Don’t let your asthma or allergy affect your exam performance

Don’t let your asthma or allergy affect your exam performance

As we approach exam season the Asthma Society of Ireland is urging parents and students to be prepared and to take steps to ensure their asthma or allergies don’t hinder their exam success.


470,000 people in Ireland have asthma and 60-80% of these also have hay fever making the summer months a difficult time for many.  

Pollen is a significant trigger for asthma and grass pollen affects 90% of those with hay fever.  As the peak grass pollen season starts it is important to have a plan in place to manage both your asthma and allergies.  Preparation is vital.

Parents are advised to consult their GP or nurse who will be able to discuss their child’s treatment options and help ensure their best chance of exam success. To ensure their asthma is well controlled they should take their preventer inhalers regularly, and as prescribed. The school should be informed in severe cases of allergies if there is a concern that a child’s asthma could impact on their exam performance.  It is also important to make sure that they have their reliever available at all times. This is particularly important during the exams where students will be sitting in a hall for hours at a time.

Read our top tips below on what you can do to help see your child through exam season.

Asthma Society of Ireland’s Top Exam Tips

  • Be prepared -   visit your doctor or nurse to put a plan in place for managing your asthma and allergies.

  • Don’t wait for your hay fever symptoms to start; you can start taking nasal steroid sprays and non-drowsy antihistamines now.

  • Get your asthma under control – the best way to manage any asthma trigger, including pollen is to have your asthma well controlled.  Take your preventer medication daily, as prescribed and make sure you are taking your inhaler properly.

  • Keep an eye on the pollen count at 

  • Know your triggers and reduce your exposure to them if you can- simple strategies like washing hair before bed, changing clothes before entering the bedroom, keeping pets downstairs and keeping car windows closed on the journey to school can make a noticeable difference.

  • Let your teacher/exam supervisor know about your asthma or allergies, you may need to avoid sitting by the window.

  • It’s vital that you have your asthma reliever inhaler with you during the exam in case you experience worsening symptoms.

The pollen count is highest early in the morning so the Asthma Society of Ireland is urging schools to be mindful of this in relation to the timing of exams, and to ensure students who do have hay fever and/or asthma are seated away from open windows, and are allowed to have easy access to their reliever inhaler during the exam. 

Research shows that pollen can affect school and work performance. By making sure you are prepared and taking some small steps to minimise your exposure to pollen you can stop symptoms in their tracks.

Advice on how to avoid allergy triggers and cope with hay fever is available on the Asthma Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64.

The pollen forecast, supported by Dyson, is available here.