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28th April 2004

COULD THE PROPOSED SIX-TERM SCHOOL YEAR HELP THE 23% OF SCHOOL CHILDREN* AFFECTED BY HAY FEVER TO ACHIEVE BETTER GRADES?

The proposed six-term year for schools in the UK, which is currently being trialled and may be rolled out nationwide next year, has caused some controversy in recent months. However, the new calendar may help 3/4 million* school children aged 7 to 18 years old who think their performance at school has been affected by hay fever (allergic rhinitis) to achieve better exam results.

Hay fever affects 23% of 7-18 year olds in Great Britain, a figure equivalent to over 2 million 7-18 year olds in the population, according to a survey carried out in Spring 2003 on behalf of licensed herbal medicine manufacturer Herbal Concepts. The survey, carried out amongst a total sample of 612 seven to eighteen year olds around the country, looked at the incidence and effects of hay fever on that age-group. Results showed that 23% (19% in the London region)of those that took part in the survey suffered from hay fever and 24% of those that did suffer (20% in the London region) said they had taken time off school and/or missed out on school activities because of hay fever.

What’s more, 36% of those who said they did suffer from hay fever, equivalent to over 750,000 7-18 year olds, thought that their performance at school had been affected by it (52% in the London region).

Among the proposed shifts in the school calendar resulting from the six-term year would be an earlier exam period - GCSE and A-level exams would be brought forward to mid-May. Although the hay fever season generally runs from early spring to late autumn, pollen counts are usually at a peak in June and July when the majority of school exams currently take place. The six-term year could, therefore, give those kids who suffer from hay fever a chance to sit these important and influential exams before pollen counts are at their height.

For those who would prefer not to rely on conventional hay fever medicines, some of which may cause drowiness or side effects, Herbal Concepts produce a licensed herbal medicine for the relief of hay fever symptoms – Herbal Concepts Hay Fever and Sinus Relief. The product contains echinacea, elder flower and garlic, all of which have antispectic, anti-catarrhal and expectorant properties that help to clear the respiratory system. Unlike most other hay fever remedies, Herbal Concepts Hay Fever & Sinus Relief contains garlic to help combat the body’s allergic reactions to pollen through its anti-viral and bacteriostatic properties. Echinacea is also a well-known immune-boosting herb. Retailing at £3.49 for a blister pack of 36 tablets, the treatment is available from Superdrug, Sainsburys, Tesco, independent pharmacies and health stores nationwide.

Revising and sitting exams can be a stressful time for all pupils and the symptoms of hay fever can add extra pressure for those who suffer and make concentration extremely difficult, heightening the risk of lower grades. Students who do suffer from hay fever may find it useful to take the following preventative measures in order to reduce symptoms, thus increasing their chances of successful revision and better exam performance:

  • Avoid going outside in the early morning or late evening when pollen counts are high
  • Avoid going outdoors when grass is being cut
  • Remove clothes, shower and wash hair immediately upon coming in from outdoors on days when the pollen count is high
  • Remove clothes and put them to wash after coming from school/college on days when the pollen count is high
  • Rinse eyes with cold water to remove pollen from eye-lashes when you arrive at school and when you arrive home after being outdoors
  • Try to keep car windows, house windows, etc shut on days when the pollen count is high – it’s better to be hot than sneezing
  • Shut doors and windows to the room you are revising in to reduce pollen coming into the room
  • Take a licensed herbal medicine, such as Herbal Concepts Hay Fever & Sinus Relief, from a month before your first exam so that active herbs within the remedy can help your body to build up a resistance.

Further information on Herbal Concepts Hay Fever & Sinus Relief and other products in the range can be found at www.herbal-concepts.co.uk. Herbal Concepts products are licensed herbal medicines and therefore have proven safety, quality and efficacy.

* 23% of a total sample of 612 seven to eighteen year olds across Great Britain said they suffered from hay fever – equivalent to 2,100,313 seven to eighteen years olds in the population. 36% of those that did suffer from hay fever thought their performance at school had been affected. (Based on population figures from the 2001 Census, Office for National Statistics).

*The survey was carried out by BMRB Intl on behalf of Herbal Concepts Ltd in April 2003.

Editor’s Note:
A number of LEAs are currently trialling the proposed six-term year and it may be rolled out to the rest of the UK in 2005. A full copy of the survey results is available from Bloomsbury Communications Ltd. Email: melissa@bloomsburycommunications.com

Press Enquiries:
Melissa Neal/Evelyn Vittery
Bloomsbury Communications Ltd
Tel:020 7833 3759
Fax:020 7278 7613
Email: melissa@bloomsburycommunications.com

 

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