Hayfever Vs CoronavirusCOVID-19: how to tell hay fever and coronavirus apart
May’s month is undoubtedly the harbinger of the summer season, which most citizens would happily enjoy even in the lockdown. Yet this season is always bad news for people who are allergic to pollen and struggle from hay fever.
Hayfever sufferers are even more anxious this year as some of the common symptoms of hayfever can be mistaken with the symptoms of coronavirus.
What is hay fever?
Hay fever is an allergic response of the body towards pollen. It is also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis. The most common known reason of this allergy is grass pollen, typically the most prevalent of which occurs between May and July, unsurprisingly, this is when most people have symptoms of hay fever.
It is important to note that tree pollen can also bring on symptoms from as early as February until June, and weed pollen from June until as late as September!
What are the symptoms of hay fever?
Most patients say their hay fever symptoms is easily managed, but other can be severely affected, and their symptoms will have a huge effect on their everyday life over many months. The symptoms of hay fever can vary from person to person these include
- Blocked or itchy nose
- Feeling sniffy
- Watery and irritated eyes
- Irritated throat
- Loss of smell
- Headaches, pain in your face (especially the sinuses) and sweats.
- If the fever gets really bad, the patient might have face trouble sleeping.
Our Superintendent community pharmacist Mr Nur Choudhury suggests prompt treatment of the symptoms.
‘Hay fever can make us feel really terrible. It has no cure, but only prevention can help you’.
He adds, all-round antihistamines like cetirizine or loratadine, can usually bring relief. “If the symptoms appear to impact one system/region, you may also use over-the-counter medicine to address these, such as eye drops or nasal spray,”
He also suggests ‘It may even help place some Vaseline around the nostrils to catch pollen to avoid it from going through your nose.”
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most widely reported symptoms of COVID-19 includes cough and a high temperature (37.8°C or above). It is important to note, symptoms can be highly variable from person to person.
People with COVID-19 show flu-like symptoms for around 6-10 days. The virus tends to affect the upper respiratory tract when it is moderate and the signs include
- Elevated temperature (above 37.8C) and sweating.
- Fatigue and muscle ache.
- Irritated throat or sore throat.
- Runny or blocked nose.
- Slight breathlessness may be possible but it does not affect your normal activity level.
- Slight loss of smell.
If you have moderate COVID-19, it’s likely the virus is affecting the lower respiratory tract, so symptoms tend to affect the lungs more and include:
- More troublesome, persistent cough.
- High temperature that reaches or exceeds 37.8°C.
- Tiredness that might keep you bedbound for a few days.
- Dry mouth from breathing through your open mouth.
COVID-19: how to tell hay fever and coronavirus apart
For one in four people, the arrival of warmer weather marks the beginning of an annual struggle.
Why could hay fever and COVID-19 be confused?
A few of the signs of hay fever can also be found in coronavirus, i.e. loss of smell cough, swollen nose and feeling unwell overall. You can also note that hay fever worsens any of the asthma effects, such as wheezing and breathlessness, whether you have asthma and hay fever. In reality, during the hay fever season some people get just symptoms of asthma. As breathlessness is one of the symptoms of coronavirus, it is reasonable that some people would be uncertain whether they have hay fever or they have coronavirus. Most of the people affected from hay fever are influenced since childhood and are likely to develop same symptoms each year so they already know the symptoms of it. But in any case, if you haven’t heard you might be worried about suddenly developing nasal or respiratory symptoms. However, for the first time over the age of 20, about one in five people with hay fever have symptoms, so there is no reason to suppose that the symptoms of an adult cannot be caused by hay fever just because they never had it before.
I’m not sure whether it’s hay fever or coronavirus – what should I do?
If you think your fever or cough is new. It is important to self-isolate yourself because it can be the symptoms of corona virus. Mild illness doesn’t require medical attention so you should self-manage at home, taking paracetamol or ibuprofen to treat symptoms if you need to. If you begin to feel worse or develop more symptoms, you are advised to call 111 to speak to doctors who can prescribe you medication. It is important for you to not to go anywhere if you think you have corona virus.
How can I manage my hay fever during lockdown?
Hay fever can be cured at home even if your symptoms are severe.
You should stay indoors as much as possible and when in your home keep windows and doors closed. This will reduce your exposure to pollen.
During COVID-19 there is more pressure on frontline health systems, however, help is always at hand and you should not put off seeing or speaking to a professional.
- You can call your local pharmacy for advice.
- If you’re isolating or shielding you could ask someone to visit the pharmacy on your behalf.
- You can also access advice from many pharmacies online (with a telephone or video consultation).
- Call your G.P surgery
- Call 111
Mr Choudhury’s advice is you shouldn’t needlessly suffer. Always ask for medical advice if you are unsure. If you looking for highly effective hay fever treatment, you can view the treatment options available at AccessDoctor.