Discussion:
Co-worker Coughing - ideas???
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Newman
2011-02-10 15:22:09 UTC
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Background...

There is a fellow at work who, as it turns out, is asthmatic. He is a
great guy and has been with the company for close to 10 years. In that
time the company has moved twice. In out first two locations there was
no problem. Both of these locations were reneted or leased.

The company has now purchased, renovated, and moved into our own
building. It is a lovely building with better HVAC and climate
controls than previous locations, more space, bigger offices, etc.

However, this guy is living a nightmare here. As soon as he gets out
of his car, he starts coughing. This continues when he gets inside the
building and all day. I talked with him and asked if he had seen a
doctor about it. He has. In fact, he is using the same looking puffers
as my wife has in the past. These puffers are doing very little for
him. He just sits there for the better part of 8 hours coughing so
loudly that you can here it at the other end of the building. This is,
by his own account, very painful. I am not surprized at all!

I have genuine concern for this man. He is not only a great guy, but
he is an absolute guru with CAD Programs. He is a very valuable asset
to our Engineering Department. If he should leave, his replacement
would have some 10 years of product knowledge to play catch-up
football on. He has two young (< three years old) daughters, and if he
sould have to leave this would be a significant impact on his family
as well. This man as had his fair share of hard knocks over the years.
The company, having invested significantly in this building, will not
be moving again any time soon. So...

I am not convinced that the problem relates to the building itself.
The fact that he starts coughing outside before he enters the building
is very telling. It sounds environmental to me, but I have no clue
even where to start. If there is something that can be done for this
man to modify his inside environment and alleiviate the problem then I
am game to bring the suggestion forward.

It is obvious to me that if this continues for an extended period of
time that we will loose this man because he either gets fed-up or
outright gets sick and goes off on long-term disability.

As a company we are in the dark on all this. Any and all information,
ideas, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. While I do not speak
for the company itself, I am a manager. Even though this man does not
report to me, I care about all employees - and I care about people as
well. If there is something that can be done...

Thanks in advance!
Travis
2011-02-11 13:37:51 UTC
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Post by Newman
Background...
There is a fellow at work who, as it turns out, is asthmatic. He is a
great guy and has been with the company for close to 10 years. In that
time the company has moved twice. In out first two locations there was
no problem. Both of these locations were reneted or leased.
The company has now purchased, renovated, and moved into our own
building. It is a lovely building with better HVAC and climate
controls than previous locations, more space, bigger offices, etc.
However, this guy is living a nightmare here. As soon as he gets out
of his car, he starts coughing. This continues when he gets inside the
building and all day. I talked with him and asked if he had seen a
doctor about it. He has. In fact, he is using the same looking puffers
as my wife has in the past. These puffers are doing very little for
him. He just sits there for the better part of 8 hours coughing so
loudly that you can here it at the other end of the building. This is,
by his own account, very painful. I am not surprized at all!
I have genuine concern for this man. He is not only a great guy, but
he is an absolute guru with CAD Programs. He is a very valuable asset
to our Engineering Department. If he should leave, his replacement
would have some 10 years of product knowledge to play catch-up
football on. He has two young (< three years old) daughters, and if he
sould have to leave this would be a significant impact on his family
as well. This man as had his fair share of hard knocks over the years.
The company, having invested significantly in this building, will not
be moving again any time soon. So...
I am not convinced that the problem relates to the building itself.
The fact that he starts coughing outside before he enters the building
is very telling. It sounds environmental to me, but I have no clue
even where to start. If there is something that can be done for this
man to modify his inside environment and alleiviate the problem then I
am game to bring the suggestion forward.
It is obvious to me that if this continues for an extended period of
time that we will loose this man because he either gets fed-up or
outright gets sick and goes off on long-term disability.
As a company we are in the dark on all this. Any and all information,
ideas, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. While I do not speak
for the company itself, I am a manager. Even though this man does not
report to me, I care about all employees - and I care about people as
well. If there is something that can be done...
Thanks in advance!
Symptoms can be triggered by the outside environment and intrinsically
as well, which means it could be triggered by psychological stress. If
he's under a lot of pressure at work, you can help him out with stress
management, etc.

Uncontrolled symptoms need a little more aggressive therapy besides an
albuterol rescue inhaler. Check to see if he's taking an inhaled
corticosteroid and a long-acting bronchodilator in addition to his
rescue inhaler. There are also anti-asthmatic meds he can be taking.

He needs to see a pulmonologist, if he isn't. Family doctors can treat
mild cases, but uncontrolled asthma should be handled by specialists.

Travis

http://BestAsthmaResources.com
noname87
2011-03-10 23:28:35 UTC
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First, I like to thank you for being a good manager.

Could be many things. One thing that comes to mind is the new office.
If your company put in new carpet, painted the walls, or brought new
furniture, he could be reacting to chemicals (think formaldhyde and
other VOCs) that are outgasing from the new materials. If it is the
paint, it should get better with time. Furniture can take a long time
to outgas. This has caused major problems for my daugter.

