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What Is The Difference Between Hay Fever And Allergies

How Can You Help Prevent Seasonal Allergies

What is the difference between an allergy and a cold?

Seasonal allergies, such as hay fever, are often caused by exposure to pollen. You can reduce your exposure to pollen by:

  • Keeping your house and car windows closed.
  • Limiting the time you spend outside when pollen counts are high .
  • Wearing a pollen mask or dust mask if you need to mow the lawn.
  • Limiting your mowing tasks if you can.
  • Rinsing your eyes with cool water or saline eyedrops to remove clinging pollen after you come indoors.
  • Taking a shower and changing your clothes after you work or play outside.

Is My Sneeze A Symptom Of Seasonal Allergies Or Coronavirus

If you are sneezing but do not have fever, achiness, or sore throat, it is more likely that you are experiencing allergy symptoms. Allergy-induced sneezes will often occur in rapid, uncontrollable bouts. People with coronavirus appear to have more infrequent sneezes, which are accompanied by other symptoms. Check out Coronavirus and Sneezing to learn more.

When To See A Doctor

If people have hay fever that does not respond to over-the-counter medication, they can see their doctor for further treatment options.

People can call their doctor if they have symptoms of COVID-19. If people have the following symptoms, they should seek medical attention immediately:

  • persistent chest pain or pressure
  • new state of confusion or not waking
  • bluish color to the lips, face, or fingernails

If people are unsure whether they have hay fever or COVID-19, they can contact their doctor to see whether they will need to test for COVID-19.

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What Are The Types Of Rhinitis

There are several types of rhinitis:

  • Allergic rhinitis is caused by allergies to substances called allergens.
  • Seasonal allergic rhinitis is sometimes called hay fever. But, people with seasonal allergic rhinitis do not have to have a fever and do not have to be exposed to hay to develop this condition. It is an allergic reaction to pollen from trees, grasses and weeds. This type of rhinitis occurs mainly in the spring and fall, when pollen from trees, grasses and weeds are in the air.
  • Perennial allergic rhinitis is caused by allergens that are present all year long. The primary causes of this type of rhinitis are allergies to dust mites, mold, animal dander and cockroach debris.
  • Non-allergic rhinitis is not caused by allergens. Smoke, chemicals or other irritating environmental conditions may provoke non-allergic rhinitis. Hormonal changes, physical defects of the nose and the overuse of nose sprays may also cause it. Sometimes medications cause it. Often, the cause of this type of rhinitis is not well understood. But it is common in patients with non-allergic asthma. The symptoms are similar to allergy symptoms.
  • Infectious rhinitis is possibly the most common type of rhinitis. It is also known as the common cold or upper respiratory infection . Colds occur when a cold virus settles into the mucous membranes of the nose and sinus cavities and causes an infection.

Treatments For Hay Fever From A Gp

How to Spot the Differences Between Hay Fever and a Cold ...

Your GP might prescribe a steroid treatment, such as a steroid nasal spray.

If steroids and other hay fever treatments do not work, your GP may refer you for immunotherapy.

This means you’ll be given small amounts of pollen as an injection or tablet to slowly build up your immunity to pollen.

This kind of treatment usually starts in the winter about 3 months before the hay fever season begins.

Immunotherapy is a specialist service that may not be available everywhere.

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What Effect Does Treating Hay Fever Have On Asthma

Treating hay fever might improve asthma symptoms.5 People who take antihistamines for hay fever have less chest tightness, wheezing, breathlessness, cough, and nocturnal symptoms.2 Small studies have shown that antihistamines improve lung function and make the airways less sensitive .2

Several small studies have shown that when nasal sprays also reduce wheezing, breathlessness, and airways sensitivity. People treated for hay fever are less likely to go to the emergency department or be hospitalized for asthma.2

How Is Allergic Rhinitis Treated

Several allergy medications can improve symptoms and help you live with hay fever. These treatments come in many forms, including liquids, pills, eye drops, nasal sprays and injections. Talk to your provider before taking any medication, especially if youre pregnant or have other health concerns. Your provider may suggest:

Antihistamines: Antihistamine medications are available with a prescription or over the counter. They work by blocking the histamine that your body releases during an allergic response. Antihistamines come as pills, liquids, eye drops, nasal sprays and inhalers. They include:

  • Loratadine .
  • Fexofenadine .
  • Levocetirizine .

