Warning for hay fever sufferers

There are many ways drivers can be put at risk, but one of the lesser-known is the possibility of side-effects of everyday medication.

Drivers who take hay fever medication need to be aware that some can make you drowsy.

The peak grass pollen period is usually October and November in Melbourne and Hobart, in the spring and summer in Adelaide, Sydney and Canberra and year round in Brisbane and Darwin. That’s when grasses flower, release clouds of pollen and create misery for hay fever sufferers.

As well as warning drivers about the medicines they may be prescribed, drivers are advised against getting behind the wheel while experiencing symptoms of hay fever. Sneezing, a runny nose, streaming eyes and coughing all bring the risk of distraction and an increased risk of a collision.

The symptoms of hay fever can be very uncomfortable, with a risk that they will impair your ability to drive safely. At the same time some medicines used to treat hay fever can make you tired or groggy, potentially compromising your ability to react to hazards while driving.

Check with your GP or pharmacist about any medication you’re taking, and read any warnings on the labels of any medicines you need to take.

The same road traffic laws apply to therapeutic drugs as to illicit substances, so if your driving is impaired and you cause a collision, you risk prosecution and the loss of your licence.

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, affects almost one in four adults and one in 10 children.

Hay fever safety checklist:

  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist if a medicine could affect your ability to drive. Be particularly careful if you are using a medicine for the first time.
  • If you do experience potentially dangerous side-effects from a medicine, don’t drive. Organise a taxi or a lift from a friend if you need to travel.
  • If you find a particular medicine is making you sleepy, consider asking if there is a non-sedating alternative.
  • If you decide not to take a medication, bear in mind that the symptoms of hay fever itself can impair your ability to drive. So if pollen counts are forecast to be high, please ask someone else to drive – or use another form of transport.
  • It’s not just prescription medicines that can cause drowsiness and other potentially dangerous side-effects. So, check with your pharmacist if you plan to use an over-the-counter drug.
  • If you’re unsure about the warning given on the medicine you’re using, ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any risks … before you drive anywhere.
  • Has hay fever ever caused you problems while driving? What about some medications? Share your experiences in the comments section below.

Also read: Are you really a good driver

Paul Murrell, is a motoring writer and creator of seniordriveraus.com, which specialises in “car advice for people whose age and IQ are both over 50”.

This article originally appeared on seniordriveraus.com and is republished with permission

- Our Partners -


- Advertisment -
- Advertisment -