Some ideas that could help. Remove the carpet from his cubicle.
Repaint the walls with non VOC paint (try "Earth" paint)(I doubt
repainting would help at this point). Replace his furniture with older
furniture (solid wood or metal would be better, avoid particle board
and foam). An air purifer might help. If the chemicals are the issue,
you need a high quality one (expensive but far cheaper than trianing a
new worker). Avoid any air freshners including plug-ins anywhere in
the office and avoid cleaners in his work area. Try to put printers
and potters outside his immediate work area.

As for the coughing starting outside, are there any smokers around? If
so, that alone could set him off. My daughter can take hours to days
to recover from a close encounter with a smoker. Cigar and pot are
even worse.

It could be that his asthma is no longer under any control. That is an
issue for his doctors.

The hardest thing about asthma is determing the triggers. It can be a
long trail and error process. We are still trying to figure out all
our daughters triggers after five years. Doctors and drugs only get
you so far when you have servere asthma. He needs to look closely at
what has changed in his enviroment.
Post by Newman
Background...
There is a fellow at work who, as it turns out, is asthmatic. He is a
great guy and has been with the company for close to 10 years. In that
time the company has moved twice. In out first two locations there was
no problem. Both of these locations were reneted or leased.
The company has now purchased, renovated, and moved into our own
building. It is a lovely building with better HVAC and climate
controls than previous locations, more space, bigger offices, etc.
However, this guy is living a nightmare here. As soon as he gets out
of his car, he starts coughing. This continues when he gets inside the
building and all day. I talked with him and asked if he had seen a
doctor about it. He has. In fact, he is using the same looking puffers
as my wife has in the past. These puffers are doing very little for
him. He just sits there for the better part of 8 hours coughing so
loudly that you can here it at the other end of the building. This is,
by his own account, very painful. I am not surprized at all!
I have genuine concern for this man. He is not only a great guy, but
he is an absolute guru with CAD Programs. He is a very valuable asset
to our Engineering Department. If he should leave, his replacement
would have some 10 years of product knowledge to play catch-up
football on. He has two young (< three years old) daughters, and if he
sould have to leave this would be a significant impact on his family
as well. This man as had his fair share of hard knocks over the years.
The company, having invested significantly in this building, will not
be moving again any time soon. So...
I am not convinced that the problem relates to the building itself.
The fact that he starts coughing outside before he enters the building
is very telling. It sounds environmental to me, but I have no clue
even where to start. If there is something that can be done for this
man to modify his inside environment and alleiviate the problem then I
am game to bring the suggestion forward.
It is obvious to me that if this continues for an extended period of
time that we will loose this man because he either gets fed-up or
outright gets sick and goes off on long-term disability.
As a company we are in the dark on all this. Any and all information,
ideas, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. While I do not speak
for the company itself, I am a manager. Even though this man does not
report to me, I care about all employees - and I care about people as
well. If there is something that can be done...
Thanks in advance!
Yevgen Barsukov
2011-03-11 16:29:09 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Newman
Background...
There is a fellow at work who, as it turns out, is asthmatic. He is a
great guy and has been with the company for close to 10 years. In that
time the company has moved twice. In out first two locations there was
no problem. Both of these locations were reneted or leased.
The company has now purchased, renovated, and moved into our own
building. It is a lovely building with better HVAC and climate
controls than previous locations, more space, bigger offices, etc.
However, this guy is living a nightmare here. As soon as he gets out
of his car, he starts coughing. This continues when he gets inside the
building and all day. I talked with him and asked if he had seen a
doctor about it. He has. In fact, he is using the same looking puffers
as my wife has in the past. These puffers are doing very little for
him. He just sits there for the better part of 8 hours coughing so
loudly that you can here it at the other end of the building. This is,
by his own account, very painful. I am not surprized at all!
I have genuine concern for this man. He is not only a great guy, but
he is an absolute guru with CAD Programs. He is a very valuable asset
to our Engineering Department. If he should leave, his replacement
would have some 10 years of product knowledge to play catch-up
football on. He has two young (< three years old) daughters, and if he
sould have to leave this would be a significant impact on his family
as well. This man as had his fair share of hard knocks over the years.
The company, having invested significantly in this building, will not
be moving again any time soon. So...
I am not convinced that the problem relates to the building itself.
The fact that he starts coughing outside before he enters the building
is very telling. It sounds environmental to me, but I have no clue
even where to start. If there is something that can be done for this
man to modify his inside environment and alleiviate the problem then I
am game to bring the suggestion forward.
It is obvious to me that if this continues for an extended period of
time that we will loose this man because he either gets fed-up or
outright gets sick and goes off on long-term disability.
As a company we are in the dark on all this. Any and all information,
ideas, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. While I do not speak
for the company itself, I am a manager. Even though this man does not
report to me, I care about all employees - and I care about people as
well. If there is something that can be done...
Thanks in advance!
It would be useful to change his doctor, if present one can not get
his asthma under control.
Typically bronchodilators and steroids are capable to alleviate acute
symptoms.
They should also look beyond asthma, there might be some other lung
issues to consider.

In addition to improved medication, breathing exercise could be
useful, not only
during attack, but specially when done every day it reduces frequency
and severity of
attacks. The one that is easy to self learn and does not require
any classes is Strelnikova exercises. The self-learning guide and
other resources are here:
http://sudy_zhenja.tripod.com/strelnikova_exercises.htm

Regards,
Yevgen
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