Allergies?

Hi all! I'm a new science technician who started working around a month ago. It is my first time working in a school and I am the only technician. I'm loving the job so far and it is a lovely school. However, I have been experiencing what I think might be an allergic reaction. It started off with a little bit of redness and itching in my face, but as the weeks have gone on it has spread to my neck, arms, chest and thighs. Its extremely itchy, my skin has started flaking off, my nose is often block and my eyes have even started to become swollen! I've started having a shower as soon as I get home but generally the redness and itching still persists.

I'm not really sure who to approach about this or what to do about it. I think my HoD will treat it as something trivial. Besides, it is hard to think of a solution to this, given I have no idea what is causing it. I haven't been handing things everyday, but I have been having a reaction everyday. Not only is it becoming unbearable but I'm worried about long-term health implications too. I do think it is caused by something in the school - it started when I started working and has never happened before, and I don't experience it at weekends.

I was wondering if anyone had experienced anything similar or just had any advice on how I can approach this situation.
 
I've had a few thing historically, but the air freshener the cleaners use to spray set my ashma off, so came to a arrangement where they don't spray in my corridor. I would personably check with the cleaning team if you can and ask them about their products. maybe get some samples and trial them one at a time at weekends, and the other one is the hand soap, maybe take in one you know your ok with, it just cuts down to try and figure it out.
Are you are eating anything there that is different from your normal? and have your tried any anti allergy tablets? they could help while you try and figure it out. the key it to really try and figure it out, takes time but will help you know how to figure out how to avoid it.
 
Are you working in a chemistry preproom? Do you have stored chemicals in with you? Do you have appropriated ventilation systems?
Yeah, my desk is located across from (pretty much) all the chemicals that we have, on shelves/in gratnels etc. . I don't have a chemistry background - my degree is environmental science - so a lot of it I've never interacted with before. I spend the majority of the day in the prep room. As for ventilation, I have 3 windows which I open when I first arrive on a morning and keep open all day.
 
I've had a few thing historically, but the air freshener the cleaners use to spray set my ashma off, so came to a arrangement where they don't spray in my corridor. I would personably check with the cleaning team if you can and ask them about their products. maybe get some samples and trial them one at a time at weekends, and the other one is the hand soap, maybe take in one you know your ok with, it just cuts down to try and figure it out.
Are you are eating anything there that is different from your normal? and have your tried any anti allergy tablets? they could help while you try and figure it out. the key it to really try and figure it out, takes time but will help you know how to figure out how to avoid it.
I had wondered if it could be something as everyday as the dishwasher tablets, dust, a teachers perfume etc. Historically I have had reactions to washing detergents before, but never this severe. Its so hard when I'm coming into contact with so many things every day! Thanks for the advice, I'll definitely try avoiding things like handsoap and washing up liquid etc in the meantime while I'm figuring it out.
 
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Nick Mitchener

COMMITTEE
Yeah, my desk is located across from (pretty much) all the chemicals that we have, on shelves/in gratnels etc. . I don't have a chemistry background - my degree is environmental science - so a lot of it I've never interacted with before. I spend the majority of the day in the prep room. As for ventilation, I have 3 windows which I open when I first arrive on a morning and keep open all day.

Your space needs forced ventilation, and it should be on a timer so it starts before you get in. There should also be a chemical store where the ventilation is on 24/7
 
Do you wear a lab coat - maybe it needs a rinse. I've reacted in the past to some detergents too- Bold 3 for me. I've also reacted really badly to one particular person's perfume - an Avon one! Maybe you could wipe down all the surfaces with water and only use something that you know is OK for you in the prep room. I've read about someone who had similar issues and it was an air freshener that squirts automatically.

Maybe keep a diary of when you're particularly bad/ bit better, which would help any investigation by H&S. Does sound like a GP appointment might be a good way forward and antihistamines.
 
Hi all! I'm a new science technician who started working around a month ago. It is my first time working in a school and I am the only technician. I'm loving the job so far and it is a lovely school. However, I have been experiencing what I think might be an allergic reaction. It started off with a little bit of redness and itching in my face, but as the weeks have gone on it has spread to my neck, arms, chest and thighs. Its extremely itchy, my skin has started flaking off, my nose is often block and my eyes have even started to become swollen! I've started having a shower as soon as I get home but generally the redness and itching still persists.

I'm not really sure who to approach about this or what to do about it. I think my HoD will treat it as something trivial. Besides, it is hard to think of a solution to this, given I have no idea what is causing it. I haven't been handing things everyday, but I have been having a reaction everyday. Not only is it becoming unbearable but I'm worried about long-term health implications too. I do think it is caused by something in the school - it started when I started working and has never happened before, and I don't experience it at weekends.

