SANTA MONICA, Calif., Oct. 13 (UPI) -- There's been progress in addressing food allergies in schools, but a U.S. food expert says there are few allergy-friendly work policies.
"The ever-annoying allergy symptoms -- whether environmental or food related -- might make it tough to get through the work day, especially if you are not comfortable sharing the fact that you have allergies with your co-workers," Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, trend watcher and creator of supermarketguru.com, said in a statement.
"Sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes, brain fog, headaches, etc. can lead to a loss in productivity; and add to that the effects of allergy medications, which can make you drowsy," he said.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates missed work and reduced productivity due to allergies cost U.S. companies more than $250 million a year.
Allergens such as dust and mold, and even pets in the office, can cause allergic reactions.
"If work lunches or catered dinners has you worried about a food allergy, let your employer know you have an allergy and that either they need to provide you with something suitable, or you will bring your own food," Lempert suggested. "If dust or mold is the issue, simple changes could help eliminate your trigger. Dust your desk space regularly and ask others do the same. Ask that old, soiled, dusty or moldy carpets are replaced because this could be the main trigger of your allergies."