It's hard enough to cope with allergies on the weekend, but dealing with
allergies at work is even more challenging.
Ask anyone who's ever dozed off in the middle of an important meeting
because of allergy symptoms or medications.
"Allergy symptoms are the No. 2 reason adults miss work," says James
Sublett, MD, a board-certified asthma and allergy specialist in Louisville,
The average worker with allergies misses about one hour per week over the
course of a year. But that sick time is...
Maybe your allergy medications knock you out. Sure, they control your allergy symptoms, but they also zap your energy and make you inattentive on the job.
Or maybe something at work is kicking your allergies into high gear. Once you walk in the door, you can feel them getting worse.
Taking Control of Allergies at Work: Where to Start
You don’t have to let allergies make you miserable at work. You can manage allergy symptoms and improve your concentration by following these three steps:
Understand the problem of allergies at work
Identify workplace allergy triggers
Find the best allergy medicine
Stress and Work Allergies
Many patients complain of increased allergies when there’s high stress at work, says Gailen Marshall, MD, PhD, director of the division of clinical immunology and allergy at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
People often think the allergy trigger is a work-related exposure. But Marshall tells WebMD that stress from work deadlines, conflicts with co-workers, and long hours can all increase allergy symptoms.
Feeling Too Tired to Work
If your allergies make you feel exhausted at work, the reason why may be more than just a bad night’s sleep.
“Blame your overactive immune system,” says Greg Martin, MD, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of pulmonary, allergy and critical care at Emory University in Atlanta. Persistent, ongoing activation of the immune system triggers chronic inflammation, and this causes fatigue, Martin tells WebMD. Here’s how it works:
Allergies are characterized by inflammation
Inflammation produces substances called cytokines
Cytokines move from our nose through the bloodstream and into our brain, causing allergy symptoms that tell us we are sick
In fact, Marshall says that fatigue is a key symptom of allergies. When allergies are poorly treated, you also get symptoms such as nasal congestion and snoring that can ruin sleep, he says.