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Allergies, Asthma In The Workplace Study Reveals Major Work Impact (#1155)
The Institute for Health and Productivity Management (IHPM) has released the results of a first-of-its-kind study of more than 13,000 members of the Nevada Health Care Coalition to measure the effect of allergies and asthma on workers' health and productivity.
The study concluded that the total negative financial impact for lost workdays and productivity due to both allergies and asthma combined is estimated to be $1,412,801 monthly or $17,061,612 annually. Asthma is a common chronic respiratory disorder affecting 14 to 15 million Americans.
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Millions more Americans have allergies - approximately 35 million suffer from hay fever alone.
Overall, participants reported a high prevalence of allergies and asthma and a corresponding large loss of effective work time and productivity as a result of these conditions:
* Half of the survey respondents have allergies, and 80% of respondents have an allergy sufferer in their households.
* Half of respondents with allergies use prescription drugs for treatment; 40% use OTC products; 25% use alternative medicines and/or avoid allergens; and 15% get allergy shots.
* Nearly one-fifth of respondents have asthma or have a dependent with asthma.
* 30% of asthma sufferers use inhaled steroids (two-thirds of them every day on doctor's orders) and 10% use Leukotrine inhibitors.
* 9% of all respondents reported missing an average of 2 [plus-or-minus sign] workdays in the past month because of allergies; 6% of respondents missed an average of three days due to asthma.
* 19% of all respondents reported missing partial workdays due to allergies and 11% due to asthma.
* 91% of sufferers worked an average of 13 days with allergy symptoms in the past month and felt they lost 20% of their productiveness.
* For asthma sufferers, half worked while experiencing symptoms, for an average of 10 days during the month, and felt they lost 50% of their productiveness.
* The negative financial impact for lost workdays due to allergies is estimated to be $1,015,775 monthly or $12,189,294 annually.
* The negative financial impact for lost workdays due to allergy and asthma is estimated to be $1,421,801 monthly or $17,061,612 annually.
"The study findings indicate that allergies and asthma, which are not commonly thought of as costly medical problems, have a huge impact on workplace productivity," said Sean Sullivan, IHPM president.
The method used for collecting data and measuring impact was a self-reported survey, administered to more than 13,000 employees of participating Nevada Health Care Coalition members. Response rate from the Allergy and Asthma Survey was high - 4292 surveys were returned, or about 30% of those distributed.
Interventions to educate employees about their allergies and asthma and better management techniques are now underway at participating employers, utilizing printed materials, videos, and live visits to employer sites by allergists in the community.
The study was funded by an unrestricted grant from Schering-Plough Corp.
This article was prepared by Immunotherapy Weekly editors from staff and other reports.