Hold That Sneeze Tuesday, Jul 1 2014 

Fatigued and distracted, we sip hot coffee, devour hamburgers, jive to the music, talk on the phone with friends and coworkers, apply make-up, and discipline the little ones in the back seat—all while maneuvering a 4,000 pound vehicle on streets jammed with other cars, buses, and pedestrians.

Oh, and we also sneeze and blow our noses.

A study cited in the July issue of Allergy (and also the June 24th Wall Street Journal) stated that driving under the influence of allergies is comparable to having a low blood alcohol concentration. The study, which was conducted in the Netherlands, found that people with untreated allergy symptoms drove considerably more impaired than those who were not. It was as if they had a blood alcohol level of .03%. The tests used were similar to those for drunken driving.

The study also noted that, although driving improved in those who were administered antihistamines, they tested more poorly on oral exams than those who did not, most likely due the level of drowsiness from the medication.

So if the pollen count is high, you may want to reach for one of the over-the-counter remedies, or better yet, take public transportation. Who knows, the day may come when we will be arrested for sneezing behind the wheel.

©2014 Mary K. Doyle


Nothing to Sneeze About Monday, Apr 1 2013 

The sneezing has started. The long-awaited hope and beauty of spring may appear late in coming to the Midwest, but I already feel it is in full swing.

According to my Zyrtec ap, tree pollen is at medium level. Flowering trees are beginning to bloom and they are some of the worst offenders of allergies. Their pollen carries in the wind for miles.

Here are a few precautions to help lessen the effects of outdoor allergens:

  • Avoid parking under trees.
  • Cover up with a light jacket and slacks to keep pollen off of your skin.
  • Wash your hair, face, hands, and any exposed skin after being outside.
  • Remain indoors on days you feel particularly affected.
  • Talk to your doctor about allergy medications.
  • Try rinsing your nose with a neti pot. Many find it helpful, but it is recommended to use distilled or boiled and cooled water with it to avoid tap water that may contain bacteria.
  • Dust and vacuum your home often to remove airborne allergens.
  • Don’t plant shrubs, trees, and plants close to your home.
  • When you are really uncomfortable, consider relocating for a day or two.

©2013 Mary K. Doyle

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