Objective. This study evaluated the frequencies of allergic symptoms and rate of upper respiratory infections during the past year in the general population, kitchen workers (KW) and health care workers (HCW). Methods. The European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) was used to inquire retrospectively about asthma and asthma-like symptoms and the number of treatments required for previous upper respiratory tract infections (URTI: acute pharyngitis, acute sinusitis, etc.) during the past year for health care workers, kitchen workers, and members of the general population. Adjusted odds ratios by gender, age, and smoking status were calculated. Results. 579 subjects (186 from the general population, 205 KW, and 188 HCW; 263 females, 316 males) participated in the study. Noninfectious (allergic) rhinitis was significantly higher in the HCW and KW groups than in the general population (P < 0.001). Cumulative asthma was significantly higher only in the HCW group (P < 0.05). In addition, the HCW and KW groups had significantly higher risks of >= 2/year URTI (OR: 1.59, 95% CI: 1.07-2.38 versus OR: 1.57, 95% CI: 1.05-2.38) than the general population. Conclusion. Occupational allergic respiratory diseases are an important and growing health issue. Health care providers should become familiar with workplace environments and environmental causes of occupational rhinitis and asthma.