Antihistamines can cause drowsiness. Avoid alcohol when taking antihistamines, especially if youre going to drive.

These medications relieve congestion in the nose and sinuses. You can take decongestants by mouth or use a nasal spray. They include:

  • Afrin® nasal spray.
  • Phenylephrine nasal spray .
  • Pseudoephedrine .

Corticosteroid nasal sprays: These sprays and inhalers reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms of hay fever. The most common nasal sprays are Flonase®, Nasacort® and Rhinocort®. Side effects include headaches, nasal irritation, nosebleeds and cough.

Your provider might recommend immunotherapy in the form of a pill that you place under your tongue.

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What Is The Difference Between Hay Fever And A Cold

Hay fever can produce symptoms similar to the common cold. However, hay fever is often chronic and can last for months.

Table 2: Hay fever vs. common cold

Hay fever
Occurs due to exposure to an allergen Occurs due to exposure to a virus
Symptoms begin immediately after exposure to the allergen Symptoms start 1-3 days after exposure to the virus
Hay fever may continue as long as you are exposed to the allergens Cold may last for 3-7 days
Symptoms include a runny nose with thin, watery discharge Symptoms include a runny nose with thicker, yellow discharge
Does not cause fever

Check If You Have Hay Fever

Allergy Consultant Explains The Difference Between Hayfever And Coronavirus | This Morning

Symptoms of hay fever include:

  • sneezing and coughing
  • a runny or blocked nose
  • itchy, red or watery eyes
  • itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
  • loss of smell
  • pain around your temples and forehead
  • headache

If you have asthma, you might also:

  • have a tight feeling in your chest
  • be short of breath
  • wheeze and cough

Hay fever will last for weeks or months, unlike a cold, which usually goes away after 1 to 2 weeks.

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What Are The Treatments For Allergic Rhinitis

The first and best option is to avoid contact with substances that trigger your nasal allergies . When prevention is not enough, consider using over-the-counter or prescription medicines:

  • Antihistamines are taken by mouth or as a nasal spray. They can relieve sneezing and itching in the nose and eyes. They also reduce a runny nose and, to a lesser extent, nasal stuffiness.
  • are taken by mouth or as a nasal spray or drops. They help shrink the lining of the nasal passages which relieves nasal stuffiness. These nose drops and sprays should be taken short-term.
  • Nasal corticosteroids are used in nasal spray form. They reduce inflammation in the nose and block allergic reactions. They are the most effective medicine type for allergic rhinitis because they can reduce all symptoms, including nasal congestion. Nasal corticosteroids have few side effects.
  • Leukotriene receptor antagonists block the action of important chemical messengers other than histamine that are involved in allergic reactions.
  • Cromolyn sodium is a nasal spray that blocks the release of chemicals that cause allergy symptoms, including histamine and leukotrienes. This medicine has few side effects, but you must take it four times a day.

Nasal allergy symptoms may disappear completely when the allergen is removed or after the allergy is treated. Talk to your pharmacist and health care provider about what is best for you.

When Should I Visit A Doctor For Hay Fever

The symptoms of hay fever are almost never immediately dangerous. Allergy testing isnt required during diagnosis for hay fever. You should see a doctor if your symptoms arent responding to over-the-counter medications. You can ask your doctor, or specialist, for an allergy test if youre interested in learning the exact cause of your allergy.

See your doctor if any of the following occur:

  • Your symptoms last longer than a week and are bothersome to you.
  • OTC allergy medications arent helping you.
  • You have another condition, like asthma, that is making your hay fever symptoms worse.
  • Hay fever occurs all year round.
  • Your symptoms are severe.
  • The allergy medications youre taking are causing bothersome side effects.
  • You are interested in learning if allergy shots or immunotherapy is a good option for you.

