Limiting the extent to which hay fever affects your students’ exam performance

A few years ago SecEd wrote an article exploring the extent to which hay fever can affect students’ performance at school, and more specifically, students’ performance in exams – a problem which is more prevalent than you might think.

In fact, according to the NHS, an estimated 20% of the population is affected by hay fever at some point in their lifetime, with the severity and range of hay fever symptoms often portraying themselves in very different ways from one person to the next.

But even the mildest form of hay fever can be distracting to students sitting their exams.

Indeed, through gathering information from a range of scientific studies, SecEd found that 16 to 24 year olds are most likely to suffer from hay fever, and in some studies up to 50% of students have reported symptoms of hay fever around the time of their exams.

What is really surprising (to me at any rate) is that their research revealed that hay fever sufferers are 40% more likely to drop a grade from January to summer.

So what can you do to limit the extent to which hay fever affects your students’ exam performance?

A few practical suggestions would be to provide plenty of water so students can keep well hydrated, ensuring that students aren’t queueing outside beforehand where they could be affected by pollen, and keeping windows closed if possible during exams.

You can find more suggestions, which you might want to share with your students, on the Nursing Times website:


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Lucy Mister
Hamilton House Mailings Ltd