(WBIR-Knoxville) Studies show that allergies affect up to 30 percent of the adult population and those who suffer from severe symptoms deal with plenty of interruptions in their everyday life.
"It makes me less productive," said Ned Delozier, suffers from allergies. "It's hard for me to concentrate. It's hard for me to stay focused. I feel miserable on certain days."
Doctors said allergy season comes two times a year. Each time, more than 3 million Americans can be affected.
A new study from the Netherlands shows that allergy season doesn't just come with the runny nose and the itchy, watery eyes. It can impair you driving too.
"They had a little camera that would look and see how somebody was focusing on their driving. If people were having their allergic problems in their season, it was almost like they were driving under the influence of alcohol," said Dr. Bob Overholt, Allergist.
The study focused solely on people with pollen allergies. Participants drove 60 minutes with a camera recording them to see how often they veered to the center lane.
The study concluded that drivers with allergy symptoms are comparable to drivers with a .03 percent blood-alcohol level and that's before taking any medication.
"They weren't thinking well," Dr. Overholt said. "They just weren't performing well. Their reaction times were not good. People lose their sense of concentration because they don't feel well and underlying allergy problems."
Those who suffer from allergies every year said the results of the study don't come as any surprise.
"If I'm having a hard time concentrating, it makes it more difficult to do certain tasks like driving or focusing at work. Things along those lines," Delozier said.
Doctors said it's important not to let allergies interrupt your everyday life and get the proper medical attention.
"If you got seasonal or year round allergies, you should work with your doctor. There are medications that can make you feel better," Dr. Overholt said.
Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Darrell DeBusk said the department's lead driving instructor actually uses a similar study that was done last year by Washington State.
He said she uses the information in her Defensive Driving courses.