/publications/issue/2003/2003-05/2003-05-7223

Allergies Affect the Bottom Line

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Allergic rhinitis costs employers millions of dollars a year, according to the results from a study presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology in March. The study included 8267 employees at >40 employer locations who took the Wellness Inventory, a questionnaire that examined the impact of 11 health conditions on workplace productivity, including allergic rhinitis, pediatric allergy, stress, depression, and anxiety, as well as 4 caregiving-related conditions.

The data showed that allergic rhinitis is the most prevalent health condition in the workplace, with 55% of employees reporting symptoms, and it caused the most absenteeism and the highest level of lost productivity at work due to illness. According to the study, allergic rhinitis costs an average of $587 per employee a year, significantly higher than stress ($518), depression ($273), and anxiety ($250).

"These data confirm the severe impact illness such as allergies can have on productivity in the workplace," Paul Ratner, MD, MBA, lead investigator, said. "It is important that patients have access to a variety of affordable allergy treatment options so that they can find the 1 that provides optimal relief and lets them get back to their daily activities."