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The Dangers of Driving and Allergy Medications

In many areas of the United States, 10 out of 12 months of the year is considered “allergy season”. When your body comes in contact with whatever may trigger allergies, it produces chemicals called histamines. Histamines cause the tissue in your nose to swell (making it feel stuffy), your nose and eyes to run, and itchy eyes.

Many allergy medications containing antihistamines, drugs that are to counteract the effect of histamines, can relieve different types of allergies.

The downside? Some antihistamines can make you feel drowsy, unfocused and slow to react. If not taken responsibly and according to directions, they can pose a danger to your health and safety. Information about whether an antihistamine medication can make you drowsy can be found in the product’s label. Consumers should read the Drug Facts Label of the medication and understand the warnings before they use it.

It’s also important to avoid taking alcohol, sedatives (sleep medications), or tranquilizers while taking some histamines. Alcohol and sedatives can seriously increase the sedative effects that already may occur when taking histamines.


  • Always follow directions for use and read warnings on the packages of the drug products you purchase.
  • Some antihistamines may cause drowsiness, and you need to exercise caution when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery. Avoid using alcohol, sedatives and tranquilizers while taking the product because they may increase drowsiness.
  • Know that some antihistamines take longer to work than others. Recognize that you might feel the sedating effects of these medication for some time after you’ve taken them and possible even the next day.