man relaxing in lawnchairA 2001 article in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine estimates that 3.5 million workdays are lost each year due to allergic reactions. Another study analyzing the impact of allergic reactions on workers cited that 25% of research participants self reported having lost time at work and/or school in the last seven days prior to their first assessment. What this means for workers and employers is that they should remain aware of the products and environmental conditions that trigger allergic reactions in some and prepare a plan of action to prevent or respond to emergencies.

Some of the most common allergic reactions from exposure to chemicals and environmental allergy triggers can include asthma, rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and dermatitis. Occupational asthma, characterized by wheezing and tightness in the chest is a particular concern amongst those who work in bakeries, animal health facilities, people dealing with chemical paints and cleaning solutions, farm hands, and hair stylists.

Occupational rhinitis is reported as being 3 times more prevalent than asthma in the workplace. People with rhinitis will experience a stuffed up, itchy nose and frequent sneezing. Rhinitis is often a prelude to asthma for many workers over a number of years.

Acute symptoms of occupational dermatitis is experienced as red, itchy, swollen skin often caused by latex or exposure to chemicals.

If you believe you are experiencing an allergic reaction due to exposure at work, it is important to be tested so as to not prolong suffering. Oftentimes simple substitutions can offer relief. For example, if you are allergic to latex gloves, put in a request to your employer for non-latex gloves. Other situations may be more complicated and should not be addressed without the support of a qualified allergist.

The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine is a peer-reviewed guide to good health in the workplace for physicians, nurses, and researchers.


About RAMC: Located in Redondo Beach, CA. Riviera Allergy Medical Center (RAMC) provides a medical facility for a wide range of allergy and asthma related conditions, from nasal allergies and hay fever to skin allergy conditions and scalp eczema. If you or your children are in search of seasonal allergy relief, skin allergy treatment, sinus problems or headaches, or have shown signs of an ibuprofen allergy, you are encouraged to contact the team at RAMC. The office also may be contacted by phone at 310-792-9050.  Visit the site at

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To schedule an appointment, please call our office at 310.792.9050 or use our online Request an Appointment form. For additional information on any condition, treatment or procedure, please visit our Health Education Library.

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