(Originally Published September 05, 2017)

If you work in an office, you may be wondering what the most common office allergies are. You may even feel a bit off at work and haven't been able to figure out why. This page lists out the top 5 common office allergens - and what can be done to stop or reduce them. If you're tired of dealing with a dusty office, contact Kitchener Clean today!

The Top 5 Most Common Office Allergies

See if you've been affected by any of the following common office allergies with our top 5 allergen list.

1. Dust

Dust is an extremely common allergen, so it is no surprise that it has floated onto our list! Dust is everywhere; in your car, in your home, and definitely in your office. There are ways to significantly reduce the amount of dust in your office, but it requires experience and patience.

Dust likes to collect pretty much everywhere! That is the problem with dust - it collects in even the most unnoticed and seemingly harmless spaces, building up until it becomes a problem. According to Humana.com, there are many areas in the office that staff and even commercial cleaners neglect, such as:

  • Computers and keyboards
  • Plugs
  • Computer cords
  • Baseboards
  • Window cells and window wells
  • Underneath office furniture

Forgetting to clean these areas can cause big problems for workers who are sensitive or allergic to dust. If your office is older or has recently been renovated, there may be huge amounts of dust particles floating throughout the air and landing in forgotten spaces.

The Solution: Clean those neglected and forgotten spaces! Consistently cleaning and wiping away dust is a great way to keep workers happy and healthy. Hiring an experienced office cleaning company can help keep dust at bay. At Kitchener Clean, our standard of cleanliness is so high that we don't just clean around objects, we take the time to lift them up and clean underneath! We clean those frequently forgotten places and ensure a dust-free office.

2. Mold

Another common and expected allergen, mold can disrupt daily work life in any office or workplace. Mold may be more difficult to find in offices, especially if you don't know where to look. Unlike dust, mold is toxic and can have serious health effects on anyone, not just those who are allergic to mold. Common symptoms of mold exposure include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Asthma-like symptoms

Poorly ventilated and older buildings that are prone to water leaks are at higher risk for mold growth. However, any office, no matter how old, can become moldy without proper care and precautions.

The Solution: Keeping your office clean and dry are the best ways to prevent mold from building up and spreading. Mold loves damp places and usually spreads around water pipes and other frequently moist areas. If you have a leak, ensure you fix it immediately before mold growth can begin. Ensure carpets are regularly deep cleaned, especially in the winter when snow and slush may be tracked in.

3. Mice

Nobody likes the sign of pests in their office, especially mice. But did you know that many people are actually allergic to mice? That's right, if you're having allergic symptoms in the office and can't figure out why, then mice might be your problem. Some people even experience asthmatic type symptoms when exposed to mice - that may include wheezing and shortness of breath. Most people think mice are gross. What's even grosser is how this common mice allergen is spread - through their urine. A protein in mice urine is often responsible for allergic reactions, and unfortunately, this protein can actually go airborne.

The Solution: A properly ventilated office will help prevent this airborne allergen from building up. Setting up mice traps and ensuring your office space does not have any easily accessible nooks and crannies for mice to slip into is another way to help stop a mouse problem before it begins. Mice are capable of squeezing through even the tiniest, thinnest cracks.

Hiring a professional cleaning company to ensure kitchens and floors are 100% free of food residue can also help ensure that your office does not look like a tempting buffet to mice.

4. Fragrances

You may love the smell of your vanilla-scented perfume, lavender hand soap, or mango body lotion. Your co-workers however, may not. They may even be allergic to your favourite fragrance! According to the Canada Safety Council, fragrances today are made from a large mixture of both natural materials and chemicals (sometimes up to several hundred!) Chemicals and even natural products used in fragrances can cause allergic reactions in many people, and may include symptoms such as:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Nausea
  • Muscle pain
  • Cold-like symptoms

It is likely that you work with at least one person who is allergic or sensitive to fragrances, especially because all fragrances are made differently. One fragrance may be okay, but another may cause severe asthmatic symptoms.

The Solution: It is nearly impossible to remove every scent from the workplace, as deodorants, shampoos, and body washes typically contain some form of fragrance. However, many workplaces in Canada have implemented strict no-fragrance policies. This usually means no applying perfume or scented lotions before or during work.

5. Cleaning Products

It may seem strange that cleaning products makes the list, as a clean office is usually the best way to avoid and prevent allergens! However, many people are sensitive or allergic to harsh cleaning products and chemicals. Common cleaning products can cause a host of symptoms, especially if used on a regular basis. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Eye irritation
  • Nose irritation

Many workers are allergic to chemicals but have no idea that is what may be causing their problems. In an ABC News article, former nurse Kathy Sperrazza talks about the long journey to discovering her chemical allergy. It became such a big health problem that she had to leave her job.

Kathy stated, "Some people don't know why they have asthma. They don't understand that it might be their work." - Kathy Sperrazza, ABC News.

The Solution: Everyone, even those without chemical allergies can benefit from green cleaning. Using non-toxic and environmentally friendly cleaning products can help reduce or completely eliminate allergic reactions and discomfort in workers. Did you know that Kitchener Clean uses only non-toxic cleaning products?

Kitchener Clean - Helping Your Office Stay Allergen Free

At Kitchener Clean, we are dedicated to helping create safe and healthy work environments. Allergies can wreak havoc in your workplace. It might mean more sick days due to headaches and nausea, and it may make workers feel uncomfortable and even uncared for. Putting good practices into place, such as no fragrance policies and ensuring leaks and cracks are fixed as soon as possible will help keep everyone safer and happier.

Hiring an experienced cleaning company who knows to clean all the usually forgotten nooks and crannies and how to avoid mold and dust build up will help keep your office space clean and your workers healthy. We believe that everyone should be entitled to breathe clean, chemical-free air at work. That's why we are dedicated to providing non-toxic and environmentally friendly cleaning solutions that are safer than traditional cleaning methods.

“I have no qualms about recommending Kitchener Clean. They live up to their motto "Helping businesses achieve a healthier work environment and a cleaner world."

-- Susan