If you’re among the many gainfully employed Americans who blame work for their poor health, it turns out you might be on to something. Some doctors say the culprit of all the sniffles, sneezes and coughs plaguing businesses during the hot, steamy summer months is the lowly office cubicle.
, doctors in urban areas of the country are seeing an increase in the number of patients with “Cubicle Cold” a phenomena plaguing people who spend prolonged periods of time working in an air conditionined office. Unlike the colds and flus that make their rounds during fall and winter months, Cubicle Cold cases are most common in the summertime, when businesses turn their thermostats down to 64 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit to ward off hot, humid temps outdoors. In India, the monsoon season also plays a role, as office workers arrive to work wet from the pouring rain and then sit in damp clothing all day.
“People generally complain of symptoms like blocked and stuffy noses in their offices. Few people also get persistent sneezing and dry cough for a few weeks to a month. In 90 percent of cases, these people say that they work in a cold air conditioned environment for prolonged hours. Those who already have the allergenic tendency have more severe symptoms like watering of eyes and headaches,” ear, nose and throat consultant Dr. Ritu Sheth told the Times.
There are several ways to prevent Cubicle Colds, according to the Times. ENT surgeon Dr. Rajeev Nerurkar and Dr. Sheth offered the following tips:
Employers can reduce the risk of Cubicle Colds by creating a healthier office environment. Dr. Nerurkar and Dr. Sheth offered the following suggestions:
If your cubicle is surrounded by victims of Cubicle Colds, there’s still hope that you can ward it off so it doesn’t disrupt that beach trip you have planned. According to the CDC and the Mother Nature Network, there are some basic preventative measures you can take to stay healthy:
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