Impact of nasal congestion on quality of life and work productivity in allergic rhinitis: findings from a large online survey

Treat Respir Med. 2005;4(6):439-46. doi: 10.2165/00151829-200504060-00007.


Background: Allergic rhinitis is the most common allergic disease in the US. The predominant symptom of this condition is nasal congestion, which has a significant impact on quality of life and work productivity. This large survey was conducted to determine the impact of nasal congestion on the above parameters in individuals with allergic rhinitis, and treatment patterns for this symptom.

Methods: Participants were recruited voluntarily via telephone surveys and internet advertisements. Respondents with nasal congestion as a symptom of their allergic rhinitis (or who were primary caregivers to a child with nasal congestion associated with allergic rhinitis) were eligible for participation and completed a 52-question internet survey. Data were normalized to the US adult population using a weighting algorithm.

Results: Of the 2355 individuals with allergic rhinitis screened for participation in the survey, 2002 (85%) had nasal congestion. This was considered severe by 40% of respondents, compared with fewer than 30% who considered any other individual allergy symptom to be severe. Nasal congestion was the symptom that most adults and children wished to prevent, and it affected most respondents at work or school, had a notable emotional impact, and interfered with their ability to perform daily activities. Only 13% of participants receiving allergic rhinitis medication of any type, including over-the-counter medications, claimed to be very satisfied with treatment, and only 20% adhered completely to prescribing instructions. Although intranasal corticosteroids are recommended as first-line therapy for nasal congestion, only 30% of respondents with severe nasal congestion received treatment with intranasal corticosteroids.

Conclusions: Nasal congestion affects most individuals with allergic rhinitis, and has a notable impact on quality of life, emotional function, productivity, and the ability to perform daily activities. Patients need to be better educated on the appropriate use of medications, particularly intranasal corticosteroids, to manage their nasal congestion.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Child
  • Efficiency*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Health*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / physiopathology*
  • Rhinitis, Allergic, Seasonal / psychology
  • Sickness Impact Profile*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace