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09th Apr 2020

#Covid-19: Pharmacist shares how to tell the difference between hay fever and coronavirus symptoms

Keeley Ryan

pollen levels

Pollen levels are set to start increasing this month.

Which means that hay fever sufferers will start to face the dreaded sniffles, stuffy noses and sneezing that come with the seasonal reaction.

Now more than ever, it’s important to know the difference between common hay fever symptoms and those that could be a sign of Coronavirus, so you can take the right steps to feeling better.

Boots Pharmacist Heather Feeney has shared her advice on how to know the difference between hay fever and Coronavirus – and how to manage any hay fever symptoms you may have, so that you can make the most of your brief exercise outdoors (from a social distance) or spending time in your garden.

“Hayfever symptoms are different to Coronavirus. The most common symptoms of Coronavirus are a high temperature and / or a new continuous cough. Hay fever doesn’t cause a high temperature and most people don’t feel unwell,” she said.

“While our knowledge of Coronavirus is still evolving it appears that sneezing is not a symptom and it’s rare to have a runny or stuffy nose. Typical hay fever symptoms include sneezing, a runny or blocked nose, itchy red watery eyes or an itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears.”

Daily prevention is the first thing to consider, according to Feeney.

Here’s what she suggests:

  • Try applying Vaseline to the inside of your nose, it works as a barrier and can trap pollen before breathing it in.
  • When you’re in and out of the garden, wear wraparound sunglasses to help prevent pollen from getting in and irritating your eyes.
  • After spending time outdoors, try and make time to have a shower to wash away any stray pollen on your hair and skin, and put all clothes straight in the wash.
  • Avoid hanging your washing outside as the pollen in the air can cling to your clean clothes and linger on the materials.

Also, make sure to keep an eye on the Met Éireann website – monitoring the pollen forecast will definitely help.

“There are lots of hay fever relief products out there, so if one type of medication isn’t working for you, consider swapping to another. If you’re looking for help choosing, your local Boots pharmacy team will be able to suggest alternatives,” Feeney added.