For some people the very mention of summer brings on a sneezing fit and makes your nose run, eyes itch. If you’re one of them, you’re probably already stocking up on hay fever pills. In fact, around 20% of people in the UK (around 10 million people in England) are affected by hay fever.
Hay fever is an unpleasant allergy to pollen, which causes widespread suffering in the warmer months when there is more pollen in the air.
Not only will victims be blighted with tickly throats and constant nose wiping, now it’s possible that they could be invalidating their car insurance too.
How can hay fever affect cover
Make sure you read the packaging carefully before taking hay fever medication and getting behind the wheel.
The Road Traffic Act does not distinguish between illegal drugs, prescription drugs or over the counter remedies. Meaning, in theory, you could face a drug-driving conviction for driving after taking certain hay fever tablets.
A drug-driving conviction could cost up to £5000 and could see points added to your licence. Any conviction will normally increase your premiums too.
Insurer Swinton recently reminded motorists that some allergy medications can cause side effects like dizziness, drowsiness and confusion. Be aware of this if you’re planning on driving and acknowledge any warnings and advice outlined on the medication packaging.
What is hay fever?
Medically speaking, hay fever is a type of allergic rhinitis that’s caused by pollen. The allergic reaction causes the inside of the nose to become inflamed. The allergen can cause problems with the nose, sinuses, eyes and throat.
During an allergic reaction the body releases a chemical called histamine which causes these symptoms. Hay fever medication is an anti-histamine.
How can I prevent it?
– Avoid mowing the lawn and freshly cut grass.
– Wear wrap-around sun glasses to shield your eyes from pollen.
– Vacuum regulary and dust with a damp cloth to remove polllen from your home.
– Shower regulary after spending time outside to remove pollen from your body.
– Avoid fresh flowers in the home.
– Keep windows closed if possible (in car and home)
– Consider a pollen filter for the air vents in your car.
Are there any natural treatments?
Aside from over-the-counter anti-histamine tablets, nasal sprays and eye drops – there are a few natural suggestions you could try too. However, the effectiveness of alternative treatments may vary and may not work/be suitable for everyone.
It has been claimed that acupuncture, homeopathy and herbal remedies can help relieve/prevent hay fever symptoms. Always discuss options with your GP first.
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