Springtime has been long awaited, but after it's arrival last Tuesday, many people have mixed feelings. On one hand, the sun stays out later and it gets warmer, much to our pleasure. But on the other hand, allergy season descends upon us. Runny noses and frequent coughing become the norm for the season, and tissue sales increase like Michigan gas prices. These reactions to allergies are quite annoying - but they may also be dangerous.
According to Canadian Pharmacy Meds, allergies, also known as Allergic rhinitis (AR), affect up to 30% of the adult population. However, many people don’t realize the possible dangers that may result from allergies. AR can decrease cognitive functions and can make even daily activities a difficult task. Untreated AR can even reduce driving ability and put the driver and others on the road at risk. Many people don’t usually consider something as commonplace as allergies to be the cause of a car crash, but a study reported in the July blog issue of United Allergy Services stated that many common seasonal allergy symptoms, such as watery eyes, sneezing and fatigue, can significantly impair one's driving ability. A coughing fit or watery eyes while driving could cause the driver’s attention to wander causing a distracted driving car accident.
In the Allergy study, 19 people in the Netherlands were given a nasal spray or a placebo, and then exposed to grass/tree allergens or a placebo. Then they went on a 60-minute driving test with a camera attached to see how often the car veered towards the center lane. In the last 15 minutes of the drive, they were also given a verbal test while driving. As a result, those who weren’t treated for allergies and then exposed to them performed the worst at both the driving test and the verbal test. The participants’ driving was so impaired by allergies that they drove similarly to how someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.03% would drive! To help prevent allergy impaired driving, Canadian Pharmacy Meds recommends obtaining prescribed allergy medication for allergy season, and to start taking the medication before allergy season begins, to avoid suffering from allergy symptoms and potentially causing a car crash. Other ways to avoid the worst of allergy season are as listed:
Tips For Surviving Seasonal Allergies
- Keep all windows closed in your home and car to avoid letting in pollen.
- Set your air conditioners to re-circulate in your home and vehicle to avoid drawing in outside pollen-rich air.
- Limit your outside exposure when pollen counts are the highest. Stay inside between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. on warm and dry mornings, and throughout dry and windy days. The safest time for outdoor activities is immediately after a heavy rainfall.
- Minimize contact with people, pets, and things that may bring pollen inside after spending excess time outdoors. Wipe down pets when they enter your home after being outside if you can’t avoid them.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen. In severe allergy cases, wear a facemask when daily pollen counts are extremely high.
- Wash your face and hands after you’ve been outside to remove pollen.
- Remove your work clothes and shoes as soon as you get home. Don’t drag allergens throughout your home, where they’ll continue to trigger your symptoms. Take off your shoes outside the door before entering. Throw your clothes in the hamper and change into something else.
- Wash bed linens in hot, soapy water once a week.
- Avoid line drying your clothes and bedding outdoors when your local pollen count is high.
- Shower and shampoo your hair before going to bed to remove pollen and keep it off your bedding.
- Gargling with salt water once or twice a day throughout allergy season can ease congestion and soothe a sore or scratchy throat.
- Take symptoms seriously. If you feel lousy, rest, go to bed early, or take a sick day. Overexertion will only make you feel worse.
These tips may help those with severe allergies avoid the worst of the symptoms. Many people don’t see how common allergies could be dangerous rather than merely an annoyance. Being cautious and prepared for the upcoming allergy season may aid in avoiding allergy impaired driving and help people avoid an auto accident.
Spring is a time of happiness to many. The sun stays out later, flowers bloom, and warmth returns. Also returning, unfortunately, is allergy season. While suffering from allergies can be irritating, they may also be dangerous in the event that allergies impair driving abilities. If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.