Allergies can have a major impact on your staff’s performance. In fact, allergies cost nearly $1,000 a year per affected employee due to lost workdays and impaired productivity. Benefit experts estimate that allergy sufferers lose three workweeks per year in reduced effectiveness. Hay fever afflicts one in five Americans and is more common than back problems or high blood pressure. And side effects of many over-the-counter medicines decrease alertness and affect motor skills. The sedative effects of some inappropriate self-administered medications can equal a 0.05 percent blood-alcohol level—the legal intoxication limit in some states. As a rule, include allergy education in wellness programs, particularly if your workers drive or operate heavy machinery.