1 2
CarKid1989
CarKid1989 Dork
8/22/10 9:35 p.m.

I dunno exactly in what order to start so bear with me:

I have been working at machine shop for 5 years now. The pay is great, the hours are super flexible, the boss is my second cousin and a lot of family works there. Its a small family owned shop and they treat me well.

However, in the last 5 years, it seems as though my allergies went from non existent to crazy hyper. At first i thought i was just growing up and my body was adjusting weird to things, but things never went away. I thought this was odd. I was the person who never had hay fever or seasonal allergies, never had allergies to ANY animal, never had problems with dust or household allergens and all of a sudden, seemingly coinciding with me working at the machine shop im getting all sorts of problems. In this shop you have coolant fog, dust, and cutting oils lingering in the air and im breathing that in.

So i started by going to my doctor. He thought that maybe the allergy season was strong and i was having a rough time with it so i got some medicine and went on my way. It did not really help me at all. I have taken Loredadine, Clariton,Zytrec, as well as knock offs of all of these. I have taken Benadryl and a hand full of others. None seem to work.

Now during these past 5 years i have been miserable with allergies. I have a relentless runny nose, watering eyes--sometimes itchy, more runny nose, congestion, lots of coughing but not really with flem or anything coming up. Its frustrating, makes me a pain to be around and really makes me feel horrible and helpless. Not only that but everything around me triggers allegries. You name it and my body starts acting up. I used to not have ANY problems with ANY thing. now i pet a cat for a minute and the day is shot due to symptoms and the next day is shot for recovery. it sucks.

[my theory is that work messes up my sinuses and weakens/ messes it up so bad that allergins that used to not effect me now do because my immune system has been weakened. since i always work, it never heals or gets better so im always sick, while im away from the shop i begin to heal and i get better b/c my immune system is working...this is my theory]

SOOOO, every year in the summer our company has two weeks shut down. Over shut down, my allergies have almost totally disapperared. I was in good health and good spirits and stopped taking any and all allergy medicine because i was feeling that well.

Then this past week i went back to work. Within a few hours of working my allergies slowly crept back. As im typing this full symptoms have returned and i feel like crap.

This leaves me thinking two things:

A) When i was on vacation (one week out of state, the other week mostly away from home) my allgeries cleared making me believe that my job is causeing my allergy problem

OR

B) Work has nothing to do with it and there is something in my home thats making me sick (and/or work is not helping)

First of all whats your guys/gals input on this?

I am thinkin of taking 2 more weeks off from work. If i remain sickly then its something in my house. if i get better like i was on vacation then its something at work.

IDEAS?

THanks

carguy123
carguy123 SuperDork
8/22/10 10:04 p.m.

How happy are you with your job? I'm told that many time work related allergies aren't actually allergies but stress from trying not to beat up the shiny happy person next to you or your boss.

integraguy
integraguy Dork
8/22/10 10:23 p.m.

At a machine shop there is no telling what is in the air.

When you go on vacation, do you leave the area or hang around your home? I never had a problem with allergies until I moved here (Memphis), and even then not until about 10 years ago. Sometimes they "seem" to kick in when I leave the area, but usually they hit me in the fall and spring....but oddly, sometimes neither season or just one. My theory for my allergies is that it somehow ties in to my NOT getting outside and getting fresh air.

Did you work in a machine shop before this job?

And finally, yes you can grow into and grow out of allergies.

I suspect, something at your job site, or something in your area MAY cause an allergic reaction. My suggestion? The next time your allergies kick in, take a few days off, but stay in the same geographic area...to see if it's work or home related.

CarKid1989
CarKid1989 Dork
8/22/10 10:37 p.m.
carguy123 wrote: How happy are you with your job?

Its a great job. Low stress. Great people at where i work. If i wanted to i could change from just a job to life long career at this place if i so choose

CarKid1989
CarKid1989 Dork
8/22/10 10:41 p.m.
integraguy wrote: When you go on vacation, do you leave the area or hang around your home? My theory for my allergies is that it somehow ties in to my NOT getting outside and getting fresh air. Did you work in a machine shop before this job?

This time i spent a week in New Jersey and a week at home/ friends houses.

