FAQ: Is it hay fever or COVID?

Hay fever or COVID

FAQ: Is it hay fever or COVID?

The sun’s finally making an appearance again, lockdown is lifting, and we’re all getting a much-needed taste of freedom. But we’re also entering prime pollen season and are still facing a global pandemic. So hay fever and COVID-19 are both about to clash.

One in four people in the UK has hay fever. And as the symptoms of hay fever and COVID can vary so much person to person, it’s not unusual to be left scratching your head about whether you’re feeling under the weather because of your usual allergies or if it’s something more sinister.

With this in mind, we’re here to tackle some of the most common questions you may have about hay fever and COVID.

When does hay fever hit?

Typically, hay fever rears its ugly head from May to July. For frequent sufferers, this is often when symptoms hit their peak. But it isn’t uncommon for them to begin as early as February or as late as September.

The reason? Different pollen types will peak at different times of the year. And, as your allergies will vary year on year, it’s difficult to predict when you might start experiencing symptoms. If you’re a frequent sufferer, we recommend starting your preventative measures early to get ahead.

What symptoms overlap?

Symptoms of both hay fever and the coronavirus will vary largely from person to person. Common symptom overlaps are a loss of smell, sweating, headaches, a blocked nose, and generally feeling unwell. Experiencing any of these will warrant some extra thought – and perhaps even a quick COVID test just to be sure!

Hay fever can also heighten asthma in sufferers, resulting in wheezing and shortness of breath. As this is also one of the key signs of the coronavirus, it’s clear to see why some get confused.

I’ve never had hay fever before; is it coronavirus?

Just because you’ve never had hay fever before doesn’t mean you can’t get it now. There’s no rhyme or reason to hay fever. Some people don’t experience hay fever until later in life. Don’t rule out hay fever just because it’s something you’ve never experienced before.

What do I do if I’m unsure?

As per government guidelines, if you experience a high temperature, continuous cough, or loss of taste or smell, you must self-isolate. Out of the two issues, COVID is far more dangerous, and it’s safer to not assume your symptoms are just hay fever until you have a test to confirm.

If you’re a frequent hay fever sufferer, the best thing to do is to try to get ahead of your symptoms altogether. That means taking daily over-the-counter hay fever medication, minimising time spent outdoors, and closing windows and doors to prevent pollen from getting inside.

If you can reduce your chances of experiencing hay fever symptoms, you also reduce the worry of having to decipher between COVID and your allergies.

At London Allergy & Immunology Centre, we always recommend speaking to a professional about any new symptoms – allergy or otherwise. If you think you have COVID-19, get in touch with the NHS on their website. If you think it is an allergy, we’d be more than happy to help. Get in touch on 02031 433 449.

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