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December 13, 2010
Occupational rhinitis refers to nasal symptoms caused or triggered by exposure to an agent in the workplace. This takes two forms:
Office Rhinitis: Symptoms occur in a particular office, or office building.
Non-office Rhinitis: Symptoms occur only in a special work situation.
Occupational rhinitis can affect a broad range of workers: the president of the company, the secretarial staff, the janitorial service, security, the gardener, as well as beauticians, photographers, and veterinarians.
There are only a few scientific studies that have determined the frequency with which workers in offices and office buildings suffer various symptoms. These studies suggest that from 15 to 35 percent of office workers have work related symptoms. There are many studies that have examined the frequency of development with which workers in non-office environments develop work-related symptoms. The focus of studies on the non-office occupations rather than office occupations stems from the interest in the unique agents to which these workers are exposed while on the job. These non-office occupation studies have shown that 20 to 30 percent of animal-laboratory workers become allergic to the animals with which they work, 10 percent of bakers become allergic to flour, and 30 percent of workers exposed to platinum salts will become allergic to these chemicals.
General Symptoms of Occupational Rhinitis
Congestion Runny nose
Sneezing Itchy nose, throat, palate
Burning or stinging Headache
of the nose Drainage and cough