Your theory intrigues me. cause i have wondered the same thing. it actually really make me think you may be on to something and its not just my crazy ideas.

And this is my first job in a machine shop

mtn
mtn SuperDork
8/22/10 10:45 p.m.

One way to combat pollen allergies is to eat local honey. I don't know how much it would help in your situation, but it wouldn't hurt to try.

grimmelshanks
grimmelshanks Reader
8/22/10 11:05 p.m.

i also work at a machine shop and crappy health kinda seems to go with the business, i always have a headache when im at work

CarKid1989
CarKid1989 Dork
8/22/10 11:14 p.m.
grimmelshanks wrote: i also work at a machine shop and crappy health kinda seems to go with the business, i always have a headache when im at work

if thats true then im outta there. im too young for health problems due to a part time job.

i can switch fields/ jobs if the shop is gonna kill me haha

Schmidlap
Schmidlap Reader
8/23/10 9:35 a.m.

Can you try wearing a dust mask while working to cut down on the particles you breathe in? At the end of the day it will probably be pretty dirty, especially if you guys do a lot of grinding. Since you're working for family I assume you don't want to rock the boat too much, but you can use the dirty dust masks to try to convince the owners to improve the ventilation in the shop, or get them to provide the masks.

Something like this: 3M Dust Masks

Something else I just thought of: instead of switching careers, how do you feel about specializing? Most of the shops that I've visited that have had CNC laser cutters have always had them in their own rooms with excellent ventilation and the rooms were always very clean. Or try getting a job as a CNC machinist and work with machines that have doors on the machine to keep coolant, chips etc from getting into the atmosphere. Of course, if the CNC machines are in the same room as the rest of the shop this won't help much.

Bob

914Driver
914Driver SuperDork
8/23/10 10:03 a.m.

When you got the medication, did they test you for allergies? Do you know what you are allergic to?

I worked in a machine shop for a looooong time, most allergies are to water soluable coolant and it usually shows up on the skin.

YMMV.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt Dork
8/23/10 10:12 a.m.

I used to work at a job shop and had some safety-related responsibilities. You might be suffering from metal fume fever caused by small metal particles in the air. I wasn't terribly vulnerable to it myself, but it did make my food taste funny. Does the machine shop do any laser or plasma cutting, grinding, or welding? They're the worst offenders, and zinc (galvanized steel) is a lot worse than iron. You can try wearing a dust mask or respirator on the job and see if that helps it clear up.

CarKid1989
CarKid1989 Dork
8/23/10 10:39 a.m.
914Driver wrote: When you got the medication, did they test you for allergies? Do you know what you are allergic to? I worked in a machine shop for a looooong time, most allergies are to water soluable coolant and it usually shows up on the skin. YMMV.

I was not tested and do not technically know what im allergic to.

We use a lot of water soluble coolant. SuperSol 110? something like that.

Ohhh i wonder if that could be it.

How would i go about narowing it down?

Take two weeks off or tget tested for allergies?

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
8/23/10 10:41 a.m.

You have an allergy, or allergies. It is not a sign of a weak immune system, but the sign of a hyperactive one.

You were out of your normal environment for 2 weeks and you got better. Now, where were you? How far away from home? Obviously, your allergy is to something in your house, home area or work/work area. Are you seeing an allergist? It's time to if you're not. Allergies can happen anytime. I won't get into the details of it all, but your working theory is incorrect. If the oral and/or intranasal meds available today (and there are some good ones) are not helping, then it's time for allergy shots. They just have to find what's causing your problems. Could be anything from pets, trees, fabric (the sofa?), something at work, etc. Are your allergies worse at work or at home?

I am allergic to a mold that grows in grain dust. I would go into anaphalactic shock every time my ship went up the Mississippi River. I actually found out when we loaded grain one time instead of oil.

eastpark
eastpark New Reader
8/23/10 11:12 a.m.

I worked in a machine shop for 3 years (about 30 years ago). Where I worked the conditions were always damp from spring to fall as all the doors and windows were left open. So the pollen + mold theories make sense. You could try to wear a mask and see if you still have issues.

Have you noticed a difference in the winter?

Drewsifer
Drewsifer HalfDork
8/23/10 11:19 a.m.

