Spring has just begun in Australia and hay fever sufferers will be extra anxious this year, as their symptoms will have them wondering it is just their annual sneezes or perhaps signs they have contracted COVID-19.
About one in five Australians suffer from hay fever which can come and go throughout the season, while for others it remains quite persistent.
Both COVID-19 and hay fever share symptoms that affect the respiratory system – a runny nose, sneezing, wheezing and blocked sinuses.
Authorities have urged anyone who had cold-like symptoms like these to be tested as it could indicate coronavirus.
About one in five Australians suffer from hay fever which can come and go for some, while for others it remains quite persistent (stock)
Australians are confused on whether or not their hay fever symptoms could just be hayfever or COVID-19 (stock)
‘People who regularly get hay fever will often know the symptoms well, such as the red, watery itchy eyes,’ the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) spokeswoman Janet Davies told ABC.
She explained that those irritated eyes are not associated with COVID-19 but it is important to still get tested right away.
Some common symptoms of hay fever include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy throat and watery eyes.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are quite similar and include cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, fever or chills, the loss of smell or taste and a runny nose.
Asthma and allergy expert from the University of Melbourne and the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Jo Douglass said it could be quite confusing as symptoms are very similar.
‘People with hay fever generally don’t get fever, it’s called hay fever because people feel awful. And the sore throat which you can get with COVID, in hay fever they get an itchy throat,’ she said.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are quite similar and include cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, fever or chills, the loss of smell or taste and a runny nose (stock)
Some common symptoms of hay fever include sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, itchy throat and watery eyes (stock)
Hay fever also comes loss of taste and smell for some people, while that is a common symptom for COVID-19.
While hay fever sufferers are most likely to be suffering another dose of their annual misery, doctors have said it is important to get tested right away to keep yourself and others safe, particularly if you have respiratory symptoms.
There is also the point that Australians in different states will experience hay fever symptoms at different times.
Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Tasmania all experience a short hay fever season between October and the start of December.
Up in Queensland, hay fever season lasts much longer from summer all through till autumn.