How to Allergy-Proof Your Home

How to Allergy-Proof Your Office

Some people seem to live in their offices as much as they do their homes. That means those places, too, need to be kept as free of allergens as possible. This section will help you allergy-proof your work environment.

An Allergy-Free Office: Work at Keeping Things Clean

So you thought you could escape allergens at home and seek refuge at the office? Not likely. The office has its fair share of allergens and irritants, too. Perhaps your co-worker comes to work covered in cat hair. Perhaps the heating vent blows dust onto your desk. To save money, the boss insists on natural air conditioning, pollen season or not. There are plenty of allergens at the office.

Although you have less control over your office environment, these are some things you can work at:

  • Cover the computer monitor and keyboard every night. Use a damp cloth or similar product to wipe down your immediate office equipment once a week.
  • Use a damp cloth or similar product to wipe down the desk, picture frames, and furniture twice a month.
  • Don't rely on the office cleaners to dust regularly. They usually have enough to do. You may, however, want to inquire as to how often they vacuum. If it's not enough, put in a special request and hope for results.
  • A messy desk may be the sign of a creative mind, but it's also the sign of a dust collector. Make it a policy to file papers that aren't immediately needed. If filing just "isn't in your nature," consider hiring a professional organizer. They won't clean your desk, but they will work with "your nature" to help you develop and maintain an efficient filing system.
  • Throw out all old newspapers after clipping out relevant articles.
  • Don't leave dirty coffee cups on your desk unless you want to start a lab experiment. Mold spores breed in coffee.
  • Throw your leftover lunch into a receptacle designed for food, such as the break-room trash can.
  • Remove plants.
  • Close all windows, or at least your office window.
  • Keep wall decorations to a minimum.
  • If you have a choice, use leather or vinyl chairs, as upholstered fabrics are a dust-mite delight.
  • If possible, get a used solid wood, metal, or glass desk, as a new cheap, particleboard desk emits irritating formaldehyde fumes. The same goes for shelving.
  • Turn off all electronic equipment when it's not in use. Photocopiers have a reputation for emitting ozone, an environmental pollutant. In closed offices, the ozone can build up, creating problems especially for those with asthma or allergies. Make sure the copier room is well-ventilated.
  • Request that the entire office be a smoke-free, fragrance-free environment. It may take some persuasive lobbying, but your nose and lungs will thank you.
  • If you have some clout in company decisions, hire a cleaning company that uses only natural or environmentally friendly cleaning detergents.
  • Make sure there is an adequate ventilation and filtration system if you work in an environment where chemicals are used. Additionally, all chemicals, paints, glues, cleaners, and solvents should be tightly sealed and stored inside proper containers.

Now that we've allergy-proofed your office, let's head back to the home, where we'll look at preparing your car and garage. Both areas will be covered in the next section.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.