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Thinking Differently
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Hay fever Vs COVID-19 symptoms

07 May 2020by lindseyh

Know what symptoms are ‘normal’ for you


We are now well into spring, and the pollen count is at its highest when the weather is warm, humid and windy. GPs are urging people to understand the differences and similarities between the symptoms of hay fever and Covid-19 (coronavirus).


Dr David Hegarty, Chair at NHS Dudley CCG, said: “Typical hay fever symptoms include a runny or blocked nose, sneezing, sore and watering eyes – but also sometimes a cough. As a continuous dry cough is one of the main symptoms of Covid-19, it’s important to compare your own symptoms to previous years.


“If you are concerned that your symptoms are different or more severe than normal, please use NHS 111 online or speak to your GP. In any event, it is still important to bin used tissues, keep washing your hands, and only leave your home for necessary journeys to reduce the risk of spreading or contracting Covid-19.”


Pharmacists can also give advice and suggest the best treatments for hay fever symptoms, like antihistamine drops, tablets or nasal sprays to help with itchy and watery eyes and sneezing. People who have hay fever and asthma are encouraged to continue to take their asthma medicines as prescribed.


Dr Hegarty added: “Contrary to recent rumours, you can carry on taking antihistamines without any worry that this is making you more susceptible to Covid-19 or compromising your immune system. It is also important to take antihistamines to reduce sneezing – which could transmit the virus if you are unknowingly carrying it.”


If your symptoms are significantly different to ‘normal’ and you have specific symptoms of Covid-19 – a new, persistent cough and a high temperature – you can use the 111 online coronavirus service. Do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital if you think you might have coronavirus. If your symptoms are mild, the message is to follow government advice and self-isolate for at least 7 days.

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