Covid-19: Pollen or Pandemic?

Perhaps you’ve developed a cough or you’ve noticed some shortness of breath. While it could be any number of things, it’s not unusual to link your symptoms to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. With so much discussion about the virus and its symptoms, it’s understandable you might start worrying you’ve picked it up.

The main warning signs of COVID-19 the disease caused by the new coronavirus, are fever, fatigue and a cough. Here is a quick guide differentiating the symptoms between Hay Fever and Covid-19:

If you usually get seasonal allergies and your symptoms are all present on the green column of the list above, the most likely explanation is that you’re experiencing seasonal allergies. People sometimes call allergies “Hay Fever,” but they don’t actually give you a fever.

Examples of common seasonal allergens are:
• Grass and tree pollen
• Dust and mould allergies
• Insect bites and stings

Tips for allergy sufferers:
• Talk to doctor or pharmacist about taking medication to prevent / reduce symptoms.
• Keep windows closed in your bedroom at night
• Stay indoors as much as possible on high pollen days
• Stay away from grassy areas, especially when grass is freshly cut
• Put Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen
• Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen getting into your eyes
• Shower, wash your hair and change your clothes if you have been outside for an extended period
• Avoid drying clothes outdoors, or shake them outdoors before bringing them in
• Minimise your contact with pets who have been outdoors and are likely to be carrying pollen
• Consider a purifier with a built-in air quality sensor to remove allergens and pollutants from the air

There are a range of very effective over the counter remedies from your Haven pharmacy to help reduce the symptoms of allergies. Please speak to one of our trained advisers or ask your Haven Pharmacist if you would like advice on which treatment is best suited to your needs.

If you’re still unsure, ask yourself these questions:

What are your initial symptoms?

Runny nose and itchy eyes? Allergies. Aching muscles? It could be the flu. As for COVID-19, expect symptoms similar to the flu, but with fever coming on strong (and possible shortness of breath in advanced cases). It’s important to remember that coronavirus can present with mild symptoms—in fact, up to 80% of cases are considered mild—so be sure to monitor how you’re feeling carefully.

When did your symptoms start?

Seasonal allergies last over a series of days or a week, since allergens are increasing every day, with trees budding and pollen spreading. The flu, however, tends to come on suddenly, and norovirus is even faster. There’s still much to learn about COVID-19, but current reports suggest that it begins slower than the flu—typically with a fever first followed by the symptoms mentioned above between two and 14 days after exposure.

Are symptoms getting progressively worse?

You should hit a plateau with allergies, although that can drag on for months. With a flu or COVID-19, you’re looking at around a week to 10 days with a milder case. But if your symptoms are worsening, you may be headed for pneumonia with either the flu or coronavirus. If your breathing starts to feel labored or you have a high fever that persists for days or doesn’t respond to OTC medication, seek medical attention.

Have you been traveling?

If you think you have COVID-19, you’re likely to be asked if you or someone you have direct contact with has been traveling—especially to hot spots where the virus is prevalent.

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