Hayfever lowers exam marks

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Children with hayfever are much more likely to get bad marks in exams than their healthy classmates, according to a new study.

The study by Prof Stephen Durham, of the Royal Brompton Hospital, claims hayfever can double the chances of the final grade being worse than those achieved in mock tests.

Prof Stephen Durham said: "Hayfever affects one in four people in the UK and is a distressing condition that may compromise what for most of us is the best time of the year.

"Unfortunately, the condition is often trivialised – not only by doctors and relatives, but by the patients themselves.

"What this study tells us is that in addition to causing troublesome symptoms, hayfever may impair examination performance at a very important time for teenagers and young adults."

The study found that children with hayfever taking exams were 40% more likely get a grade below what they achieved in their mocks - becoming twice as likely to get a lower final mark where very severe hayfever was involved.

The study also found that teenagers’ abilities were impaired by taking sedating antihistamine treatments - in fact, up to 70%more likely to get a lower grade if medication was involved.

The problem was made worse by the timing of GCSE and A-Level exams, which are held mainly in the summer when pollen levels are highest.

The study looked at over 1,000 students, aged between 15 and 17, who were taking GCSEs in Maths, English or Science.

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