Steer clear of the car if you use an­ti­his­tamines

As hay fever suf­fer­ers stock up on medicine, re­search shows we may need to be wary of get­ting be­hind the wheel. ELLA WALKER re­ports

Harefield Gazette - - Health & Lifestyle -

WE ALL know about the road­side swab test kit, in­tro­duced to catch driv­ers un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs, but peo­ple shouldn’t just be wor­ried about il­le­gal sub­stances af­fect­ing their driv­ing.

With hay fever sea­son kick­ing off, the num­ber of peo­ple tak­ing an­ti­his­tamines and al­lergy med­i­ca­tion rock­ets, and these can im­pair your driv­ing skills, too.

New re­search from Con­ has found many driv­ers are obliv­i­ous to how danger­ous it can be to dose up on al­lergy med­i­ca­tion be­fore hop­ping in the car. THE STATS AC­CORD­ING to the study, 34% of Brits claim to suf­fer from hay fever, while nearly two-thirds of those peo­ple (64%) ad­mit to driv­ing af­ter tak­ing med­i­ca­tion.

How­ever, more than one in seven driv­ers (15%) who have hay fever ad­mit to not read­ing dosage guide­lines and packet ad­vice on their al­lergy med­i­ca­tion.

Amanda Stret­ton, mo­tor­ing ed­i­tor at Con­, says: “The level of aware­ness among driv­ers around how cer­tain med­i­ca­tions can af­fect a per­son’s driv­ing abil­ity is an area for con­cern. This is par­tic­u­larly alarm­ing dur­ing hay fever sea­son.

“More than a third (34%) ad­mit to suf­fer­ing from the ail­ment and, un­der­stand­ably, many re­sort to tak­ing med­i­ca­tion to help com­bat the symp­toms. Yet those that choose to do so need to be highly aware of the po­ten­tial risks of drowsi­ness and reduced con­cen­tra­tion lev­els while driv­ing.” HOW CAN AN­TI­HIS­TAMINES AF­FECT YOUR DRIV­ING? COM­MON side ef­fects of an­ti­his­tamines in­clude drowsi­ness, lethargy and blurry vi­sion, as well as im­paired con­cen­tra­tion. Ac­cord­ing to Con­’s sur­vey, one in 15 mo­torists (7%) with hay fever ad­mit their driv­ing has been im­paired af­ter tak­ing med­i­ca­tion, and 4% of these peo­ple have had an ac­ci­dent as a re­sult. WHAT TO DO IF YOU PLAN TO TRAVEL BUT SUF­FER FROM HAY FEVER AMANDA says: “Our ad­vice is sim­ple. Be­fore tak­ing any med­i­ca­tion, peo­ple should al­ways read the safety leaflet or ask a phar­ma­cist be­fore tak­ing to the road. If un­sure, they should err on the side of cau­tion and avoid driv­ing at all costs.”

Hay fever treat­ments can im­pair your driv­ing

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