Hay fever affects mood, self-esteem

2012-10-01 14:04

Hay fever interferes with South Africans’ work performance, romantic relationships, self-esteem and influences your mood swings, a survey has found.

The survey which polled more than 1 700 allergy sufferers in South Africa, found that symptoms of nasal allergies are often severe enough to impair one’s overall quality of life.

The findings showed that:

» More than half of respondents felt that troublesome symptoms, such as sneezing and a persistently itchy and runny nose – usually accompanied by sinus pain and headaches – significantly influenced their mood, causing them to have less patience with their better halves, family, friends and co-workers;

» At least one in 10 of those involved in a romantic relationship felt that their allergy symptoms get in the way of romance while 25% felt less attractive or sexy;

» About 20% said it impacted negatively on their self-esteem and;

» Of those who were employed, two out of 10 said their allergy symptoms considerably reduced their productivity at work and 7% felt it even impaired their driving performance.

Mariska Fouche, spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics, the company which conducted the survey, said: “The (overall) findings of the survey indicates that when hay fever is not managed effectively it can diminish one’s quality of life.”

She explained that it also has a significant impact on romance and the way allergy sufferers behave towards their significant others.

According to the Allergy Society of South Africa one in five people living in this country are affected by hay fever.

The challenge with it, said Fouche, “it is still often under-diagnosed, which not only keeps sufferers from enjoying life’s activities to the full, but if left untreated could develop into an undesired complication such as asthma.”

Almost 60% of those polled in the Pharma Dynamics allergy survey confirmed that they weren’t on any medication for their allergy, partly because they didn’t feel there was a satisfactory product on the market.

Fouche notes that this may be as a result of patients perhaps not dosing or using medicines properly.

Said she: “If using a decongestant for example, it should only be taken for a maximum of five to seven days, because one can get used to its effects and could end up with a persistently blocked nose.

“A nasal steroid is another effective treatment option, which when not applied correctly will greatly reduce its efficacy. The direction of the spray is very important, so always aim towards the back of the head and laterally towards the angle of the eye on the same side as the nostril,” Fouche advised.

Other treatments include antihistamines, eye and nose drops.

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