Ask The Allergista: Where do you buy your cotton blankets and how do I tell my boss I'm allergic to my chair?

Q:

Can I ask you where you found your 100% cotton blankets that you use when traveling/staying in hotels? I have to do some traveling for work and I like your idea of traveling with your own blankets. I can't use blankets that have been washed in regular detergent due to my chemical allergies, so I'm going to need to bring my own.

This allergy diagnosis has been tough to adjust to. I started a new job on Monday and I noticed on Wednesday that the undersides of my forearms and wrists are red, inflamed, and have started peeling as if I had a sunburn. A little research helped me determine that the arm rests on my work chair are made out of rubber (which I am allergic to). I haven't figured out how to tell my new job that I'm allergic to my...chair. Sigh. Was it hard for you to tell your work about your allergies?

Any tips?

A:

I actually got my blankets from Target! And I didn't have to order them online. They always have 100% cotton when I walk into any of their stores. It's AWESOME. This is my favorite one so far:

cotton_blanket I keep it on the couch for extra comfiness. Love, love, love it.

Regarding your next question about whether or not the arms of your chair could be bothering you... I DEFINITELY get allergic reactions to that stuff. I use a chair at work that has no arms. Most office chairs have removable arms, actually. If you ask nicely and explain your situation, they'll most likely try to work with you on it. For me, it wasn't difficult for me to tell everybody about my allergies.... I told my boss before he hired me. I wish I didn't HAVE to, but it's kinda unavoidable. It's in my best interest to do so, and it's not my fault, so I figure if they have a problem with it, they're the ones in the wrong. And anyways, your employer is legally obligated to provide a safe working environment for you. I'm sure there are some limitations in that, but your safety and health are important at work. My boss actually paid to have my desk covered in glass (which is awesome) because I react to the synthetic desktop.

new_cubicle

glass_countertop

Turns out there's polyester in a lot of counter tops and my skin HATES polyester. I try to avoid the arm rests in my car as well, but every now and then I forget. After my vacation a couple weeks ago where we drove 3 hours to our destination, I ended up coming back with some pretty bad reactions on my left elbow from my arm resting against the seat belt. It's pretty much healed by now, but I knew better. I noticed that seat belts bother my skin a while ago.

This Caledulis Cream has been helping my elbow:

calendulis_cream

It ROCKS. I highly recommend purchasing some for yourself.

Good luck and I hope your skin has improved!

Sincerely,

The Allergista

**UPDATE: The Calendulis Cream is no longer available as they JUST began adding propylene glycol to it! :-( The Eczema Company has pulled it from their shop as a result of the new ingredients.