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Allergic Rhinitis Puts Students at Disadvantage on Tests

Teenagers at higher risk of poor exam performance when they had allergic rhinitis symptoms

MONDAY, Aug. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Teenagers with allergic rhinitis symptoms are more likely to drop a grade on their exams during peak allergy season compared to winter exams, and more likely to score worse if they are taking sedating antihistamines, according to a report in the August issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Samantha Walker, Ph.D., of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and colleagues conducted a case-control study of 1,834 U.K. students aged 15 to 17 who were taking national examinations. Students who had a grade decrease in math, English or science between practice exams in the winter and final exams in the summer were compared to those whose grades were unchanged or improved.

Overall, cases were 1.4 times as likely as controls to have experienced allergic rhinitis symptoms during the testing period. There was also more likely to have taken allergy medicine or sedating antihistamines (odds ratio, 1.4 and 1.7, respectively).

"This is the first time the relationship between symptomatic allergic rhinitis and poor examination performance has been demonstrated, which has significant implications for clinical practice," the authors conclude.

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