A fifth of hay fever sufferers have taken time off work because of their condition… but they’re afraid to be honest about it with the boss
UK media report that the Well Pharmacy group’s research, commissioned ahead of the UK’s Allergy Awareness Week (23-29 April 2018), involved 1,660 hay fever sufferers, 19% of whom had had a sick day thanks to their allergies.
A third of those, however, said that they had not been entirely honest with their employer about the reason for this time off, though: most said that they were concerned that hay fever would not be seen as a satisfactory reason to take sick leave.
Well Pharmacy quoted pharmacist Jane Devenish, who said that hay fever affects up to 30% of adults and 40% of children in the UK.
“Symptoms can be severe, including headaches, blocked sinuses, shortness of breath, watering red itchy eyes, and even difficulty hearing, which can have a real impact on quality of life,” Ms Devenish said.
The Well research showed that a third of people who were allergic to pollen found themselves too fatigued to concentrate at work as a result of their allergies.
Another 44% said that they found it difficult to maintain focus because of the need to constantly sneeze or blow their noses.
A fifth said allergies meant they were irritable towards their colleagues, while 15% said the fact that they have to spend all day indoors during pollen season places limits on their ability to do their job.
The majority – 84% – said their pollen allergy has a negative effect on their quality of life outside work, as well; a similar number find allergy affects their ability to sleep.
Almost half said that people who don’t have pollen allergies are “not very understanding” about the effect of hay fever.
Most sufferers did try to treat their condition, with 85% saying they used antihistamines, 44% a nasal spray and 31% eye drops – yet 84% said they still have symptoms despite taking these medicines.
Ms Devenish pointed out that “Only 33% of people surveyed had ever seen a pharmacist for treatment”.
“I would urge the 84% who still experience symptoms, despite their treatment, to pop in to see their local pharmacist for a consultation about the best treatments to help them manage their symptoms better.”