What you should know about taking hay fever medication before driving

When you’ve got hay fever, you’ll do almost anything to make the symptoms stop. The streaming eyes, congested nose and itchy throat (to name just a few) are enough to stop anyone’s plans in their tracks, and so most sufferers turn to medication to help restore their balance.

If you’re amongst them, one thing you might not be aware of is the implications of taking hay fever medication before getting behind the wheel. Organisations are warning drivers of the potential dangers of driving after taking over-the-counter remedies, because of the associated side effects.

‘Some medicines, including those used to treat hay fever, can have an effect on your ability to drive safely,’ said GEM road safety officer Neil Worth explained to The Independent. ‘They can affect your vision, your hearing, your reaction time, your perception of risk and your ability to carry out a variety of tasks.’

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‘Your vision may be blurred, and you may also find it hard to focus or pay attention. Symptoms like this make you much more likely to be involved in a collision.’

Under drug-driving offence laws which came into force in 2015, certain doses of legal tablets – some of which are used to treat hay fever – can cause you to be ‘over the limit’, with consequences ranging from a fine to a driving ban or even a criminal record.

In a previous survey conducted by Confused.com, one in seven drivers with hay fever said they never read the leaflet advice before taking medication.

As pollen levels rise in the weeks ahead, motorists are being advised to stay vigilant and always check the label on their medication for drowsiness warnings, and consult with a pharmacist if they are unsure whether or not they are safe to drive.

The NHS also has a number of helpful tips for managing hay fever symptoms naturally, including wearing wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes, and applying Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen.