Drivers issued medicine warning as ‘heavier than usual’ hay fever season approaches


Road safety and breakdown recovery provider GEM Motoring Assist is warning drivers who take hay fever remedies to be aware of the possible drowsy side effects some remedies can produce.

Experts warn that a heavier-than-usual pollen allergy season is expected this year, due to recent heavy rainfall which has caused a surge in grass growth across many parts of the country.

When grasses flower they release clouds of pollen, spelling misery for hay fever sufferers.

The peak grass pollen period is usually the first two weeks of June, with a second peak in early July.

As well as warning drivers about the medicines they may choose, GEM is also advising drivers against getting behind the wheel while experiencing symptoms of hay fever.

Related: Motorists driving with dangerous amounts of prescription medications in their system

Sneezing, a runny nose, streaming eyes and coughing all bring the risk of impairment and distraction, and increasing the risk of a collision.

GEM chief executive Neil Worth said: “The symptoms of hay fever can be very uncomfortable, with a risk that they will impair your ability to drive safely.

“At the same time some medicines used to treat hay fever can make you tired or groggy, potentially compromising your ability to react to hazards while driving.

“We encourage you 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.”

Hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis, affects almost 10 million people in England, of all ages – that’s almost one in four adults and one in 10 children.

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