Why hay fever suffers should not be driving this summer

29 May 2019, 12:04 | Updated: 30 May 2019, 09:01

Hay fever sufferers need to be very careful before getting in their cars this summer
Hay fever sufferers need to be very careful before getting in their cars this summer. Picture: Getty
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

Are you a hay fever sufferer? Think twice before getting behind the wheel this summer.

Hay fever season is officially upon us, with people up and down the UK suffering from the high levels of pollen, and it’s only going to get worse as we enter the summer.

And while the runny noses and puffy eyes may seem like mild symptoms, they can have very dangerous affects on your driving.

A study conducted by the Allergy Centre Charité in Berlin found that driving while suffering from hay fever is equal to dangerous driving.

In the study, Professor Martin Church and Professor Torsten Zuberbier, enquired with 500 people about how having hay fever affects their driving.

A study conducted found that driving while suffering from hay fever is equal to dangerous driving
A study conducted found that driving while suffering from hay fever is equal to dangerous driving. Picture: Getty

75 out of 100 people said symptoms of hay fever distracted them while they were driving, while 13 of these people said the symptoms meant they couldn’t drive at all.

Seven of these 100 also claimed having hay fever was one of the reasons behind a car accident.

The study has concluded that driving with hay fever is the same as driving with blood alcohol levels of 0.5 per litre.

Hay fever symptoms include sneezing and coughing, a runny or blocked nose, itchy, red or watery eyes, loss of smell, pain around your forehead, fatigue as well as an itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears.

While there is not cure for hay fever, there are medications and tips to follow in order to lessen the symptoms
While there is not cure for hay fever, there are medications and tips to follow in order to lessen the symptoms. Picture: Getty

When these symptoms become very serious, it’s easy to see how it would distract a driver dealing with them.

While there is not cure for hay fever, there are medications and tips to follow in order to lessen the symptoms.

However, it’s important to take care when choosing your hay fever medications as if you take some before driving, you could land yourself with a fine or even a driving ban.

According to the NHS, antihistamine tablets that contain chlorphenamine and diphenhydramine are most likely to make you sleepy and drowsy.

Instead, choose hay fever tablets with loratadine or cetirizine in them, as they are less likely to make you drowsy.