Coping with hay fever when driving

Have you woken up this morning with the usual summertime curse of itchy eyes, runny nose and sneezing fits that could shatter windows?

Hay fever ruins the few warm months a year we get in the UK for around 18 million people, according to Allergy UK. Far from just being a bit bothersome, hay fever can have a massive impact on your daily life, particularly if you're a driver.

You can try to minimise the effects of your allergy by making sure that your car is clean and dust free. You should operate the air conditioning or ventilation to your advantage, making use of air re-circulation where possible.

For anyone who hasn’t been diagnosed with hay fever and is feeling under the weather, avoid driving (or riding, if you own a motorbike) and arrange to see your GP as soon as possible. What you might think is just a slight cold can become a major distraction, so get it checked before it gets worse.

While over-the-counter medicines will help with a runny nose and sneezing symptoms, a lot of these tend to contain codeine, which can blur vision and make you feel drowsy. Be sure to check the medication thoroughly and see if it is suitable. If you're still unsure you should check with your GP to identify what the best course of action is.

Your GP may advise you to take anti-histamines to control the symptoms, but make sure you take the non-drowsy ones. If you’re unsure, read the leaflet or speak to your pharmacy for more advice.

If you need to get somewhere but don’t feel well enough to drive or ride then see if someone you know can take you and drop you back. Whatever you do, don’t take yourself - you may just end up sneezing and travelling up to 50ft with your eyes closed!

Remember: If you are stopped by the police after taking a hay fever remedy and driving whilst impaired, you could find yourself falling foul of drug driving regulations.

For more information, visit the UK Government page on drug driving law