While hay fever mostly spikes in springtime, the early autumn months in Australia can be equally as unpleasant due to mould spores released from leaves and trees as they fall to the ground and decay. And, as the world is highly tuned in to the spread of coronavirus – which, like seasonal allergies, mainly affects the respiratory system - it’s important to be aware of the key differences between the two conditions.
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“We know this can be a worrying time for everyone and with tree pollen beginning to affect hay fever sufferers, there’s no better time to get clued up on recognising the different symptoms you might have,” pharmacist Marc Donovan told The Sun.
Some patients have also reported aches and pains, nasal congestion, a runny nose, sore throat, stomach upset or loss of taste or smell, although these symptoms are rare and usually mild. Others have developed no symptoms at all, despite receiving a positive diagnosis.
The symptoms of hay fever, on the other hand, are usually much more obvious. According to the Mayo Clinic, these can include:
Runny nose and nasal congestion
Watery, itchy, red eyes (allergic conjunctivitis)
Itchy nose, roof of mouth or throat
Swollen, blue-coloured skin under the eyes (allergic shiners)
Hay fever may also cause headaches, wheezing and a sore throat, but these are less common.
“If your mucus is clear, thin and watery it is more likely to be hay fever,” allergy expert Max Wiseberg explained. “And although it is called hay fever, a fever is unusual, whereas it is possible with coronavirus.”
“Despite its name, hay fever is not contagious, whereas the coronavirus is - another reason for determining which one you are suffering from.”
“To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, it’s important to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and wash hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.”
Lucy BodeLucy is Women Health’s digital editor, social media specialist and the go-to girl for all things holistic wellness. Her background as a journalist and passion for food, fitness and integrative medicine has led her to write for some of Australia’s leading publications over the course of her career.