People that suffer from allergies may struggle with eczema or asthma, or at worst go into anaphylactic shock.
Workplaces with dirty carpets, build-up of dust, artificial fragrances, fresh flowers, or foods that are allergens, can create very uncomfortable and unsafe environments for people suffering from allergies.
In this article, we explain how allergies affect New Zealanders, ways you can prevent allergic reactions in the workplace and how regular commercial cleaning can safely remove allergens that you can’t prevent.
Allergies in New Zealand
Unfortunately, allergies and asthma are a growing epidemic in New Zealand. Research by the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) shows that New Zealand has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world. According to the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation, that translates to 15.5% of adult New Zealanders suffering from asthma and 21% of children aged up to 14.
Allergies that kiwis suffer from are related to dust mites, food (including milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts, peanuts, wheat and soy), pollen, mold and artificial fragrances.
Managing Allergies in the Workplace
It is important to be aware of any allergies your staff have and look to ways to reduce triggers in your office and workplace environment.
When hiring employees, be proactive and ask about allergies.
If your staff suffer from food allergies, you can identify which foods are high allergens (such as nuts and eggs), and then request that co-workers do not bring those foods to work.
When hosting work functions, ensure there are non-allergen types of foods provided. For example, gluten free, dairy free, egg free, nut free foods.
Have a plan in place in case a staff member should have a severe allergic reaction resulting in anaphylactic shock. Train staff on how to use an epi-pen and when to call an ambulance.
Where possible, reduce pollens in the air. One way of doing this would be to use artificial flowers instead of fresh flowers.
Mold is caused by too much humidity or moisture in the air. Ensure that bathrooms are well vented to avoid moisture buildup. Air conditioners need to have their filters cleaned regularly – you can also use a certified allergy-friendly attachment to clean the air of allergens.
Ensure any mold that does grow is immediately cleaned.
Dust mites are tiny bugs that live in dust found on furniture and especially carpets. According to a study by BMC Public Health, New Zealand has amongst the highest levels of house dust mite allergen in the world.
Ensure that your office environments are regularly and professionally cleaned to remove dust mites.
Artificial fragrances can cause mild allergies. To prevent this use an allergy-free fragrance or ensure that staff maintain a physical distance from the dispenser.
How Commercial Cleaning can Reduce Allergies in the Workplace
Regular commercial cleaning will ensure your office spaces are clean and hygienic, removing allergens from the air, furniture and carpet.
Some ways that commercial cleaners can combat allergies include:
- Using natural cleaning products
- Using pure water window cleaning methods
- Using high-efficiency particulate absorption vacuum cleaners
- Using high quality microfibre cloths
- Thoroughly cleaning all furniture, carpets, rugs, skirting boards
- Creating barriers through products such as Scotchguard for carpet and furniture to prevent dust buildup
- Providing professional advice on changes you can make that will reduce mold or allergen build-ups
It is important to hire a good commercial cleaning company that will provide a quality cleaning service to ensure that the job is done right.
Sadly, allergies are a growing epidemic in New Zealand, with almost a quarter of our children now suffering from asthma and allergies.
Ensuring hygienic allergy-free work environments is crucial to keeping staff and clients safe and healthy. Regular commercial cleaning, alongside prevention techniques, will help too keep your staff and clients safe from allergic reactions.