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What Is The Treatment For Sinus Infections And Allergies

Sinus Infection

Viral sinusitis

Antibiotics are not necessary for sinusitis caused by a virus. Frequently recommended treatments include pain and fever medications, for example:

  • Decongestants and mucolytics disolves are medications that dissolve or breakdown mucous, for example, guaifenesin.

Bacterial sinusitis

Bacterial infection of the sinuses is suspected when facial pain, nasal discharge resembling pus, and other symptoms last longer than a week, and are not responding to over-the-counter nasal medications.

Acute sinus bacterial infection usually is treated with antibiotics aimed at treating the most common bacteria known to cause sinus infection. It is unusual to get a reliable culture without aspirating the sinuses.

The five most common bacteria causing sinus infections are:

If you don’t improve after five days of taking the antibiotic, contact your doctor because he may want to switch antibiotics to one of the five listed above or amoxicillin-clavulanate .

Generally, an effective antibiotic needs to be continuously for a minimum of 10-14 days. However, it is not unusual to treat sinus infections for 14-21 days.

Some antibiotics now are thought to reduce inflammation, independent of the anitbacterial activity.


The first-generation antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine , chlorpheniramine , dimenhydrinate , brompheniramine , clemastine fumarate , and dexbrompheniramine frequently cause mouth dryness and sleepiness as side effects.

Summer Symptoms: Is It A Cold Hay Fever Or Asthma


Hay fever can be easy to confuse with viral infections in children in summer, since both can cause sneezing and a blocked or runny nose. It can be tricky to tell the coughing and wheezing of asthma apart from viral infections and hay fever too. However, there are a few key differences that can help you to recognise them:

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Can I Prevent Hay Fever

There is no way to prevent hay fever, but lifestyle changes can help you live with allergies. You can relieve hay fever symptoms by avoiding irritants as much as possible. To reduce symptoms, you should:

  • Avoid touching your face and rubbing your eyes or nose.
  • Close windows in your home and car during the spring, summer and early fall when pollen counts are higher.
  • Enclose pillows, mattresses and box springs in dust mite covers.
  • Keep pets off couches and beds, and close doors to bedrooms you dont want them to enter.
  • Use filters in your vacuum cleaner and air conditioner to reduce the amount of allergens in the air.
  • Wash your hands often, especially after playing with pets.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen when youre outside. Change your clothes as soon as you come indoors.

When Should I See My Doctor

Most people are able to manage or relieve hay fever on their own. However, you should speak with your doctor about treatment options if your symptoms seem to be:

  • persistent, meaning that you experience symptoms at least 4 days in a week, for at least 4 weeks or more
  • moderate to severe, meaning that your symptoms affect your sleep and daily activities such as work, school, sport and leisure.

Your doctor can help you by asking you in detail about your symptoms, reviewing your home and work environment for possible triggers, and by assessing how intense your hay fever symptoms are and how much hay fever affects your day-to-day life. They can then organise further tests to investigate possible causes and help you find ways to manage or avoid hay fever in the future.

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Hay Fever Allergic Rhinitis And Sinusitis

What is the difference between Hay Fever, Allergic Rhinitis and Sinusitis?TreatmentConventional treatment includes.

  • Anti-histamine Anti histamines act by binding those antibodies so that they cannot call in their reinforcements which is histamine. Therefore you will not suffer the consequences of a histamine reaction. Some of the most common side-effects include: headache drowsiness dizziness blurred vision confusion dry mouth constipation and difficulty passing urine. And once the antihistamine effect wears off, hay fever symptoms usually return.
  • Steroids for hay fever are available as sprays, creams and tablets. Steroids create many more problems than antihistamines. They lead to unpleasant and even dangerous side-effects such as high blood pressure, bleeding from the bowels or stomach, reduced healing, poor muscle growth, weight gain, and electrolyte imbalances. Long term use increases the likelihood of diabetes, glaucoma, and eye damage.
  • Simple Steps for Managing Hay Fever

  • Drink plenty of water. When youre well hydrated the mucous membranes of your nose remain moist to expel allergens more easily.
  • Coat your nostrils. Lightly smear a non-absorbent ointment, such as paw-paw ointment, onto the inner surface of your nostrils to provide a protective barrier that traps allergens.
  • Homoeopathic approach

  • Histaminum Consider this remedy when either no other remedy seems accurate or if other remedies have been tried and havent worked.
  • Complications Of Hay Fever

    Hay fever and seasonal allergies

    Hay fever can lead to complications such as sinusitis and middle ear infections . It can also have a significant impact on your daily activities.

