Study: Allergies, Asthma Hurt Work Performance

People with nasal allergies cite their condition as a major cause of decreased work effectiveness, while those diagnosed with asthma are less likely to work at all, according to researchers.

People with nasal allergies cite their condition as a major cause of decreased work effectiveness, while those diagnosed with asthma are less likely to work at all, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco report.

Dr. Paul D. Blanc and colleagues interviewed 125 adult asthmatics with or without nasal allergy (rhinitis) and 175 adults with rhinitis alone, according to the report in the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology.

"Both asthma and rhinitis have an impact on people's working lives, and although the impact of asthma is more severe in terms of stopping work altogether, the effect of rhinitis in terms of the day-to-day working life is substantial," said Blanc.

Among those with asthma, 12 percent had not worked since the onset of their condition, while for those with rhinitis alone, only 3 percent had not worked at all from the onset of the condition, the investigators found.

Loss of a full or partial day of work in the month before the interview was reported by 24 percent of those with asthma and by 23 percent of those with rhinitis.

Partial work-loss days were somewhat more frequent among those with rhinitis alone, while full days off from work were slightly more common among asthmatics.

"We should continue to give a lot of attention to asthma as it affects work, because it is a common disease among adults of working age," Blanc noted. "But we probably have given too little attention to rhinitis and its impact on work."

Edited by Virginia Sutcliffe

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