U.S. schools offer support for children with allergies, but the workplace is far less supportive of those with food or other allergies, a U.S. food expert says.

“The ever-annoying allergy symptoms — whether environmental or food related — might make it tough to get through the workday, especially if you are not comfortable sharing the fact that you have allergies with you co-workers,” Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, trend watcher and creator of supermarketguru.com, said in a statement.

“Sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes, brain fog, headaches, etc. can lead to a loss in productivity; and add to that the effects of allergy medications which can make you drowsy.”

Allergens such as dust and mold, and even pets in the office, can cause allergic reactions, Lempert said.

“If you work with chemicals, or foods and are suffering only at work, you may be allergic to an ingredient,” Lempert said. “If going out to work lunches, or catered dinners has you worried, let your employer know you have an allergy and that either they need to provide you with something suitable, or you will bring your own food.”

If dust or mold is the issue, clean desk space regularly and ask others to do the same. Use a HEPA filter in your office space, or at your desk, Lempert advised.


By Phil Lempert
May 29, 2012