Covid or hay fever? How to tell the difference when a pollen bomb explodes

A POLLEN bomb hit the British today and brought misery to hay fever sufferers.

But with similar symptoms to Covid-19, how can you tell the difference between the virus and the usual signs of hay fever?

With pollen counts rising sharply this weekend, it's important to know the difference between hay fever and coronavirus


With pollen counts rising sharply this weekend, it’s important to know the difference between hay fever and coronavirusPhoto credit: Getty – Contributor

Temperatures are rising from today, which means that pollen counts will also be through the roof in most areas.

The forecast for pollen is high in most of England and Wales this weekend.

Itchy eyes, sneezing and a runny nose are common symptoms of hay fever.

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

A runny nose is now one of the most common symptoms of omicron.

Although a cough is common with both diseases, there are differences between the two.

When you have hay fever your cough is likely to feel ticklish and dry – whereas with Covid it’s likely to be a more persistent cough with at least three coughing fits in a day.

Free tests have now been phased out in England but if you want to know for sure if you have a cold or the virus you can buy a single test for around £1 or a pack for around £10.

Common symptoms of hay fever

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

  • Sneeze
  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Itchy, watery, or red eyes
  • Cough

It’s also advised to stay at home if you have symptoms of Covid – which the NHS says include a runny nose, headache or fatigue – have a high temperature or don’t feel well enough to go to work or engage in normal activities .

Professor Tim Spector, leader of the Zoe Covid Symptom Study, said: “The runny nose seems to creep up every time I look up – 83 per cent of people with Covid currently have a runny nose.”

The top 20 Omicron symptoms include fatigue, sore throat, headache, sneezing, hoarse voice, eye pain, and unusual muscle pain.

As pollen levels rise, it becomes difficult for people with hay fever to know if they are having their usual springtime reaction or are sicker.

Today, pollen concentrations are high in the South West, London and South East, East England, East Midlands, West Midlands, Wales, Yorkshire and Humber and the North West.

Levels are low in all other regions except the Northeast where mild pollen levels will occur.

These high readings will continue across the country through Sunday, with readings returning to more stable levels on Monday.

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Fry Electronics Team

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