Allergic rhinitis and hay fever affect 1 in 5 adults in the UK. Peak pollen counts (May to July) coincide with GCSE examinations and hay fever sufferers are likely to drop a grade in their exams due to detrimental symptoms of hay fever. 70% of hay fever sufferers are on antihistamines and of these at least 28% are on sedating antihistamines such as chlorphenamine. This further compounds the problem of concentration and fatigue at exam time. The way forward is to recognise the impact of hay fever on quality of life and concentration, and to prepare for the exams using a non sedating antihistamine (desloratadine, fexofenadine or levocetirizine) or preferentially a low-dose steroid nasal spray (fluticasone, mometasone or beclomethasone) that won’t impact cognitive function.
Reference BSACI guidelines on management hay fever