5 jobs that may aggravate your allergies


You might think you have your allergies under control, but your workplace may be an unsuspected trigger. Here are a few jobs that can aggravate your allergies:

1. Landscaping and gardening

It's common knowledge that the pollen and dust in gardens may trigger or aggravate your existing allergies. Being among grass cuttings and dust all day long is not an ideal scenario if you are allergic to these substances.

working in garden

2. Working in a bar/pub/restaurant

As a server, you may be exposed to other people’s cigarette smoke. Second-hand smoke does not only make respiratory allergies worse, but can also lead to secondary complications such as sinusitis or asthma. If you have respiratory allergies, try to work only in non-smoking areas.

Bartender mixing cocktails

3. Construction work

Construction work, whether on a building site or inside a building, involves exposure to a great deal of dust and other irritants. During the demolition of old buildings, you may additionally be exposed to mould, which can also trigger respiratory allergies.

Construction worker

4. Working with pets

While working as a pet sitter, dog walker or a veterinary assistant, you will be exposed to pet dander, which may trigger allergies. Furthermore, the pollen and dust trapped in the fur of some animals could trigger any seasonal allergies you may have.

This, however, doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to a pet-free life. If you are exposed to animals on a daily basis, talk to your doctor about possible medication, and ensure all floors, counters and table tops are kept clean and dander free.

pet dander allergies

5. Working in spas and salons

If you work in beauty, hair care or any other branch of the aesthetics industry, chances are that you will be exposed to strong chemicals like nail polish remover and hair dyes or treatments on a daily basis. Not only can exposure to these triggers aggravate respiratory allergies, but if you are prone to skin allergies, you should always check the ingredients of all the products you work with as some of these can trigger irritation and rashes.

Although experts reckon that nail technicians are in a lower-risk category for asthma, there have been a number of cases in the US where nail technicians developed asthma triggered by exposure to MMA and EMA (albeit safer than MMA), common ingredients in products they work with.

Nail salon

Stay allergy-free in your job

Some jobs are more risky than others when it comes to allergies, but even sitting in an air-conditioned office can expose you to allergens. Whether you are an office worker or work outdoors, here are some tips:

  • Scout out your workplace for common allergens such as pollen, dust, aerosols and cold air from the air conditioner. It’s not always possible to choose where exactly you sit in an office environment, but try to identify the things that could be triggering your symptoms and speak to your doctor about a suitable treatment.
  • Speak to your doctor about changing your medication as soon as you notice that construction work is going on in your office area as the influx of more dust and paint fumes may exacerbate your symptoms.
  • Ensure that the antihistamine you take is non-drowsy so that you can remain productive.
  • Ensure that you keep your symptoms under control with medication. Proper ventilation in your bedroom is important for a good night’s sleep, making the next day at work more pleasant and productive.
  • Take control of your own cubicle or space at the office – get rid of cushions and trinkets that may attract dust or pot plants that may trigger your pollen allergy. Make sure your desk area is regularly cleaned and dusted.

Image credits: iStock

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