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Posted by Glenn Cleaning, August 02, 2021
Did you know that a survey by Allergy UK found that 95% of allergy sufferers had had their allergies triggered in the workplace? The effects of allergic reactions can be very debilitating and even life-threatening, which is why every organisation should make sure they’re taking steps to make their workplace a better place to be for allergy sufferers of all kinds.
We thought we’d dedicate this blog post to going over some things you should know about allergies in the workplace and how to make yours a safer, healthier place for everyone. This includes things everyone can do to lessen the number of allergens in the office as well as information on how your contract cleaning company can make yours a more allergy-friendly workplace.
Mould spores live all around us, both inside and outside, but they thrive especially well in any place that is humid, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Some five to ten per cent of people have allergic reactions to some form of mould, most commonly in the form of respiratory issues.
Dust mites are microscopic creatures that live off dead skin cells that make up the majority of dust found indoors. Like mould, these bugs thrive in humid conditions. It’s actually dust mite droppings, rather than dust mites or dust itself that causes allergic reactions, including asthma attacks, eczema and hayfever.
Pollen is another common allergy trigger found in the workplace. It’s an airborne allergen that can build up on surfaces and cause symptoms such as a runny nose, sneezing and itchy or watering eyes. The amount of pollen in the air is at its highest in the spring, but don’t forget that any plants or cut flowers you have in your workplace could also be adding allergens to your office’s air.
Mould, pollen and dust allergies can be helped with proper ventilation and a good commercial cleaning service. All three of these allergens can live very comfortably in carpets and on cluttered desks, which is where a good cleaning service can be very helpful.
Ventilation can be improved by clean air vents and by opening windows. However, during hayfever season, make sure the windows are closed in the morning and the late afternoon when pollen levels are at their highest.
Pet dander is another potential allergy trigger, and even if you don’t have a dog-friendly office, you should be taking steps to prevent allergic reactions to pet dander if you have allergy sufferers in your workplace. This is because dander can be carried to the workplace on people’s clothes. Good contract cleaning can definitely help to help reduce the risk of triggered pet allergies, and you could also make sure people’s coats are hung away from where people are sitting to do their work.
Food allergies are often behind the most severe allergic reactions, and about two million people deal with food allergies in the UK.
Did you know that just eight food ingredients are responsible for about 90% of allergic reactions caused by food? These ingredients are:
If you have anyone on your team allergic to one or more of these allergens, you need to take steps to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction with the relevant food safety steps. The easiest way to know what you can do to mitigate these risks is by asking the allergy sufferer themselves what they would find helpful.
Since just a small crumb of a food allergy trigger like peanut can cause a severe allergic reaction, it’s very important that those who suffer from food allergies can keep their food separate from other people’s.
This could mean a separate shelf in the office fridge or cupboard and making sure everyone’s food is securely stored in an air-tight container. An allergy sufferer should also have utensils and crockery that is only used by them to avoid cross-contamination. And of course, a proper cleaning service can help remove food allergens from kitchen surfaces.
It’s also vitally important that your workplace first raiders know how to administer an EpiPen or auto-injector and know where to find it.
As we already mentioned, a good commercial cleaning service is integral to mitigating the risk of allergic reactions caused by common allergy triggers like mould, dust and pollen.
These can quickly build up on floors, desks and in the air, which is why it’s important that your cleaners are able to provide thorough cleaning to surfaces of all kinds. For carpets, this should include periodic deep-cleaning using high-temperature steam. Meanwhile, a clear-desk policy will help to ensure your cleaners can carry out their work properly and eliminate allergens effectively.
Don’t forget that your workplace’s ventilation system can also start harbouring a decent amount of dust over time, which is why your building’s ductwork should be cleaned every few years.
Many people can also be allergic to the ingredients in cleaning products your cleaning company uses, so make sure your cleaners are aware if there are people who frequent your premises who could be sensitive to these.
Common allergy triggers found in cleaning supplies include chemical solvents like mineral spirits, acetone and alcohols. Spray aerosols can also be irritating to the airways, especially those containing artificial fragrances, so you might want to consider removing these from your bathrooms. Ask your cleaning company whether they have any non-toxic cleaning solutions available. Not only will this help allergy sufferers; it’ll also help your company go greener.
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