When the pollen season starts in the spring, many people with hay fever develop symptoms. There are clear differences between the typical symptoms of hay fever and those caused by a coronavirus (COVID-19). But both conditions can also have similar symptoms.
The biggest difference: The main symptoms of hay fever are sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes. The most typical symptoms of a coronavirus are a cough and fever.
The following table shows the differences:
What can I do if I’m not sure?
You should first ask yourself how typical the symptoms seem: Are they different from those you usually have during the pollen season? Symptoms like sneezing and itchy eyes are very likely to be caused by an . But hay fever can also cause allergic symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath, which are associated with COVID-19 too.
It’s also possible to have both hay fever and a coronavirus at the same time. If you have an unusual cough and fever as well as symptoms, it’s likely that you have a respiratory (too).
If you’re still not sure, it’s a good idea to find out whether it would make sense to be tested for COVID-19.
Note: Rapid tests for coronavirus antibodies that you can buy at a pharmacy can’t tell for sure whether or not you have an acute coronavirus .
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Greiner AN, Hellings PW, Rotiroti G, Scadding GK. Allergic rhinitis. Lancet 2011; 378(9809): 2112-2122.
Guo L, Ren L, Yang S, Xiao M, Chang, Yang F et al. Profiling Early Humoral Response to Diagnose Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Clin Infect Dis 2020.
Kassenärztliche Bundesvereinigung (KBV): www.116117.de. Aktuelle Hinweise zum Coronavirus.
Robert Koch-Institut. COVID-19 (Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2).
Robert Koch-Institut. Influenza.
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