Allergies occur when the immune system becomes unusually sensitive and overreacts to common substances that are normally harmless, such as pollens, molds, dust or food. Genetic tendency plays a role since allergies tend to run in families.
An allergy develops when exposure to certain substances leads to sensitivity. These substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens. One of the main culprits to trigger symptoms in the workplace may be strong scents circulating in their environment.
Allergy Producing Odours Can Include:
- Perfume, colognes, aftershave
- Lotions, creams
- Cosmetics and deodorants
- Shampoos and conditioners
- Laundry detergents and fabric softeners
- Air fresheners, pot pourri
- Scented candles
- Cleaning products
An allergy develops when exposure to certain substances leads to sensitivity. These substances that cause allergic reactions are called allergens. Click to tweet
Are Allergies In The Workplace Controllable?
While sensitive individuals can usually control their exposure to strong smells in their own homes it is not as easy to do this in the workplace.
Some employers have begun to encourage a "scent-free" workplace by asking employees to reduce or avoid the use of scented products.
Beverly’s Hot Tip For Building Resiliency and Celebrating Allergy Awareness Week:
If a co-worker's cologne, perfume, or the cleaning products used in your office are bothering you:
- Solicit cooperation by first approaching an individual, explaining that scented products affect you adversely. When doing this be sure to convey that you are not critical of the person, but that you would like their cooperation, because of your sensitivity to a scent. Use credible printed information about allergies and asthma to back up your request.
- If the approach does not work, then speak to your immediate supervisor. In doing so it may help to solicit the support of co-workers who feel the same way that you do.
Even if you are not bothered by scents yourself, consider switching to non-scented products in the workplace to lesson indoor pollution and possibly contributing to a co-worker’s discomfort.
If you have some strategies to share – comment on this posting!