Allergy season is here. It can start as early as February depending on the weather and is caused by pollen from a variety of trees, grasses, weeds, and flowers. You will know it has arrived when your staff and coworkers are sneezing often and have itchy, watery eyes.
Seasonal allergies should be treated like they are contagious even though they are not. Sneezing, coughing, blowing noses, and touching itchy eyes spread plenty of germs. According to a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, sneezing is especially powerful. When a person sneezes, a “turbulent buoyant cloud” of droplets is expelled, traveling anywhere from 13- 26 feet. The remaining droplets can travel five to 200 times farther and linger in the air, possibly being circulated by the building’s ventilation system.
To relieve allergy symptoms and limit the spread of germs:
- Hand hygiene is the best defense, so motivating your staff and customers to wash their hands regularly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer is key. For more information, click here.
- Schools should encourage their students to wash their hands after recess and outdoor gym classes.
- Always turn away from others and cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough. Covering with a tissue or the crook of your arm is the most effective at containing a sneeze.
- Limit your time outdoors to keep your symptoms at a minimum.
- Take a shower after being outside to remove any residual pollen on your hair and skin.
- Those who plan to spend most of their time outside, such as at a campground or park, should choose a place that offers restroom and shower facilities to periodically wash off pollen.
Spring may mean allergies, but it also means warmer weather and longer days. Good hygiene practices in spring will keep you healthy and ready for summer!