Asthma is a respiratory condition that affects roughly 26 million Americans, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology. When exposed to an irritating trigger, the airways constrict making it difficult to breathe and can induce coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. For some, asthma can be a debilitating condition making everyday tasks difficult to accomplish. This includes working adults, who can have a difficult time being productive when asthma gets in the way. Follow these tips for creating an asthma-friendly workplace to increase your health and productivity.
As we’ve discussed in previous posts, asthma action plans for children in schools are an important part in helping students manage their asthma. The same goes for adults in the workplace. Keeping track of triggers, peak flow readings, and medications helps keep you organized during an attack. This may also be useful for others to help during an emergency. Each asthma sufferer experiences different triggers and reactions, so it is important to keep your plan unique to you.
Organizations like the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America and American Lung Association have downloadable PDF action plans that can be filled out and kept on file. Letting others know you have asthma and how they can help is also a necessary way to be asthma-ready in the workplace.
Allergy sufferers share many of the same triggers as asthma sufferers, so identifying common triggers can be beneficial for several people in the office. Some common asthma triggers are:
Discuss these concerns with office and building management to help discover what options are available for creating an asthma-friendly workplace. Identifying the triggers is a good place to start when deciding what changes need to be made at the office.
While you may not have the ability to adjust office building structures or HVAC systems, there are simpler ways of creating an asthma-friendly workplace that do not involve extensive and expensive building construction. Air quality products like humidifiers and air purifiers can make all the difference for asthmatics battling poor office air quality.
Venta’s 2-in-1 evaporative humidifier and air purifier, the Venta Airwasher, was designed for offices. Busy workdays go uninterrupted by the Airwasher’s whisper-quiet operation. Unlike traditional humidifiers that produce a visible hot steam or cool mist, the Airwasher’s humidification is invisible, ensuring it never becomes a distraction in the office.
This unique features is also an added benefit for asthmatics. Humidifiers that produce a forced-moisture steam or mist can produce too much humidity, causing mold growth, a trigger for asthmatics. The Airwasher’s Cold Evaporation technology guarantees even moisture dispersal, so asthma and allergy sufferers alike can breathe easy without the danger of over-humidification.
While adding just the right amount of moisture to the air, the Airwasher simultaneously draws in airborne particles like dust, dander, and mold spores. These particles are trapped in the unit’s reservoir and only pure, humidified air is released back into the room. For any asthma sufferer, the Airwasher is an ideal dual-functioning product to have in the office.
For large office spaces up to 2700 square feet, Venta offers a large space Airwasher. The Kuube XL-T features three ways to operate your unit: the digital touchscreen display, infrared remote or through the Venta App when WiFi is enabled. Easily adjust humidity levels between 30% to 70% in 5% increments, or enable the auto feature which allows the appliance to automatically regulate the fan speed based on the air quality in the room. These features make it simple to operate the Kuube XL-T from outside the office, so setting the optimal conditions can be done on your morning commute, for example.
Discover more air quality machines from Venta. Next generation Airwasher humidifiers, air purifiers, and hybrid humidifier/air purifiers deliver intelligent design to bring you smarter air.
Just because a colleague uses a certain type of inhaler does not mean you should be using the same one. Consulting with your doctor for what medications are right for you is critical in managing your asthma. Keep any medication or inhaler on hand at the office in case of an attack. Just as you would let the school nurse know about your condition in case of an emergency, inform colleagues and management of your asthma.
As you keep your home clean to avoid dust and other clutter build-up, do so at the office. Schedule aside time to clean your work space, including your keyboard and piles of paper.
If your office has a cleaning service that comes in at the end of each day, inquire about what types of cleaning supplies they use. Some industrial cleaning supplies contain chemicals that can irritate asthma and allergy sufferers. If possible, request eco-friendly or natural cleaning supplies that will not cause an asthma attack.