LONDON, April 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Seasonal sneezing and itchy red eyes brings misery to the 15 million 1 hayfever sufferers in the UK. For those working in cities, worsening traffic congestion, commuting and being 'too busy' is adding to 'urban hayfever' misery, with new figures released today, revealing that 17 per cent of sufferers have lost income as a result of their symptoms 2. The survey conducted by Merck Sharp & Dohme, makers of Clarityn Rapide, reveals more than half (54 per cent) 2 of the 500 city-based workers questioned, blame hayfever for affecting their concentration and performance at work, with a quarter (25 per cent) 2 missing an important meeting or interview as a result of their hayfever symptoms 2. With nearly a third (30 per cent) 2 of sufferers admitting that their hayfever symptoms are as debilitating as flu, it may come as no surprise that 7 in 10 people (72 per cent) admit to phoning in sick 2. And although it has been estimated that the lost productivity due to hayfever in the UK might cost as much as £7 billion per year 3, it seems that for some, work is getting in the way of treating symptoms, with over a quarter (26 per cent) of those polled, claiming they're 'too busy' to take medication and 13 per cent blaming the lack of water on their commute 2. Dr. Adrian Morris, Clarityn Rapide's expert consultant from the Surrey Allergy Clinic in London explains: "The countryside with high summer levels of tree and grass pollen was always presumed to be bad for hayfever sufferers, but what most people don't know is that in urban areas, these pollens attach to the diesel exhaust particles from cars. These particles are particularly adept at carrying pollen deeper into the airways or attaching to the nasal membranes. Combined with certain lifestyle factors such as a lack of time and water on the daily commute to work make the taking of symptom-relieving medication difficult. This new epidemic of 'urban hayfever' is a rapidly growing problem for many workers. "To avoid symptoms impacting your working day, it's beneficial to start an antihistamine treatment early and continue throughout the season."