Drivers warned over hay fever effect

Drivers should beware of rising grass pollen levels this summer as a new survey reveals hay fever can have a profound effect on driving ability.

Over half (55 per cent) of drivers who suffer with hay fever have been distracted by blurred vision and watery eyes whilst behind the wheel, whereas others have experienced bouts of sneezing, loss of concentration and even accidents whilst driving, according to a new survey of 2,000 UK adults by Opticrom.

Leading pollen expert Dr Jean Emberlin said, “This week many regions have seen the start of the grass pollen season, which affects 95 per cent of sufferers and can cause a sudden hay fever attack with little or no warning.

“The fine warm weather we have been experiencing has led to high pollen counts and the good weather is expected to continue through into next week.

“This may prove problematic for drivers who suffer with hay fever as watery, irritated eye symptoms can cause blurred vision and sneezing also makes your eyes shut involuntary for about one second, which means you will be travelling blind and lose concentration on the road during that time.”

According to the Opticrom survey sufferers think that June is the worst month for hay fever symptoms (63 per cent), but one in five people (22 per cent) still feel the frustrating symptoms into September.

Nearly a quarter of sufferers (24 per cent) feel their hay fever symptoms have got worse in the past 12 months, with itchy eyes and runny noses being the most common complaints (61 per cent).

Dr Emberlin continues, “If you have problems with itchy and runny eyes, wrap round sun glasses can help keep pollen out of the eyes and eye drops can alleviate the symptoms. You should avoid opening windows in cars, using air conditioning when hot if possible and avoid going out when the pollen count is high.”

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