Hay fever affects around one in four people are there are many symptoms in diagnosing it. Hay fever is usually worse between late March and September, especially when it is warm, humid and windy. This is when the pollen count is higher than usual. However this year due to the outbreak of coronavirus, some symptoms of hay fever are similar to those of the coronavirus – like a cough.
- How to tell the difference between hay fever and coronavirus
Experts warn, amidst the current pandemic, some people may mistake these symptoms of those of coronavirus.
According to the NHS website one of the main symptoms of coronavirus is a persistent dry cough.
While a cough is not a common symptom in hay fever, Avogel says a cough can occur and if so, it can be very irritating.
There are a number of reasons why allergies can lead to coughs including post-nasal drips to simple irritating of the upper respiratory passages.
When pollen irritates the nasal passages, fluid is produced by the inflamed membranes.
This then builds up and drops down to the throat, which irritates it and can cause a cough.
Avogel says it is hard to determine what is causing a cough, and any new persistent cough could be a sign of coronavirus.
Sufferers are advised to self-isolate for 14 days if they, or anyone else in their household, begins to show symptoms.
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The NHS urges people to protect others, and to not visit places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or a hospital if showing signs of coronavirus.
If people are unsure on what to do they can phone 111 for the best advice.
If you are a sufferer of hay fever and develop other symptoms like an itchy throat, itchy eyes and a runny nose, then the chances are high that the cough is caused by hay fever.
Other hay fever symptoms include a headache, shortness of breath and tiredness.
- Hay fever warning: Britain’s sufferers brace for high pollen count
Symptoms normally occur when the pollen count is over 50.
However, due to a main symptom of coronavirus being a persistent cough, it can be easily mixed up.
A hay fever cough may be dry and tickly. A dry cough can be caused by the throat being irritated by pollen.
If you are experiencing persistent coughing then a warm drink of honey and lemon can reduce the irritation and calm the throat.
The lemon acts as a disinfectant to prevent any infections from developing or making the cough worse.
Drinking lots of water and staying hydrated is important as it will stop the throat becoming dry and even more irritated. It will also flush down any pollen which has stuck to the throat.
Avogel also advises to try and avoid going out when the pollen count is high.
You can check the accurate pollen count here: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/warnings-and-advice/seasonal-advice/pollen-forecast#?date=2020-04-23
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