I was wondering if anyone had experienced anything similar or just had any advice on how I can approach this situation.
A former colleague of mine had a reaction like this, it flared up at different times and in the end she wore cotton gloves all day, under normal gloves (when wearing them) to give a layer of protection against "whatever" it was. Hers flared up around stressful/busy times - it was in industry - and she saw a dermatologist in the end. It was found that the soap seemed to make it worse, and we got in baby-soap for her to use. Definitely speak to manager and H&S as they do need to investigate fully.
 
Are you working in a chemistry preproom? Do you have stored chemicals in with you? Do you have appropriate ventilation systems?
This was my first thought too. Lack of ventilation can cause all sorts of problems. It is most definitely not trivial. Your employer has a legal obligation to make sure your workplace is both healthy and safe.
 
As for ventilation, I have 3 windows which I open when I first arrive on a morning and keep open all day.
Windows do not count as ventilation because they won't be opened when it's cold. Chemical stores and prep rooms where chemicals are stored must have 24 hour "forced ventilation" Sorry I can't remember the CLEAPSS document number where this is set out.
 
A former colleague of mine had a reaction like this, it flared up at different times and in the end she wore cotton gloves all day, under normal gloves (when wearing them) to give a layer of protection against "whatever" it was. Hers flared up around stressful/busy times - it was in industry - and she saw a dermatologist in the end. It was found that the soap seemed to make it worse, and we got in baby-soap for her to use. Definitely speak to manager and H&S as they do need to investigate fully.
My spouse developed something similar from his lab work - it was a combination of stress, gloves, humidity, among other things. It took cotton gloves in his nitrile gloves and steroid cream to clear it out.

Definitely work with a GP, and keep H&S in the loop.
 
Sorry I can't remember the CLEAPSS document number where this is set out.
GL308 @minty - hope you can find the culprit soon. My partner has a bad Nickel allergy, it sounds very similar.

Nickel allergy signs and symptoms include:
  1. Rash or bumps on the skin.
  2. Itching, which may be severe.
  3. Redness or changes in skin color.
  4. Dry patches of skin that may resemble a burn.
  5. Blisters and draining fluid in severe cases.

BB101 section 5.7.4
Preparation rooms In chemistry preparation rooms, ventilation at the minimum exhaust rate should be continuous during normal working hours, with an override function for use out of these hours. Additional makeup air is required when a ducted fume cupboard is switched on.
BB101 section 5.7.5
Chemical stores Chemicals used in science should be stored in dedicated chemical storerooms. Continuous extract ventilation should be provided 24 hours a day with make-up air at low level and extraction at high level.
 
I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this @minty. When I first started here I had a flare up with my asthma and in the end I pinpointed it to the organic chemical storage cupboard a few meters away from my desk. The wooden cupboard had just absorbed all the organic vapours over the decades and absolutely stank. I relocated them to my chemical store which is in a separate room with proper ventilation and the site staff managed to remove the cupboard for me. As soon as they did I noticed a massive improvement in my symptoms.

I also had a reaction to the generic hand soap they use here, so now I buy a different brand that's kinder to my skin! Hope you get to the bottom of it quickly :)
 

Purple Cat

It's real Science not Rocket Science
Hi Minty,
Sorry to hear you have such a bad reaction to something at work. Are there any signs of mould (black dots) anywhere?
Like others have said it could be chemicals or cleaning products - what do the cleaners use, it could be something they have for mopping floors or in a spray bottle?
My allergy is probably unique so I know to avoid the item concerned (Oriental Lilies and their pollen)
The HoD, Senior Management and HR need to take account of what is happening, ignoring it is not an option
 
Some people are allergic to deodorant - one person on this board mentioned having symptoms after students passes by in a cloud of lynx.
Having had the pleasure of the sports science class go by I appreciate they meant - wouldnt have dared light a match - fire balls are frowned upon here...

Other than that better ventilation would help, and appropriate staff should be notified.
 
Some people are allergic to deodorant - one person on this board mentioned having symptoms after students passes by in a cloud of lynx.
Having had the pleasure of the sports science class go by I appreciate they meant - wouldnt have dared light a match - fire balls are frowned upon here...

Other than that better ventilation would help, and appropriate staff should be notified.
Lynx is a huge culprit. Always brings asthma on in me & an ex colleague.
 
Check with your site manager if there is an extract system. It may be switched off!!!!
Also make shure that any ventilation system is tested every 12- 14months. Just like the fume cupboards.
Site may no know this is required.
Ours failed the test when I started as the new senior tech.
We are getting it upgraded.
 
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