Home Health & Wellness Health and Safety Expert Warns of Hay Fever Triggers to Avoid in the Workplace

Health and Safety Expert Warns of Hay Fever Triggers to Avoid in the Workplace

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As spring arrives, so does the hay fever season, which can adversely affect sufferers in the workplace. Health and safety experts from Blue Trolley have shared the below guidance for both employees and employers to be wary of common triggers for hay fever.

Here are the worst things you can do at work for hay fever sufferers:

Increase stress levels

We all know stress can affect your overall health but did you know it can actually worsen hay fever symptoms? Long-term stress can weaken your body’s immune system, making it harder to fight off illness such as hay fever. A study by Harvard Health also noted that stress was seen to worsen and heighten the symptoms of hay fever. Addressing the causes of stress and talking to your employer about support for stress can positively impact your life in many areas.

Use perfume and candles

Many high street candles constrain synthetically made scents which contain chemicals that can irritate existing allergies and worsen hay fever. One study noted that one in five people reported having a stuffy nose or allergy-symptoms in response to certain candles. Paraffin wax is a common component of candles that causes irritation, so if you do have candles at your place of work then consider switching to scentless or beeswax for the benefit of your staff or customers.

Wear wool clothing

Whether part of a uniform or worn by your staff from their own wardrobes, wool might be good for keeping warm but it can be an irritant for hay fever sufferers. Common wool contains lanolin, which makes up the grease or oil of its composition, which can trigger allergic reactions. Wool also lends itself to harbouring dust mites and pollen more so than other fabrics, both of which are very common triggers for hay fever.

Work around office dogs

Office dogs might have a list of benefits for pooch-loving staff members, such as boosting morale, but their dander and saliva can be harmful to hay fever sufferers. Both pet dander and saliva are common triggers for hay fever, putting them at risk if they have to work with other people’s dogs. Under the 2010 Equalities Act, employees with allergies linked to chronic conditions such as asthma can ask for reasonable adjustments to be made against office dogs being in the workplace. Adjustments could include dogs being given a separate space to stay, work from home days for those affected by dogs when the dogs are in or air filtration systems to be placed in the office.

Not shower before work

Not only will your colleagues be grateful of your cleanliness for smell and hygiene reasons, but showering before work will also be a reducer of hay fever allergies. Pollen and pollutants build up on your body from the air as the day goes on, meaning if you don’t shower frequently you are allowing these to worsen your allergy symptoms. Irritation from pollen can impact sleep quality as well as cause allergic response so staying fresh both day and nighttime is recommended for your wellbeing.

Work in warm weather 

Whilst nice weather does wonders for our mental health it can be a pain for hay fever sufferers. Cold days mean less pollen is released into the air, reducing the risk of allergic response. Met Weather advice states rainy days are best, especially days where it has rained since early morning as it washes away pollen and irritants for hay fever. Employees who have to work in hot weather with allergies should take proper precautions and make use of allergy tablets if they are able to take them and have consulted medical advice.

Be around cigarette smoke

Cigarette smoke is a nuisance and health risk for those who have to be around it, which is why workplaces have taken health and safety precautions to reduce the risk of second-hand smoke for employees on their premises. Cigarettes are known to have a list of health risks, however, did you know they do adversely impact hay fever? Health researchers have suggested smoking can worsen hay fever allergic reactions, as the harsh chemicals found in cigarettes are an irritant when you are already suffering. What should benefit employees is the 2007 legislation that states that workplaces should be smoke-free and if they do have smoking shelters these need to be well-ventilated and should ideally be away from entrances and windows. Hay fever sufferers should be wary of smoking when there is increased risk to their symptoms and generally should take steps to cut down or quit with proper medical advice and support.

© Copyright 2014–2034 Psychreg Ltd