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Warning issued to drivers using hay fever medicines

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A warning has been issued urging drivers taking hay fever medication to be aware of the possible effects these drugs can have on their driving.

The warning comes from road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist, as rising pollen counts mark the start of hay fever season.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth, said: “Some medicines, including those used to treat hay fever, can have an effect on your ability to drive safely. They could make you tired, dizzy or groggy, and they can compromise your vision and reaction time. That’s why it’s so important to check with your GP or pharmacist, and to read any warnings contained on the labels of the medicines you plan 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.”

According to research, one in 25 drivers with hay fever admit to having an accident as a result of driving after taking medication to fight their allergies.

A safety checklist has also been created for drivers using hay fever medication:

  • 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 available.
  • 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.

GEM has published a free advice and guidance leaflet, Medicine, Drugs & Driving – The Facts for anyone concerned about how hay fever remedies and other medication may affect their ability to drive safely and legally.

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