Take care with hay fever medicines, drivers warned

Written by: Simon Pavey, Last updated:11th August 2020

The hay fever season is upon us once more and with grass pollen levels rising, many sufferers will be reaching for the antihistamines to calm their symptoms.

However, one motoring organisation has warned anyone who also needs to drive to check their medication before taking it in case it causes drowsiness.

Common medicines may impair driving

GEM Motoring Assist said some common hay fever remedies can have a sedative effect, potentially making drivers groggy and unable to react to hazards in time.

Chief executive Neil Worth added: “It’s important to check with your GP or pharmacist, and to read those warnings contained on the labels of the medicines you plan to take.”

He also pointed out that the same laws cover over-the-counter remedies as apply to illicit drugs when it comes to impacting driving, meaning those caught ‘under the influence’ of antihistamines could face heavy penalties.

GEM has published a new leaflet called Medicine, Drugs and Driving to help anyone unsure about where they stand on taking particular remedies, which is available now.

Meanwhile, IAM RoadSmart also suggests that people who usually suffer from hay fever might want to take extra precautions before getting behind the wheel, including regularly changing the pollen filter of their vehicle and wiping down dashboards and other fixtures.

According to the NHS, 20 per cent of us suffer from hay fever, with the UK and Sweden having the world’s highest number of sufferers.

Tom Cosway, brand representative at Fuel Card Services, comments: “Hay fever is a very common ailment, but it can be really serious for drivers. We recommend that everyone should heed this advice – and we hope the ‘season of sneezing’ proves short for those of you currently suffering.”