Rhinitis and asthma can affect both job performance and attendance, according to new US research.
A survey carried out at the University of California showed almost 25% of people with either rhinitis or asthma had taken at least one day or part of a day off work specifically due to their illness in the previous four weeks.
A third of rhinitis sufferers reported that their symptoms were bad enough to have a negative impact on their job performance.
Hayfever is the most common form of allergic rhinitis in the UK, with an estimated 15 million sufferers and occurs as a result of our immune system's overreaction to pollen. Too much pollen stimulates the body's mast cells, which then break or degranulate, releasing mediators that include histamines.
These mediators can cause many symptoms including the unpleasant itching, red eyes, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, and itchy roof of the mouth and ears associated with hayfever. Many people take antihistamines to cope with their hay fever.
Airborne allergies expert Max Wiseberg said: “Histamines, as well as being the nasty things that cause the horrible symptoms of hay fever, are also very useful things which keep us alert, attentive and awake. That is why antihistamines can make us drowsy and can, therefore, affect our job performance.”