Study: Allergies, Asthma Hurt Work Performance

July 6, 2001
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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Dave Blanchard, Editor-in-Chief: During his career Dave has led the editorial management of many of Endeavor Business Media's best-known brands, including IndustryWeekEHS Today, Material Handling & LogisticsLogistics Today, Supply Chain Technology News, and Business Finance. In addition, he serves as senior content director of the annual Safety Leadership Conference. With over 30 years of B2B media experience, Dave literally wrote the book on supply chain management, Supply Chain Management Best Practices (John Wiley & Sons, 2021), which has been translated into several languages and is currently in its third edition. He is a frequent speaker and moderator at major trade shows and conferences, and has won numerous awards for writing and editing. He is a voting member of the jury of the Logistics Hall of Fame, and is a graduate of Northern Illinois University.

Adrienne Selko, Senior Editor: In addition to her roles with EHS Today and the Safety Leadership Conference, Adrienne is also a senior editor at IndustryWeek and has written about many topics, with her current focus on workforce development strategies. She is also a senior editor at Material Handling & Logistics. Previously she was in corporate communications at a medical manufacturing company as well as a large regional bank. She is the author of Do I Have to Wear Garlic Around My Neck?, which made the Cleveland Plain Dealer's best sellers list.

Nicole Stempak, Managing Editor:  Nicole Stempak is managing editor of EHS Today and conference content manager of the Safety Leadership Conference.

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