Tree Pollen Season – Hay Fever or Coronavirus Symptoms?

Increasing Pollen Levels

Tree pollen hayfever

With the weather suddenly warmer, pollen levels are surging to ‘high’ levels across the UK this week, causing hay fever symptoms for many sufferers.

Tree pollen marks the start of the hay fever and those with allergies to birch and ash pollen are likely to have noticed the first signs already.

Millions of Brits suffer from hay fever – around 30% of adults and 40% of children are estimated to be affected by the condition, which involves a runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and sometimes a cough.

Coronavirus vs Hayfever

This year, the Coronavirus lockdown has meant that more people are determined to enjoy their exercise time outdoors. Working from home or furlough has given many a bit more time too.

Yet there are concerns that some of the symptoms of hay fever could be confused with those of coronavirus. At a time when we’re all concerned about our health, it is important to understand the differences.

Key Differences – Coronavirus vs Hay Fever

  • Coronavirus tends to mean a high temperature, fever and/or a new, continuous cough. Patients tend to feel quite unwell. These are a lot less common with hay fever
  • Sneezing and itchy eyes are common with hay fever. These are a lot less common with Coronavirus. Patients tend to feel generally well

Hay Fever Symptoms

Hay fever can feel a bit like a cold, but the symptoms can start within minutes of exposure to pollen, last for longer and also tend to be more unpredictable than a common cold.

  • Itchy, runny nose, sneezing fits that can be quite violent
  • Loss of smell
  • Watery, itchy eyes
  • Tickly/itchy throat, coughing
  • Itchy ears
  • Headaches, earache, fatigue

Hay Fever Treatment

Over the counter remedies are the best option for treating hay fever. Antihistamine tablets, nasal sprays or eye drops are available over the counter and quite effective in reducing the allergic symptoms within a few days.

Coronavirus Symptoms

  • Fever/high temperature
  • Persistent cough, which goes on for a lot longer than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • Tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Aches and pains
  • Sore throat
  • The World Health Organisation says that very few people will report a runny nose, diarrhoea or nausea

Coronavirus Treatment

In line with government advice, patients with coronavirus symptoms should self-isolate at home for at least 7 days. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and take paracetamol to help ease symptoms of fever, aches and pains. If you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home or your condition gets worse, use the NHS 111 coronavirus service service.

Everyone else in the household must stay at home for at least 14 days after the first person’s symptoms appear.

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The Smart Clinics was founded in 2013 and is an independent and doctor-managed company with a genuine commitment to quality healthcare at the heart of the business.

The company is best known for its unique membership based private GP service with access to a friendly team of experienced doctors, which entitles individuals, families and corporate members to unlimited GP access for a monthly fee.

In addition to doctors, The Smart Clinics works with an extensive group of healthcare professionals from dentists and osteopaths to dermatologists, helping their patients to take control of their healthcare issues and access early treatment and assistance.

The Smart Clinics offers a range of private health services at clinics based in ChelseaSouth Kensington and Wandsworth.

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