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soccermom

Glutened At Work-retail

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Help! I have been recently diagnosed and have been gluten-free for about a month. I was so sick that I was off work until I felt better. I started feeling better just a few days after cutting out gluten. I have recently returned to work and I get glutened everyday. I work retail and there are so many ways to get glutened that I'm not sure what to do. My coworkers and I share the computer keyboard, and the register keyboards. Customers bring in their children who spill cracker crumbs all over the floor. I clean it up quickly, but we have carpet and I probably am not getting it all. I'm sure the money that I handle is glutened.

It is impossible for me to wash my hands constantly. The bathroom is in the back and I can't run back there continuously. When I returned to work, I cleaned everything, but it is impossible to clean the computer and register keyboards everytime I work, especially since others have access to them the same time I do.

If there is anyone out there who has any suggestions, I would be grateful. I was feeling so good before I returned to work and now, I'm back to where I started.

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First ((((((((hugs)))))))) I know this has to be so frustrating for you. I don't know what kind of a shop you work in but perhaps a sign on the door forbiding food and drink would be helpful, and if that is not possible if someone else could clean up those crumbs that would help. If needed get some disposable powderless gloves to wear when on the computer at the register. Also take a look at what your taking to work to eat everyday. Are there items that you were not eating a lot at home? Gluten can be sneaky and sometimes 'regular' food may look gluten-free but can be heavily cross contaminated. Look at the soap also in your employee bathroom, is that for sure gluten-free? How about lotions? Have you eliminated gluten from your shampoos, makeup, toiletries etc? If you are putting on makeup for work that you didn't wear a lot at home that may be the culprit. It is not unusual to have a few setbacks, it can be hard to ferret out all gluten sources. Be sure to check vitamins and meds also. I hope things settle for you soon, I am sure others will also reply with some of their ideas also.


Courage does not always roar, sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying

"I will try again tommorrow" (Mary Anne Radmacher)

Diagnosed by Allergist with elimination diet and diagnosis confirmed by GI in 2002

Misdiagnoses for 15 years were IBS-D, ataxia, migraines, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, parathesias, arthritis, livedo reticularis, hairloss, premature menopause, osteoporosis, kidney damage, diverticulosis, prediabetes and ulcers, dermatitis herpeformis

All bold resoved or went into remission in time with proper diagnosis of Celiac November 2002

 Gene Test Aug 2007

HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 1 0303

HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 2 0303

Serologic equivalent: HLA-DQ 3,3 (Subtype 9,9)

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You could try talking to management about this issue. It might be possible for them to make a policy that workers can only eat in the break room and hands should be washed prior to returning to work. Food allergies are becoming common enough that you can approach it from a point of customer safety. If there's food crumbs all over the place, the shop also can't be that clean and maybe food is getting on the merchandise. If it's a large, chain store, maybe you could ask to do a slightly different job like restocking and helping out at the dressing room instead of working the register.


Gluten-Free since September 15, 2005.

Peanut-Free since July 2006.

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I can *SO* relate to this issue! I am working on other employees as to what they eat and where, and they are much better at washing their hands after eating. If I had any control over customers there would be no food eaten in the store.

Yes customers get gluten on *ALL* of the merchandise. I am quite sure every piece of money in the country is contaminated. The best I can suggest is to remember to keep your hands away from your face. That's a toughie for me, but that's the best I can offer. :wub:


Sandi ~ learning to live in a world obsessed and infested with wheat.

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows" probably was not referring to us . . .

"For the love of money gluten is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (apologies to 1 Timothy 6:10 (NASB)

The person we most dislike is still a soul for whom Christ died. (David Jeremiah)

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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I am the store manager and have educated everyone about this disease. We do have a no food policy in the store, but customers ignore it. Many bring in strollers with the trays filled with cereal, crackers, etc. to keep their little ones occupied while shopping. It is a small retail store in a mall with a food court. Short of wearing gloves, I'm not sure what to do. Because payroll is limited, everybody does everything from customer service, registers, stocking, etc. We keep hand sanitizer at the register area, but I'm not sure if this will work.

Also, I'm not sure what goes on when I'm not there. There is a no food on the sales floor policy, but who knows what happens when I'm gone. This job requires me to work closely with customers (we do bra-fittings). I'm sure there is gluten everywhere in the store.

I have been very careful about bringing food to work and making sure my eating area is clean before I eat. I did find out that one of my national managers has Celiacs also. Although I don't think she worked at the store level, she can at least sympathize and maybe give some suggestions.

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My best suggestion is KEEP YOUR HANDS OUT OF YOUR FACE. I actually have to work WITH gluten ( I do a breakfast buffet) but I 1) always wear gloves when touching it, if possible and 2) never bring food that requires me to touch my food. You really need to do whatever it takes to keep your hands away from your face and hair. Shellack your hair with hairspray, whatever. I keep my food sealed until I'm going to be able to eat it privately (hopefully) without interruption. I learned that lesson when I had a bowl of food out on the counter in the kitchen and I knocked something over, which dropped crumbs into my bowl and I missed out on breakfast that day. But I take a utensil from home, wrapped in plastic, and have sealed food that doesn't require touching.

The suggestion that you're wearing makeup or using products you weren't when working is a good one too. The foods you may be eating for work that you didn't before may also be suspect.


If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill

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This job requires me to work closely with customers (we do bra-fittings). I'm sure there is gluten everywhere in the store

There is always the possibility that the customer whose bra you are fitting could be wearing gluteny lotions, make-up or contaminated clothes. You might want to wash up after each customer as a precaution . . . .


Sandi ~ learning to live in a world obsessed and infested with wheat.

"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows" probably was not referring to us . . .

"For the love of money gluten is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (apologies to 1 Timothy 6:10 (NASB)

The person we most dislike is still a soul for whom Christ died. (David Jeremiah)

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