It’s a condition which 18 million people in the UK suffer from – however a new study has discovered hay fever sufferers get less sympathy from their boss than colleagues with hangovers.

An in-depth study of 1,540 working hay fever sufferers and non-sufferers, commissioned by eye care specialist Optrex, has revealed almost half (42 percent) of those with the pollen-triggered condition say colleagues who come to work feeling worse for wear after a few drinks the night before receive more sympathy than them.

And in the workplace, one third (33 percent) of sufferers claim they “get no sympathy whatsoever” from their boss – while a quarter (26 percent) claim co-workers don’t offer any kind words – and 28 percent say they hate the way people belittle the condition.

But to add insult to injury – a staggering one in ten (11 percent) of the non-sufferers studied claimed they did not think hay fever is even a “real condition”.

However one fifth of those who suffer with summer sniffles (18 percent) claim their hay fever “really gets them down”.ID-10054759

The study also showed over a quarter of sufferers (27 percent) believe hay fever is not taken seriously by friends and colleagues – however a gung-ho 30 percent say they try to soldier on and do their best to deal with it.

More than half (54 percent) of hay fever sufferers claim their symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes and a streaming nose, have been ignored by colleagues or bosses either all the time (18 percent) or once in a while (36 percent) when arriving at work – and 4 in 5 (83 percent) say they have never been offered the opportunity to go home when symptoms were bad.

Allergy specialist Dr Dermot Ryan explains how debilitating the summer months can be for hay fever sufferers: “It is shocking how much hay fever is trivialised in the workplace. Itchy, watery eyes are no small concern when it comes to putting in a long day at your desk and this can be made worse by staring at a computer screen. With many sufferers now sensitised to multiple types of pollen which are released at different times of the year, hay fever symptoms can be experienced for prolonged periods and on more than one occasion throughout the year.”

Eight hours of desk-time suffering with hay fever can be uncomfortable and impact work efficiency, with three quarters (75 percent) saying their symptoms can affect their productivity at work .

A spokesperson for Optrex explains “Having a product at your desk to help tackle itchy and watery eyes could provide much needed lasting relief, meaning you can concentrate on your working day. Optrex ActiMist 2in1 Eye Spray for Itchy and Watery Eyes is simple to use.”


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