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Spring is here, and while most people welcome the return of longer days and warmer weather, more than 81 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies are preparing for weeks or months of runny noses, watery eyes, coughing, and fatigue. And after a challenging fall allergy season last year, many may be dreading the prospect. For employers, this can mean increased costs – to the tune of $5 million annually – due to absenteeism, presenteeism, and productivity loss.

Allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the United States and a leading cause of misery and expense for anyone who has to ponder pollen counts before leaving their home. The average consumer spends a whopping $266 each year on allergy treatments, which adds up to more than $16,000 over their adult life. While employees who suffer from allergies pay more out of pocket to manage their symptoms, they also report losing 2.3 hours of productivity per day during allergy season.

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