sometimes upset a group of people. This hysteria can
the attention of the supervisors.
Different conditions influence
be passed along or accepted by others. Contagious
hysteria often occurs in an office work force. Factors
usually connected with the hysteria include:
Problems with contagious hysteria usually erupt
during periods of seasonal change. Changing climate
results in changing humidity and the need for the body
excessively detailed or boring tasks
to acclimatize to different atmospheric conditions.
Notice static electricity around
duplicating machines, and check relative
humidity of the office air. Low
perceived unfairness of working
humidity dries skin and increases static
conditions caused b y p h y s i c a l
electricity. This results in skin
arrangements in the work space.
sensitivity, causes paper fibers to jump
Classically, a few individuals including a leader
and electricity discharges that snap and
or spokesperson begin feeling bites and discover rashes
sting as well as cause hair to move on
and other skin eruptions. These individuals identify
the skin, giving the impression, of
certain portions of rooms where the pests are common
and demand control. Supervisors usually do not
Periods of changing clothing styles,
believe there is a pest problem, since they are usually
e.g., winter to spring, summer to fall
unaffected by the contributing conditions, but they may
find people more restive. Changing
be recruited as pressure for results mounts.
climate and changes between heating
and air cooling results in dry or humid
Look for pest infestations such as mites
infesting stored products or populations
Responses to the problem are needed. By the time
of psocids and fruit flies that may cause
responses are carried out, the condition often is
rectified. Discuss observations with management.
Inspect for fiberglass filaments and for
Suggest patience. Request physical changes in the
insect parts that could cause allergies.
Do not allow obvious miscellaneous
insects to become important for the sake
Inquire whether a pesticidal lotion has
of coming up with an answer.
been prescribed by a physician. If this
Carefully inspect the entire work area --
has happened, and it often does,
the nontargeted part as well as the
strongly recommend that the lotion use
be discontinued if no skin eruptions are
Listen to workers explain the situation
seen and substitute a non-pesticidal
fully; arrange for management not to
refute or ridicule their statements. Not
Inquire a b o u t t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f
having a hearing entrenches feelings of
unjust treatment. Ask if the pests are
Recommend that the workers at the
ever seen biting; ask to see the pests.
center of the affected area be dispersed,
Leave alcohol vials, tweezers, and a
that desks and furniture in that area be
small brush so pests can be collected
wiped down with disinfectants, and that
when seen later.
intensive vacuuming or carpet cleaning
Notice the differences between the pest-affected
be done. Leave the area empty for a
and non-affected parts of the work place.
time if possible.
Check air conditioning, air filtering,
Balance air cooling or heating. Bring
work space furniture, amount of
relative humidity to 65 percent.
window space, carpeting, type of work,
proximity to duplicating equipment,
availability of refreshments, and
Unless there is real evidence of pest problems,
NEVER apply pesticides. Do not make false statements
compare the two areas. Where there is
relating to control of non-existent pests. Legitimate
an apparent discrimination, bring it to
Module Two, Chapter 4, Pg 14