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Hay fever or Coronavirus: what are the symptoms?

Hay fever or Coronavirus: what are the symptoms?

Not only is Britain in lockdown due to the Coronavirus, but it’s also hay fever season and the Royal College of General Practitioners is warning people not to mix up the symptoms. Here is a list of symptoms for each to help you tell the difference.

As pollen levels start to rise in the UK, hay fever suffers are beginning to feel the effects. Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, admitted there are some cross-over symptoms between the two conditions - but also key differences.

Here’s what you need to look out for:

Hay Fever 


Itchy throat

High temperature

Mild cough – typically in the mornings and evenings.

New continuous cough – dry coughing for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours.

Red/itchy eyes

Shortness of breath

Feeling tired



Body aches


Runny or blocked nose

What are the experts saying?

Allergy UK, the country’s leading allergy support charity are advising hay fever sufferers and asthmatics to ensure they have enough medication in advance to help relieve symptoms.

On their website, Allergy UK states: “Do not mistake hay fever symptoms for coronavirus. The symptoms of coronavirus are a high temperature and a new, continuous cough

Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs said: "We would normally expect to see a number of patients at this time of year suffering from symptoms of allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever”.

He’s concerned about the typical symptoms of hay fever that sufferers experience, such as a runny or blocked nose, sneezing, sore and watering eyes - but also sometimes a cough.

What can you do to protect yourself and others?

  • Always catch your sneezes in a tissue, throw it away and wash your hands with soap and water after.
  • Cough into the crook of your elbow to stop bacteria getting onto your hands and spreading to other surfaces.
  • Itchy eyes? Try not to rub them or scratch your face.
  • Try wiping your eyes with cotton wool pads soaked in cool water and throw away after.

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