To coincide with the beginning of the summer exam season, a new campaign has been launched to highlight the potential impact of hay fever on exam performance.
"Unblock Your Potential" targets school nurses and other primary healthcare professionals throughout the UK and emphasises the important role they can play to help combat the problem.
The campaign has been developed in response to data published last year that showed that young people with hay fever are 40% more likely to drop a grade between their "mock" and final GCSE exams than those without hay fever – rising to 70% more likely if they are taking a sedating antihistamine.
A recent government report also recommended that there should be a review of the clinical care that hay fever sufferers receive at school, and a reassessment of the way in which they are supported throughout the examination season.
"As healthcare professionals we are trying to reduce any inequality that is possible in health terms. The study findings indicate a significant reduction in examination results in a condition that in primary care we can diagnose and treat successfully. We should be aware, support positive treatment of hayfever and certainly avoid sedating medications," commented Dr Steve Holmes, former chair of the General Practice Airways Group (GPIAG) and GP based in Shepton Mallet, Somerset.
The campaign materials include a poster that can go up in schools and GP practices, and educational resources for healthcare professionals to encourage best practice in the management of hayfever. Healthcare professionals requiring additional copies of the resource pack can request them from email@example.com