Hay Fever and Work Productivity
Allergy relief for hay fever may increase workplace efficiency
Here's some bad news for employers who have employees with seasonal allergies: hay fever may be responsible for the loss of millions of hours of work productivity every spring. Employers might want to look at ways to provide allergy relief to those employees suffering from hay fever to help increase their productivity.
A study has just been released that shows that the typical allergy symptoms, including sneezing, watery eyes and nasal discharge, cause workers to miss, on average, an hour of work per week. While losing an hour a week might not seem like much, the impact must be multiplied by some 20 to 50 million Americans that cope with seasonal allergies. The true impact to employers would actually be measured in millions of dollars.
*Hay fever[/hay-fever.aspx]doesn't only happen at work, of course. It is a 24-hour-a-day condition. Many people missed work due to lack of sleep or the impact of allergies on overall health.
The study looked at 577 people who had a diagnosis of allergic rhinitis. Each person was asked about their allergy symptoms, including severity and physician treatment. Based on the initial questionnaire, participants were split into 3 groups: those receiving care from their family doctor, those receiving care from an allergist and those managing symptoms independently.
Those under the care of a family doctor reported the greatest severity of symptoms.
Time off work with allergies started at a low of 0 and went to a high of 32 hours for one week, with the average being 1 hour per week. The majority of hours were actually missed during the peak of hay fever season, which meant that participants could be losing a full day of work in the height of the season.
Sleep disruption and decrease in quality of life were the biggest factors affecting the individuals' work life. This was true regardless of what group the participant was in. Allergy symptoms also affected work productivity.
For those who want the best in allergy relief, being tested makes the most difference. The best blood test according to previous work by Szeinbach is the ImmunoCAP IgE blood test. Some family physicians may have access to this test; patients should ask their doctors.
April 25, 2007