Sunday, January 15, 2012

Final Exams And Allergies Don'T Add Up

It's that time of year again. Students cramming to prepare for their annual final exams. For the one in five students who suffer from seasonal allergies this difficult time can be made even more challenging thanks to the sneezing, runny nose, itchy watery eyes and nasal congestion that accompany allergic rhinitis.
Allergies and their complications take a significant toll on student's attendance and performance in school. Studies in the U.S. show that allergic rhinitis is responsible for up to 2 million lost school days annually, which translates into 10,000 absences per school year. In Canada, this represents about 200,000 lost school days per year and 1,000 absences annually.
Students who seek protection from their allergy symptoms must be wary of the type of treatment they choose.
Antihistamines are typically recom-mended to treat allergies. They work by blocking the action of histamine, the substance that's behind allergy symptoms. There are many different brands of antihistamines but they all belong in two classes. The older, first generation antihistamines typically bring relief for about three to six hours. Unfortunately their formulations also bring many side effects including drowsiness.
The newer, second generation anti-histamines have a different molecular structure from the older antihistamines. They can relieve allergy symptoms for up to 24 hours - so you can take them once a day. And newer, learning friendly, antihistamines like Claritin are non-drowsy which help you perform tasks like studying and writing exams that require alertness. Make sure, however, to read your medication package properly because not all antihistamines are non-sedating. Specifically, you should look for the words "non-drowsy" on the box.
This is important as recent studies show that students with seasonal allergic rhinitis taking a sedating antihistamine performed significantly worse than allergy-free students on exams measuring factual, conceptual knowledge and knowledge of application. However, students taking non-sedative antihistamines performed significantly better.
For more information on allergies and their effect on learning contact 1-800-665-1507 or visit