Summer is finally upon us and with it comes long walks in the countryside, trips to the beach, ice-creams and soft tops – as well as the generic topless man walking down the street. But for 13 million of us, it comes at a cost. Runny noses, itchy eyes, feeling lousy, and constant sneezing heralds the start of hayfever season.
If that wasn’t bad enough research has shown that some hayfever remedies contain substances that could render you illegal to drive. This is due to drug driving regulations that came into force in 2015, regulations that are meant to stop real drug offenders from driving while suffering the effects of their illegally administered substances.
Great, so you’re trying to get yourself fit to do your job, but by doing so, this could stop you doing your job, especially if that involves driving. So what do you do?
Research from Confused.com noted that two-thirds of hayfever drivers (64%) administer the medicine before they set off on their commute to work, school run or general activity. Experts are advising motorists to read the labels on their hayfever medication before driving, since many over-the-counter medicines for hay fever, like antihistamines, can have side-effects.
Motorists who are unsure about the medication they are taking should contact their GP, who can advise you on safer medication to take while on the road like loratadine or cerititizine.
Other such side-effects often include drowsiness, blurred vision, and slower reaction times – sufferers that venture behind the wheel could be putting themselves and others at great risk of danger.
Professor Ashok Soni, from the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, told The Express: “There will be a warning on the packaging of medicine advising people not to drive or operate machinery if the medicine causes drowsiness. This isn’t always the case but it is best to avoid taking these if driving is essential.
“Even with medicines that don’t commonly cause drowsiness there is a small risk so I would always advise people to see how they react to a medicine if taking for the first time and not to drive unless they are sure they are ok.”
However, there are ways to treat hay fever that can still allow you to drive safely and within the law.
Soni explained: “Depending on symptoms there are topical products available, nasal sprays and eye drops which won’t cause these symptoms so these are much better to use if driving is essential.
“If you must drive then use eye drops and nasal sprays in preference. Always keep windows closed and even when parked don’t leave windows or doors open as pollen can be trapped in the car.”
With the summer moving into its element, hayfever sufferers will be tormented by rising temperatures and high pollen levels across the country. To avoid the distress of possible action taken against you for driving while under the influence of drugs, please consult your pharmacist or doctor and reduce the risk of an accident.