Impact of Allergic Rhinitis on Simulated Real-World Performance1


  • 1

    Research support from Integrated Therapeutics Group, Inc., is gratefully acknowledged.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Siegfried Streufert, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, SUNY Upstate Medical University, 750 East Adams Street, Syracuse, NY 13210.


A few studies have shown that untreated seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) may have unfavorable effects on performance. However, prior research has employed tasks of limited or moderate difficulty (e.g., verbal learning) or has focused on visual-motor efforts (e.g., driving a vehicle). The present research compared performance in the absence (asymptomatic) versus presence (symptomatic) of rhinitis, using the validated strategic management simulation (SMS). Obtained data indicated that whenever task-demands were contextual (e.g., cued by the environment), no differences between symptomatic and asymptomatic conditions were obtained. Whenever task-demands were more difficult, untreated seasonal allergic rhinitis decreased effectiveness. To avoid loss of productivity and limit decrements in quality of life, treatment of seasonal allergic rhinitis with medications without sedating effects appears of value.