Nearly a quarter of Americans (22%) have missed out on at least five outdoor events they wanted to attend over the past year because of allergies (65%), according to new research.

In a survey of 2,000 adults, half of whom have perennial/seasonal allergies, found that respondents said having allergies or knowing someone who does has prevented them from being outdoors at some point within the past year (49%).  

Though spending time outside is important to nearly all of those surveyed (92%), 56% say that having allergies or knowing someone who has them has dampened how much they’re able to enjoy outdoor events.

Allergies can be disruptive, causing nearly a quarter of Americans to cancel plans.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of ZYRTEC, the survey looked at how allergies impact both allergy sufferers and non-sufferers, causing them to miss out on the things they love.

The survey also revealed that allergy sufferers are feeling the strain of missed connections. Many are expressing “annoyance” (65%) and “frustration” (47%) when their symptoms get in the way of spending time with loved ones.

And 68% of respondents recall a time in the past year when they or someone they spent time with was distracted by their allergies.

One in five (22%) feel like they “always” or “often” have to make sacrifices when it comes to spending time outdoors.

Severe allergies hamper outdoor activities.
Allergies also get in the way of simple joys like owning a pet.

Pet owners who have allergies said that these downsides carry over to time spent with their furry friend, from limiting the time they can play outside (38%) to going on walks (37%), or even being around their pet (24%).

One-third (39%) of non-pet-owning allergy sufferers said if they didn’t have allergies, they would own a pet.

“We’re seeing allergy season starting earlier and lasting longer, which means common allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes can make a real impact,” said Dr. Tania Elliott, allergist and ZYRTEC® partner. “If left untreated, allergies can be a real burden not just on your plans, but they can lead to poor sleep and reduce overall productivity.”

Allergies affect people’s ability to think clearly and increases self-consciousness.

In fact, allergy sufferers also state that their symptoms affect their ability to think clearly (61%) and perform at their best (75%).

Nearly a third even feel self-conscious (29%) about their allergy symptoms, while over half (67%) worry about being less enjoyable for others to be around when their allergies flare up.

To do their part, non-sufferers navigate hurdles to help their loved ones feel comfortable, like keeping allergy medication with them (43%) or deep cleaning their home and keeping it free of allergens (34%).

Without allergies, many more people would be able to enjoy activities like hiking and picnics.

When planning for outdoor meetups with friends and family who are affected, non-allergy sufferers check the pollen and air quality (27%) or choose indoor areas entirely (20%).

“There are steps you can take to ensure you don’t miss out and can enjoy outdoor moments this allergy season,” said Dr. Elliott. “Wear hats and sunglasses to keep allergens out of your hair and eyes and be sure to leave your shoes at the front door to avoid tracking allergens into the house. You can also take an oral antihistamine which can start working quickly to provide long-lasting relief from allergies.”

What would a life unburdened by allergies look like? If they weren’t affected as much by the outdoors, allergy sufferers would most want to go on more picnics (40%), park days (39%), hikes (32%), nature tours (30%) and visit fairs (26%).

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