Difference Between Hayfever/Asthma/COVID symptoms


Pharmacist - M.B.A. (Public Health) D.I.C.

Difference Between Hayfever/Asthma/COVID symptoms

There are over 300,000 people in Ireland, who…

There are over 300,000 people in Ireland, who have both asthma and hayfever.  They should take precautions during this years “Pollen Season” to avoid a potentially fatal asthma attack.

The Asthma Society of Ireland recently launched its annual Hayfever Campaign for the 304,000 people who have both asthma and hayfever in Ireland. The Asthma Society’s Hayfever Campaign includes the Pollen Tracker, providing daily updates of pollen levels nationwide, and also predictions of pollen levels for the following day. The Asthma Society is encouraging people with hayfever to visit the Pollen Tracker page on asthma.ie regularly and to ensure their hayfever is well managed this summer.

Unmanaged hayfever symptoms are capable of causing asthma symptoms to escalate into a potentially serious asthma attack, which in some case can be fatal. One person dies every week in Ireland from asthma.


People with asthma need to ensure their hayfever is well managed throughout “Pollen Season” which runs from now until September. The Pollen Tracker on asthma.ie will allow people to recognise the days that require additional precautions for managing their hayfever.


During the current coronavirus pandemic, it is extremely important that people with asthma can distinguish between coronavirus and hayfever symptoms. The Asthma Society has been working with its medical advisory group to create a Know Your Symptoms Chart which will allow people with asthma and COPD to recognise if their symptoms point to hayfever or to coronavirus. This resource is available on asthma.ie.


“As we come into hayfever season, it’s important to know the crossovers between hay fever, asthma and coronavirus symptoms, but also to have help differentiating symptoms between the three. The Asthma Society’s have a graphic on their website (asthma.ie) , which clearly outlines what symptoms are strongly or occasionally association with COVID-19, hayfever, asthma and COPD, to help support patients differentiate between these conditions.


Common COVID-19 symptoms include feeling unwell, a temperature, a slight shortness of breath, or a persistent cough. The common symptoms of hayfever are: itchy eyes, itchy throat and a running nose. The loss of smell and loss of taste, which are symptoms of the start of the new coronavirus, can also be a symptom of hayfever.


There are also noticeable differences between COVID-19 and hayfever symptoms. For example, the COVID-19 cough is persistent, while a hayfever cough tends to occur at night-time. Hayfever sufferers don’t usually feel unwell or tired, but these are common symptoms of COVID-19. People with hayfever, although they have symptoms, they tend not to feel particularly unwell. When a patient has COVID-19, they usually are unwell and they tend to feel flu-like aches, pains or chills in their body, which is not typical of hayfever.


Many people have also identified tiredness as a feature of COVID-19. The tiredness that hayfever sufferers experience is related to patients taking certain antihistamines and not the condition itself.”


The hints and tips around hayfever and asthma management include:


  • Every morning, check the pollen level predicted for the day and take appropriate preventative steps.
  • Speak to our pharmacists at Lynchs pharmacy, Douglas about putting a hayfever management plan in place, including medicines to prevent or reduce symptoms.
  • Inhaler technique is very important for the proper management and control of asthma. Visit www.mytelehealth.info for demonstration videos on the correct use of every type of inhaler.
  • Keep windows and doors closed when the pollen count is high
  • 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 of time
  • Avoid drying clothes outdoors, or shake them outdoors before bringing them in
  • Minimise your contact with pets that have been outdoors and are likely to be carrying pollen


If people with asthma or COPD have any questions in relation to symptoms they are experiencing, they can go online at www.mytelehealth.info and speak to our virtual pharmacist or call into lynchs pharmacy douglas, or ring us on 4366923.


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