specific allergens, employers can create a more inclusive and comfortable workplace for all employees, promoting better health and productivity. Regular communication and awareness efforts contribute to fostering a workplace culture that prioritizes the well-being of its diverse workforce.

Treating allergies in the workplace

Managing allergies at work may not be enough. Long-term allergy treatments such as allergy shots, allergy drops, and ExACT Immunoplasty offer viable solutions for individuals seeking sustained relief from workplace allergies. Choosing the right approach depends on individual preferences, lifestyle, and the nature of the allergies. Aspire Allergy & Sinus can help determine the most effective and personalized long-term allergy treatment plan for a healthier, symptom-free work experience. 

Allergy Shots (Subcutaneous immunotherapy):

Allergy shots, also known as subcutaneous immunotherapy, are a long-term treatment option designed to desensitize the immune system to specific allergens over time. Administered regularly in the clinic, these shots gradually reduce the body's allergic response, leading to decreased symptoms and improved tolerance to allergens. This long-lasting approach can be particularly beneficial for individuals facing workplace allergies, providing sustained relief and reducing the need for over-the-counter medications.

Allergy Drops (Sublingual Immunotherapy):

Sublingual immunotherapy, or allergy drops, offers an alternative to traditional allergy shots. This method involves placing drops of allergen extracts under the tongue. Similar to allergy shots, allergy drops aim to build tolerance to specific allergens, offering a convenient and non-invasive option for long-term allergy management. For those concerned about allergens in the workplace, the ease of administration and flexibility make allergy drops an appealing choice for sustained relief.

ExACT Immunoplasty:

The ExACT immunoplasty treatment is a cutting-edge advancement in allergy treatment. This precision allows for a targeted and personalized approach to immunotherapy, maximizing effectiveness. With ExACT Immunoplasty, individuals can experience comprehensive and long-term relief from workplace allergens, addressing the root cause of their allergies in just 8-weeks. 

FAQs about allergies at work 

Are allergies a reason to call out of work? 

Certainly, allergies can be a valid reason to consider calling out of work, depending on the severity of your symptoms. If you're experiencing significant discomfort, such as persistent sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes, or even more severe reactions like difficulty breathing or swelling, it's essential to prioritize your health and well-being. Allergies at work can impact your ability to concentrate, perform tasks, and interact with colleagues effectively. However, if your allergies are well-managed with medication and do not interfere significantly with your ability to function at work, it might be reasonable to continue working with appropriate precautions. 

Why are my allergies so bad at work? 

Allergies can be exacerbated at work due to various factors present in the workplace environment. Office spaces often contain common allergens such as dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, and pollen brought in from the outdoors. Poor indoor air quality, inadequate ventilation, and the presence of allergen-trapping materials like carpets and cubicle walls can contribute to heightened allergy symptoms. Identifying the specific allergens triggering your symptoms at work is crucial for effective management. It might be helpful to consult with an allergist to conduct allergy testing and develop a personalized plan to minimize exposure.

Should you tell your manager if you have allergies? 

Yes, it is advisable to communicate with your manager about your allergies. Sharing this information can help create a supportive work environment and facilitate accommodations to minimize exposure to allergens that may trigger your symptoms. By informing your manager about your allergies, you can work together to create a workplace allergy policy and implement practical measures such as maintaining a clean workspace, addressing potential sources of allergens, or making adjustments to the office environment. Additionally, your manager can be informed about any necessary medical interventions, like the use of allergy medications, that may be required during work hours. 

Are allergens a workplace hazard?

Yes, allergens can indeed be considered workplace hazards, as they have the potential to adversely affect the health and well-being of individuals with allergies. Many workplaces harbor common allergens such as dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, and even airborne particles from outdoor sources. Exposure to these allergens in the workplace can lead to a range of symptoms, from mild discomfort to more severe allergic reactions. It's crucial for both employers and employees to recognize the presence of allergens as potential hazards and take measures to mitigate their impact. Implementing strategies to improve indoor air quality, reducing the use of known allergens in the workplace, and fostering open communication about individual allergies can contribute to a safer and healthier work environment. 

Seek effective allergy treatments with Aspire Allergy & Sinus

Recognizing and addressing allergens in the workplace is essential for creating a healthier and more comfortable professional environment. Knowing how to manage allergies at work is crucial. As discussed, common allergens present in offices can significantly impact individuals with allergies, affecting their well-being and productivity. Aspire Allergy & Sinus understands the importance of managing allergens in the workplace, and our team of experienced allergists is dedicated to providing effective solutions. If you're experiencing allergy symptoms or want to proactively address potential allergen concerns, you can take the first step towards a clearer, more comfortable work life by booking an appointment online with us. Let us help you breathe easier and thrive in your workplace without the burden of allergen-related challenges.

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