When we get behind the wheel, what is the influence we are under? Regardless of your age or health status, please continue reading to the bottom of this post; it may save your life one day or the life of a loved one.
Alcohol can be detected by smelling it on you and also from the way you are acting; how are you trying to hide the fact of too much alcohol? Did you just have one drink but your actions are off the wall and you have a presentation as if you were binge drinking? What other substances do you have in your bodies that are interacting?
What are the other influences that can alter your driving but they are not tested for nor regulated to be an issue?
Legal issues pertain to alcohol and driving under the influence can be documented by a breath test or a blood test that stands up in court per the laws of the land.
Have you ever read the Physician Desk Reference or the small piece of paper that comes with each prescription that you pick up? Maybe you just pass by the warnings and recommendations on the over the counter items you take to self-medicate?
It is important to have this discussion as any decade in life because at some time, there will be risks involved with medications and other physical/mind altering drugs that will alert you to take a stand.
Here are a few items that may cause issues with driving but they do not have warnings that stop you from driving:
- High blood pressure medication
- Diabetic drugs
- Eye medications
- Stress relievers
- Sleep inducers
- Almost every prescription and over the counter medication has a body affecting influence, there are no exceptions
Well, the list could go on and on as everything alters your body in some way and that alteration may be what you are not used to and could cause a potential issue. While high blood pressure medication may not ‘cause’ a driving issue, the medication brings down your blood pressure and if taking too much, not at the right time, have other medications along with it, and so on, you can drop your pressure so low or too high that you may not be driving like a person without medications.
The changes we put our body through and the items we use to regulate the symptoms we are having, alter the way our body responds. It is that response that is the concern when getting behind the wheel.
Maybe you say, ‘I am young, I do not need to worry about this article’. But you are on the same road as others, you may have relatives that need support when driving or taking their medications, you may be asked to help others when you really don’t want to and you may be asked to judge someone’s symptoms to get them help; are you ready to listen now?
Here is the take home point: Everything you put into your body IS a big deal! Even if the physician, family member, loved one, or you say it is no big deal, it IS a big deal.
What to do:
- Decrease excessive over the counter self-medicating
- Get a print out of the medication you are taking and keep it in your purse or car
- Ask the pharmacist:
- If your prescriptions are interacting
- If you can add a certain over the counter drug with your prescriptions
- If alcohol affects you when taking an over the counter medication or prescription
- If food affects the prescription you are taking
- If driving should be avoided with the medication and what are the issues
It is best to ask a pharmacist these questions as they have a large database directly from the manufacturer and can see all the interactions as they are noted on other databases they can access.
If you are caring for a loved one, are visiting relatives over the holidays or just need to ask questions; reach out and contact Dr. Jeanette directly through her website for assistance on knowing what questions to ask and how to navigate the process of getting help. Send a request through the contact us page and you will have a response within 12 hours.
ANY physical or mind altering symptoms that seem different, off, of concern, or new; seek professional medical treatment immediately.
The steps are:
- Contact your physician, if you don’t get an answer or the response you need, next
- Contact a pharmacist, ask what the medications may possible be doing, if not sure of the response, next
- Go to an urgent care or emergency room for an evaluation; take all items with you; boxes and bottles of over the counter items and prescriptions. Be sure to share with the Dr. if alcohol has been taken at any time in the last 24 hours, if sleep or food has changed, and if stressors in life are present.
The worst thing you can do is nothing; everything else that you do is a great help.
Make the choice to stop the interaction of drugs, the excessive prescribing of medications, the increase in over the counter self-prescribing, and become more aware of how your body is responding on a daily basis; should you REALLY be driving?
Ask for help, ask questions and reach out. Help is available.