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Antihistamines a danger for drowsy driving

We recently wrote about drowsy driving in our Norman Motor Vehicles Accidents Blog. Drowsy driving is an extremely dangerous behavior with symptoms that are very similar to drunk driving such as the inability to focus and a slowed reaction time. What can make drowsy driving extra dangerous at times is that it is not given the same respect as drunk driving.

The Food and Drug Administration recently reminded drivers that as allergy season comes on in full swing, it is important that they know that antihistamines can make a driver sleepy.

Antihistamines are a medication that millions of people take on a daily basis to help reduce swelling, sneezing, itching and other allergy symptoms that also can be risky while driving. The FDA is not asking that these people stop taking the meds completely, but that they instead understand the effect that they have and avoid driving where necessary.

The FDA asks that before driving and putting themselves and others at risk for a car accident, an allergy sufferer should take a medication for long enough periods that they can assess their body's reaction to the meds. When individuals alter a dosage or switch to another medication, they should reassess their body's response. If it makes them drowsy, they should seek another course of action or avoid driving.

If there is simply no dosage or individual medication that seems to eliminate the drowsy symptoms, a person can try taking them before going to bed. Anyone taking antihistamines should avoid mixing medications or drinking any amount of alcohol before getting behind the wheel.

Source: CBS News, "FDA: Allergy medications may make you too drowsy to drive," Ryan Jaslow, June 1, 2013

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