+1 for its time to go see an Allergist. That is the only way you can know for sure what is causing this.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt Dork
8/23/10 11:53 a.m.

Dr. Hess may have more to say about this, but IIRC metal fume fever is not an allergy. I would still talk with an allergist, as things like mold and chemicals would be allergies though.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
8/23/10 1:19 p.m.

You can be allergic to anything, including metals. As an example, cheap jewelry can cause contact dermatitis in some people. What people call "metal fume fever," or metal poisoning is not an allergy.

A mask would be completely useless. A full respirator or gas mask would help you, but isn't very practical for wearing all day.

Anyway, it's time to amp up the professional assistance level.

Hal
Hal Dork
8/23/10 5:47 p.m.

Do what Dr. Hess says. My wife started having problems at age 30. the family doctor suspected allergies and sent her to an allergist in another city 20 miles away.

After the allergist had done some testing and confirmed the diagnosis he sent us to another doctor 50 miles in the opposite direction to get the serum a formulated.

Fortunately there was a health unit at her work where she could get the shots.

After 10 years of shots and twice a year visits to 2 doctors some distance away it was determined that she did not need the shots any more. Another year and she was ale to quit the other medicines she was given inplace of the shots.

That was 20 years ago and she hasn't had any problems since.

Go see an allergist!!!

Stealthtercel
Stealthtercel Reader
8/23/10 7:12 p.m.

+1 to seeing an allergist. +ten million to NEVER taking Benadryl or other allergy meds that slow you down if you're working around flying metal. Feeling like crap is bad enough without losing something vital.

The modern non-drowsy stuff like Claritin is OK, but the old-school brands can be dangerous.

And if you decide your immune system needs a little help, check out Vitamin D.

ignorant
ignorant SuperDork
8/23/10 7:37 p.m.
CarKid1989 wrote: We use a lot of water soluble coolant. SuperSol 110? something like that.

does the coolant stay in the sumps for a long time without being cleaned up, flushed out, or refilled?

I worked in a BIG industrial shop and we had all kinds of problems with E36 M3 growing in the coolant. 5 will get you 20 there is some kinda bacteria growing in that coolant that is causing you problems. You guys probably aren't that great at making sure the coolant is of the proper concentration and don't clean your sumps.

I've seen coolant problems, in shops, so bad that people get all kinds of dermatitis. It's not pretty, horrid rashes and burns up peoples arms.

Your shop needs a proper coolant management system with a good makeup program and biocides added to the sumps.

Get the berkeley out of that shop.

CarKid1989
CarKid1989 Dork
8/23/10 8:53 p.m.

well first things first. im trying to get an appointment at an allergy specialist this week. Ill just go straight to them instead of playing detective myself.

ignorant
ignorant SuperDork
8/24/10 5:20 a.m.
CarKid1989 wrote: well first things first. im trying to get an appointment at an allergy specialist this week. Ill just go straight to them instead of playing detective myself.

just tell me, when was the last time you saw a guy in that shop check coolant with a refractometer and/or have a sump pumped out cleaned and refilled?

do your own googling on issues with bacteria and allergies with water based coolant..

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess SuperDork
8/24/10 9:13 a.m.

If it is mold/bacteria in the sump, walking by and casually "spilling" a cup of bleach in it would do wonders. Also remember that you're supposed to pour a cup of bleach in the AC evaporator of your house regularly. They usually have a port on them near the drain just for that.

Anyway, work with an allergist. They can get you figgered out.

4eyes
4eyes HalfDork
8/25/10 1:47 a.m.

I would bet a months pay it is the water soluable coolant. Even if kept fresh and bacteria free, some brands/mixtures can cause severe reactions. I had respiratory symptoms and NO skin reaction.

Itzrdx
Itzrdx
1/29/20 4:05 p.m.

Carkid1989 please contact me I have the same allergy / symptoms as you I also work in a machine shop. I have a constant runny nose had a two week break and all symptoms disappeared did you ever solve your allergy issue? 

A reply would be greatly appreciated 

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
SKL6ey7nIzzY8SEh5fPLj8thUopU8OQfAsIgj4wjxxFCHkvVVipkD12nO19CjFho