Kwik Fit | Thursday 30th May 2019 11:30am
Summer is just around the corner, and while most of us look forward to the warmer weather and lighter evenings, this time of the year can be extremely uncomfortable for those who suffer with hay fever. From sneezing fits to itchy eyes to runny noses, there are a whole range of annoying symptoms that can make the sunny season unbearable for some - especially when it comes to getting out and about on the roads.
Symptoms like this can seriously impair your ability to drive safely. So, if you suffer from hay fever, keep reading for nine useful driving tips.
1. Keep your windows closed
It might seem obvious, but keeping your car windows closed can help prevent pollen particles from entering your car and setting off your allergies while youíre in the driving seat. Even if itís hot outside, itís a good idea to make sure the windows are up to prevent you from sneezing and being distracted. Instead, crank up the air conditioning to make sure you and any passengers youíre travelling with stay cool.
2. Make sure you have a box of tissues within easy reach
So that youíre not distracted while youíre driving, make sure you keep a box of tissues within easy reach. You never know when you might feel the urge to sneeze, so to avoid the panic of rooting for a tissue in your pocket, bag or glove compartment, you might find it easier to keep some at hand. This will also mean that youíll be able to concentrate on the road in front of you.
3. Wear sunglasses
Aside from being a stylish fashion accessory and protecting your eyes from the sun, a pair of sunglasses can play a big role in keeping your hay fever allergies at bay while youíre driving. Wearing shades can stop pollen particles from getting into your eyes and causing irritation, so itís worth slipping them on before you hit the road.
When it comes to choosing a pair of sunglasses, itís important that you make sure they donít impact your vision in any way, such as being too dark.
4. Take a non-drowsy medication
The good news is, if your hay fever is especially bad, there are treatments available that can help relieve your symptoms. However, some allergy medications, such as antihistamines, can cause side effects such as sleepiness, reduced coordination, impaired judgement and slow reaction speed. Driving while feeling drowsy is not worth the risk, so if you plan on using a medicine to treat your allergies and then getting behind the wheel, itís crucial that you use a non-drowsy version.
Itís also worth noting that in England and Wales, it is a criminal offence to drive a vehicle while unfit due to legally prescribed or over-the-counter medicines. If youíre unsure whether you are able to drive or not, you should seek advice from a medical professional, such as your GP or pharmacist.
5. Keep your car clean
Dust and pollen particles can easily get caught inside your vehicle, which, in turn, can wreak havoc with your allergies. So, to keep your sniffles to a minimum while youíre behind the wheel, it pays to make sure that youíre making an effort to keep your car clean.
For example, you could make a habit of getting the vacuum out regularly to give the carpets and upholstery a once-cover, especially during the summer months when the pollen count is usually at an all time high. It also helps to frequently wipe down your dashboard to get rid of any dust that may have settled.
6. Install pollen filters
If you donít already have them installed, you may want to think about fitting effective pollen filters in your car. These work to remove pollen particles from the outside air before they pass through the air vents into the vehicle itself. As a result, this can help to keep your allergies under control and provide you with a more comfortable ride. Pollen filters can also help prevent other types of debris, as well as pollution and odours from entering the car and clogging up your ventilation system. However, itís also important to bear in mind that in order for them to work properly, pollen filters need to be changed regularly.
7. Slow down if your symptoms start to develop while driving
If youíre driving and you can feel your hay fever symptoms developing, donít panic. If your eyes start watering, your nose begins to run or you can feel a sneezing or coughing fit about to happen, simply slow down and leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front. If you feel particularly unwell, try and stop the car completely if itís safe to do so and move on when you feel better.
8. Get into the habit of checking the pollen forecast
As a hay fever sufferer, you might want to get into the habit of checking the pollen forecast, particularly during the warmer months. You can find this information online on the Met Office website, which provides a prediction of how high the pollen count will be on any given day. In turn, you should be able to better manage your symptoms - especially if youíre heading out in the car on a long journey.
Itís also worth noting that the pollen count is usually at its highest early in the morning and late evening, so if you can, it might be an idea to refrain from driving at these times unless you have to.
9. Avoid driving if your hay fever symptoms are particularly bad
If you find that your hay fever symptoms are particularly bad one day, try to avoid driving if you can. Thereís no point putting yourself and other road users at risk if youíre not feeling your best. Instead, you could use public transport or ask someone else to drive.
For more general tips on how you can stay safe on the roads this sunny season, why not check out our blog 5 summer car safety tips you should know?
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