Road safety is nothing to be Sneezed at: Spring Hay Fever may affect motorists

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It’s that time of year again where pollen turns certain people into erratic sneezers and motorists – even those in air conditioned cars – aren’t safe.

Luckily, road safety professionals have come up with some handy tips to keep the sniffles and sneezing fits at bay.

Vacuuming carpets, mats and upholstery is an effective way of clearing out any dust or pollen and reducing the problem. Additionally, if the car has a pollen filter, check to see if the filter needs replacing.

Another way to reduce pollen concentrations in the car is to keep windows closed and set the air-con to recycle. Also, when you’re not in the car, set the blowers to full with cold air for a time to clear the vents, again to clear out any dust hanging around.

When it comes to medication, be sure to pick up the appropriate non-drowsy antihistamines. A pharmacist will also help you choose the right medication for you.

Keep tissues close by while driving. You don’t want to be fumbling around for tissues when your eyes and focus should be fixed on the road, it could result in you not seen a cyclist or pedestrian. Stick a few dabs of Vaseline inside your nostrils too – this will help prevent pollen from entering your nose.

If you know you are going to sneeze, try to slow down and drop back from the vehicle in front and stop altogether if possible.

Noel Gibbons Road Safety Officer Mayo County Council explains: “While the only journeys you should be making are essential journeys following COVID-19 guidelines , if you are driving and If you are struggling to see and sneezing as well, you can’t be safe on the road. Been involved in a road collision in the current climate is putting unnecessary strain on our already stretched hard working HSE. The current pollen boom means motorists are going to be desperately relying on their antihistamines to keep their symptoms at bay.”

“But what they may not know is that some can cause drowsiness and seriously affect their ability to drive. If in doubt, they should speak to their doctor or pharmacist for clarity.”
“Contact your pharmacist or GP to see if they can offer driver-friendly medication. You can check out about medication and driving at https://www.rsa.ie/Documents/Licensed%20Drivers/Medicines%20and%20Driving.pdf. If in doubt, stay off the road and look for another mode of transport.”

“Hay fever is an unavoidable inconvenience for many, but that shouldn’t stop people from driving. Hopefully, these tips will help them drive safely through hay fever season.”

You should avoid anti-histamines (that make you drowsy) if you’re planning to get behind the wheel. Instead, follow these top tips to stay safe behind the wheel this summer:

· Keep windows closed whilst driving, as pollution exacerbates hay fever – pollen grains become attached to particles from car exhausts, increasing their allergy-inducing effect.

· Avoid going outdoors in early evening when the pollen counts are usually highest.

· Wear wrap-around sunglasses, or glasses, when outdoors or behind the wheel.

· Check your car’s ventilation system to ensure a clean air flow.

· Ensure the air-con is checked annually, to help keep dust, moisture and pollen to a minimum.

· Vacuum your car regularly and clean surfaces with a damp cloth.

· Non-sedative anti-histamine tablets and nasal steroid sprays can be taken regularly, starting at least two weeks before the hay fever season starts.

· Ensure any medication you take is non-drowsy before you drive.

· Don’t allow pets to travel in the car as exposure to allergens, such as animal hairs and house dust mites, can exacerbate hay fever.

Also check out https://www.met.ie/forecasts/pollen