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A dog at work is allergy sufferers’ nightmare

Globe file/2012

RE “Man’s best friend must behave at work” (Etiquette at Work, Money & Careers, Aug. 4): I am appalled by Peter Post’s seeming lack of awareness, as he touts the joys of having your dog at work, of the needs and concerns of the one in five Americans who have allergies.

The noise, smells, and distractions of an animal in an office setting are significant enough. But it is inexcusable not to consider that one might be causing other workers and any visitors to the workplace to suffer allergy symptoms.

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It is not simply a question of being aware of cleaning up your dog’s messes and shed hair. It is the microscopic dander that is the problem. It lingers, becomes airborne, and is inhaled. Exposure to a pet causes others to suffer itchy eyes, nasal and chest congestion, headaches, and breathing problems that they often continue to endure long past the end of the workday and into the night. They require more medication and become vulnerable to having a more severe asthma attack if they are faced with another trigger that they can’t avoid, such as a smoker lingering near the doorway.

Where I work, where we regularly receive calls from people whose asthma and allergies are triggered by a colleague’s perfume or pet dander. It seems that etiquette at work includes having an awareness of helping to maintain a safe and healthy work setting for fellow employees, vendors, and customers.

Sharon Schumack

Director of education

and programs

New England chapter of

the Asthma and Allergy

Foundation of America

Needham

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