Have you ever been so busy rubbing your eyes or sneezing while driving that your concentration isn’t on the road? Have you ever worried that your allergies could be affecting your performance behind the wheel? A recent study has found that untreated allergies do affect your driving, almost as much as driving while intoxicated.
The study, published in Allergy, the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, focused on 19 people in their early 30’s who suffered from both grass and tree pollen allergies. During the allergy off-season, the study participants were treated for their allergies with either a placebo pill or nasal spray, or a true antihistamine or steroid nasal spray. Following their allergy treatment, they were given a nose spray of grass and tree allergens to provoke allergy symptoms.
Participants then took a 60-minute driving test. A camera in the car recorded how often the participant veered for the center lane, a common test used for assessing drunken driving.
The findings revealed that those participants who received a placebo had the greatest impairment. In fact, the scores for those participants were comparable to driving with a blood-alcohol level of .03%, which is just under the legal blood-alcohol level of .05% in most countries (the US limit is .08% ).
Perhaps what is most scary about the study is that the allergy sufferers who had not received treatment had such significant driving impairment in easy driving conditions. That’s impairment without other drivers on the road, cell phones, or unexpected road hazards.
Take Care of Untreated Allergies
The study reminds us that allergies aren’t just a quality of life problem; they can also be a danger to your health if not properly managed. At Accent ENT, we’re dedicated to the successful treatment of even the most severe allergy and sinus problems.
For most people, allergies can easily be managed with the use of simple control measures including sublingual therapy, antihistamines and steroid nose sprays. Our doctors work to help make sure that you have the most effective, non-invasive treatment for your situation.
If you do suffer from allergy or sinus problems that do not improve with these simple medical maneuvers, our ENT specialist may perform tests to determine if surgery could help relieve your chronic and acute allergy problems such as ongoing sinus infections. We offer minimally invasive, effective surgeries, such as balloon sinuplasty and endoscopic sinus surgery. Learn more about our allergy and sinus treatments.
If you’re suffering from ongoing sinus or allergy problems, don’t let them rule your life, and certainly don’t choose to sneeze and drive. Contact Accent’s ENT specialists in Gainesville today to schedule an appointment.