Covid or hay fever? How to spot the difference as pollen bomb explodes this weekend

Covid or hay fever? How to spot the difference as pollen bomb explodes this weekend

July 16, 2021

A POLLEN bomb is set to explode this weekend causing misery for hay fever sufferers.

But with symptoms similar to Covid-19 – how can you spot the difference between the virus and common hay fever signs?

Temperatures are set to soar this weekend, which means pollen counts will also be through the roof in most areas.

The forecast for pollen is very high across the whole of England, and is also at high levels in Scotland over the weekend.

For hay fever sufferers, itchy eyes and a runny nose are all common symptoms.

But there are some symptoms that also cross over with Covid-19, such as a sore throat and a cough.

Although a cough is common in both illnesses, there will be differences between the two.

If you have hay fever it's likely your cough will feel tickly and dry – whereas if you have Covid it's likely to be a more persistent cough with at least three coughing episodes in one day.

GP and lead physician at Bupa, Jo Byfleet explained: "If you have hay fever, you’re likely to find yourself sneezing, with a runny or stuffy nose – which aren’t typical symptoms of coronavirus.

"If you have a blocked nose because of hay fever, this may affect your smell or taste.

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"Losing your ability to taste or smell because of coronavirus isn’t usually because of a blocked nose because this isn’t a symptom."

Throughout the pandemic the NHS said the three main symptoms of Covid-19 include a new persistent cough, a loss of taste and smell and a high temperature.

If you have any of these you should get a test – but experts now warn the Delta variant could mean people display different symptoms.

If you are under 40, the signs to look for now are a headache, sore throat and runny nose, according to data.

If you are over 40, the key signs are a headache, runny nose and sneezing.

A leading professor said the Delta variant, first identified in India, seems to “working slightly differently”.

However, it could also be because Covid is currently causing an epidemic in young people, and symptoms are known to vary by age group. 

Common hay fever symptoms

Here are the most common hay fever symptoms to look out for

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy, watery or red eyes
  • Cough

Prof Tim Spector, the lead on the study, told The Telegraph: “Since the start of May, we’ve been looking at the top symptoms and they are not the same as they were.

“Number one is headache followed by sore throat, runny nose and fever."

If you have any doubts about whether or not you have Covid-19 then you should take a test.

If the test comes back positive then you need to isolate immediately.

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