Driving with hay fever just as dangerous as driving after drinking alcohol
Wednesday 09 July 2014
We are all familiar with the dangers of drink driving, but not many hay fever sufferers check the pollen count before getting behind the wheel. According to new research carried out at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, the effects of this common allergy can affect driving ability to the same degree as drinking two to three units of alcohol, the legal limit in most European countries.
Around one in five people in Britain suffer from hay fever. As well as causing itchy eyes, a runny nose and sneezing bouts, the allergy can cause sluggishness and have a negative effect on memory. According to Bernd Kremer, an ENT doctor and leader of the new study, it is these effects on cognitive function that threaten allergy sufferers’ ability to control a vehicle safely. Kremer emphasises that those whose driving is already affected by other factors, for example by medication or other medical conditions, should be "on the alert”.
In order to establish the effect of allergic reactions on driving skills, twenty hay fever sufferers were asked to complete a set of two driving tests. These took place outside of the hay fever season, after participants had used a nose spray that contained either a placebo, or an allergy-inducing substance. Using specialised measuring equipment, the discrepancy was calculated between the ideal trajectory of the car and the actual path taken. When the allergy symptoms had been induced, the drivers deviated significantly more from the optimal route than when they had taken the placebo. This deviation corresponds to an increased accident risk, and was comparable to the effects of a blood alcohol content of 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres, the legal limit in most European countries. In the UK, the limit is 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres.
The researchers found that treatment with anti-allergy medication largely restored the drivers’ skills, indicating that the risks caused by hay fever can, in most cases, be fairly easily managed. Kremer feels that doctors should play a role in ensuring that allergic motorists are aware of the dangers, and that they should impress the importance of treatment on their patients. “What we wanted to demonstrate with this research, is that doctors should be aware that in addition to informing patients of the risks of hay fever, they should be advising them to treat their condition.”
Life & Style blogs
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
A nap a day could save your life
Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Windows 10 automatically sends parents detailed dossier of their children's internet history and computer use
The antidote to Tinder? Majority of dating app users want relationship, rather than hook-ups, study finds
- 1 Barbarians vs Samoa interrupted by sprinklers as fans criticise lack of Wi-Fi and poor seating at West Ham's Olympic Stadium
- 2 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 3 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
- 4 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
- 5 David De Gea to Real Madrid: Real finally get their man with £29m bid for Manchester United goalkeeper
£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...
£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...
£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...