A coworker of mine is often itchy. Hives. She keeps a bottle of water in the office freezer to hold up against her skin when the hives strike on the job, but sometimes she doesn’t come to work at all. I’ll admit I don’t always buy it.

But am I just being a stoic jerk? Results from a national survey released today assure me that my coworker is coping with a number of allergy-induced issues: she’s probably annoyed (62 percent), irritable (48 percent), and frustrated (42 percent). She may even feel less attractive (22 percent) and self-conscious (19 percent). While I don’t find this surprising, I wonder if it’s enough to justify a sick day.

The survey has an answer to that question, too. Seventy-eight percent of the allergy sufferers surveyed feel their coworkers do not view their allergies as a serious health condition. But a majority (84 percent) of physicians insist they’re not overstating their symptoms.

So I’ve decided that if I ever get the itchies, I’ll just buy some Claritin and see how I feel. Which by the way, seems to be exactly what the study intended. It was commissioned by Claritin-maker Schering-Plough.