Allergy Awareness Week.
April 24 - 30 2023 is Allergy Awareness Week in the UK.
Allergies affect around 60% of people in the UK and can range from food, pollen, insects, and metal among others. Symptoms of allergic reactions can be mild to life threatening in certain cases, these can include:
- Swollen eyes or swollen skin around bites and stings
- Respiratory difficulties
Over half the allergy sufferers in the UK said they regularly avoid social situations because of their allergies and downplay them for fear of judgement from colleagues and employers, leading to feelings of isolation.
If you have severe allergies, it is important that you make your employer aware, so they can spot the signs if you have a reaction at work. Letting them know where you keep your AAI (adrenaline auto-injector) device, and how to use it can be vital in getting treatment quickly.
Less severe reactions are also worth recording on your HR record, for example, hay fever symptoms such as headaches and tiredness can explain reasons for requesting to work from home or needing an air purifier to work comfortably in the office when the pollen count is high.
How can you as an employer support your staff?
Encouraging people to keep their workspaces clean and tidy can help to eliminate dust and other impurities that can trigger allergic reactions. Air conditioning units and purifiers can be expensive but could be considered to assist with providing a comfortable workspace for employees.
Food allergies are becoming more common, so taking care with foods purchased for the office or being sensitive to what someone can and can’t enjoy can help prevent feelings of isolation and being excluded due to allergies.
Be sure to keep cleaning products, and food, in appropriately labelled packaging, keeping their ingredients and any warnings clearly displayed, allowing allergy suffers to avoid contact with them if necessary.
For more information check out these resources:NHS Allergies