Study shows allergies can impair driving

Study shows allergies can impair driving

When Daniel Meyers was just eight years old he came close to death. Nearly 40 years later, Meyers remembers the day like it was yesterday.

"Me and some friends were going through the woods catching crawfish and I was stung over 125 times by yellow jackets. They had to put me in a induced coma, " Meyers said.

Meyers survived to tell his story. Allergy Specialist Dr. Brian Humphrey said this event left Meyers with severe allergies.

"A 125 time his body wasn't prepared for it," Humphrey said.

When it comes to allergies it can affect just about every facet of life for example driving.

"Whenever you sneeze that will cause a distraction and you may jerk the wheel or something like that. I have actually had sneezing fits to where I had to pull over to the side of the road,” Meyers said.

"Allergies one way or another are going to affect your driving habits. A study in the Netherlands was recently done that seems to confirm that," Humphrey said.

The study is in The Allergy European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.19 participants in the study were given non-drowsy antihistamines or nasal sprays while others were given nothing. The participants drove about an hour with a camera recording them to see how often they veer off the road. The results found that the magnitude of impairment was comparable to a blood alcohol level of 0.05%.

Humphrey said this is because allergies can impair cognitive functions.

"When you’re all congested. Your eyes are watery blurry. You haven't been drinking at all but your functioning is lowered because of the allergic state," Humphrey said.

Meyers said when it comes to driving he takes every precaution possible. He makes sure to keep an inhaler on him for when he has an allergy attack.

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