Summary: A new study reveals adolescents who suffer from hay fever may be at higher risk of developing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Additionally, those with the allergy have lower resistance to stress, are more impulsive and exhibit more hostility, researchers report.
Although allergies affect more than 50 million Americans, they are occasionally misunderstood and can be seen as a minor condition. An article published in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, the scientific journal of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) shows allergies can have serious, far-reaching consequences, especially on adolescent sufferers.
“The emotional burden of hay fever can be huge for adolescents” says allergist Michael Blaiss, MD, ACAAI Executive Medical Director and study lead author. “Three of the studies in our review examined how adolescents are emotionally affected by hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and hay fever with eye allergies (allergic rhinoconjunctivitis). They found adolescents with hay fever had higher rates of anxiety and depression, and a lower resistance to stress. The adolescents also exhibited more hostility, impulsivity and changed their minds often.”
The article identified 25 studies that examined the effects of hay fever and hay fever with eye allergies in adolescents (10-17 years of age) and analyzed symptoms, impact on daily activities, emotional aspects, impact on sleep, educational burden and treatment burden.
“Our review highlights that allergy symptoms can be different in adolescents than in adults or children,” says Dr. Blaiss. “Lack of sleep or poor sleep are both huge issues for adolescents, and it can be made worse by the symptoms of hay fever with or without eye allergies. Poor sleep can have a negative impact on school attendance, performance and academic achievement.”
The studies indicated that hay fever with or without eye allergies can negatively impact aspects of daily life that include driving and reading ability and can have a negative effect on psychological function. Adolescents may be particularly vulnerable because they may be embarrassed by their symptoms, may be learning to drive and are at a crucial point in their school career.
“Adolescents aren’t ‘big children’ or ‘small adults,'” says Dr. Blaiss. “They have very specific needs, and allergists can help relieve symptoms that can cause suffering. Adolescence is an important developmental period and controlling symptoms can help with daily activities such as homework and sports practices.”
To find an allergist near you who can help create a personal plan to for your teen with allergies and asthma, use the ACAAI allergist locator.
Source: Hollis Heavenrich-Jones – ACAAI
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is adapted from the ACAAI news release.
Original Research: Open access research for “The burden of allergic rhinitis and allergic rhinoconjunctivitis on adolescents: a literature review” by Michael S. Blaiss, Eva Hammerby, Susan Robinson, Tessa Kennedy-Martin, and Sarah Buchs in Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Published April 4 2018.
The burden of allergic rhinitis and allergic rhinoconjunctivitis on adolescents: a literature review
To evaluate the literature regarding the burden of allergic rhinitis (AR) and allergic rhinoconjunctivitis (ARC) in adolescents (10-19 years).
Searches were performed in MEDLINE, Embase, Health Technology Assessment Database, and National Health Service Economic Evaluation Database for studies evaluating concepts of symptoms, quality of life (QOL), daily activities, sleep, examination performance, school absenteeism and presenteeism, and treatment burden in adolescents with AR or ARC.
English-language journal articles indexed in the last 15 years describing non-interventional population-based studies. Records were assessed by 2 independent reviewers.
A total of 27 articles were identified; outcomes evaluated were: symptoms (n=6 studies), QOL (n=9), daily activities (n=5), emotional aspects (n=3), sleep (n=6), education (n=7), and treatment burden (n=2). AR symptoms rated most bothersome were rhinorrhea, nasal congestion, and itchy eyes. QOL was worse in adolescents with AR versus controls regardless of QOL instrument used. Nasal symptoms and nasal obstruction were more likely to be associated with poor QOL in adolescents than in adults or younger children, respectively. Daily functioning and sleep were also negatively impacted by AR. In addition, a detrimental effect on absenteeism, school productivity, and academic performance was reported.
Although AR and ARC are sometimes perceived as trivial conditions, this review indicates that their impact on adolescent life is negative and far-reaching. It is critical that clinicians gain a greater understanding of the unique burden of AR and ARC in adolescents to ensure they receive prompt and appropriate care and treatment in order to improve clinical and academic outcomes.