Sneezing, itchy, watery eyes are among the negative symptoms associated with allergies. As if that's not bad enough, now a new study says pollen allergies can impair your driving to the point where you compare to drivers with a blood alcohol content of .03.
According to a Netherlands study, researchers focused on tree and grass pollen allergy sufferers. Some in the study were given non-drowsy antihistamines or nasal sprays while others were given nothing. All then took a 60-minute driving test. The study found that the drivers who got behind the wheel with just their allergy symptoms fared far worse. They were comparable to drivers with a .03 blood alcohol content.
When thinking of a connection between an allergy and impaired driving, the first thought was that antihistamines that people take were the culprit. Most of who suffer from allergies just generally don't feel well. Allergy sufferers feel like they're running a fever, are achy, and have trouble concentrating. Allergies can affect all parts of the body, including the brain.
Study participants were also given memory tests. Again, those given no medication for their symptoms fared worse. Antihistamines that make you drowsy will also cause some degree of impairment.
Many Texas drivers in the Fort Worth area suffer from severe allergies almost year-round. Although there's nothing we can necessarily do about this, I think it's important to be aware and make sure that you are being as alert as possible when you know that allergies are affecting you the most. Don't provide any more distractions for yourself than necessary when it comes to driving.