    In one study, a third of adults with hay fever reported that their symptoms had a considerable negative impact on their work, home and social life.

    Children’s symptoms can disrupt their schooling and lead to delays in learning and development. Unfortunately, the peak of the grass pollen season coincides with the annual GCSE examinations.

    In most cases, the negative impact can be reduced with treatment. However, see your GP if you’re concerned that hay fever is becoming an increasing problem in your life.

    You should also make extra efforts to limit exposure to pollen. Read more about preventing hay fever.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Hay Fever

    Symptoms of hay fever are:1,4,5

    Some people only have symptoms during spring, summer, and early fall.6 These symptoms are usually caused by mold or pollen allergies. Other people have symptoms all year long. These are called perennial allergies and are usually caused by pets, dust mites, cockroaches, or mold.

    Suggestions To Reduce Symptoms

    To prevent or limit symptoms of hay fever, minimise exposure to known allergens.

    House dust mite minimisation:

    • Wash sheets, pillow cases and other bedding weekly in hot water.
    • Cover mattress, pillow and quilt with dust mite resistant covers.
    • Remove sheepskins or woollen underlays from the bed and bedroom.
    • Remove soft toys from the bedroom.

    Pet dander minimisation:

    • Ensure pets are kept out of bedrooms.
    • Keep pets outside.

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    What Are Best Tips For Allergy Sufferers During Coronavirus

    These allergy tips will be even more important due to the coronavirus pandemic:

    • Sneezing: Like always, if you are sneezing, cover your sneeze in a tissue , sneeze into the corner of your elbow, or wear a mask.
    • Allergy Medicine: Take your allergy medicine early and consistently. For instance, start using an allergy nasal spray like fluticasone propionate two weeks before the allergy season starts, or take an antihistamine daily once the season starts. Over-the-counter allergy medicines should be your first line of defense for allergies and are typically sufficient for most people. Of all years, it is particularly important to treat spring allergies because your allergy symptoms may be misconstrued as coronavirus. Being aggressive and proactive in your allergy treatment is extremely important.
    • Stay At Home: If you are not sure, please stay at home just to be safe.

    Diagnosis Of Hay Fever

    Seasonal Allergy VS COVID

    Your allergist will begin by performing a physical examination, and then will follow with a skin prick test or a blood test. In the skin test, you come into direct contact with the allergen and then your skin is pricked. If the skin becomes red and raised, then there is a positive diagnosis. Some people are not able to have the skin test done, and will opt for the blood test. In the blood test, your allergist will be able to see how antibodies react to your body.

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    What Is Rhinitis

    The word rhinitis means inflammation of the nose. The nose produces fluid called mucus. This fluid is normally thin and clear. It helps to keep dust, debris and allergens out of the lungs. Mucus traps particles like dust and pollen, as well as bacteria and viruses.

    Mucus usually drains down the back of your throat. Youre not aware of this most of the time because it is a small amount and is thin. When the nose becomes irritated, it may produce more mucus, which becomes thick and pale yellow. The mucus may begin to flow from the front of the nose as well as the back. Substances in the mucus may irritate the back of the throat and cause coughing. Postnasal drip occurs when more mucus drains down the back of the throat.

    What Is A Cold

    A common cold is defined as an upper respiratory infection caused by a virus that usually affects the nose but may also affect the throat, sinuses, Eustachian tubes, trachea, larynx, and bronchial tubes — but not the lungs. Statistically, the cold is the most commonly occurring illness in the entire world. The common cold is a self-limiting illness caused by any one of more than 250 viruses. However, the most common causes of colds are rhinoviruses. Colds may also be termed coryza, nasopharyngitis, rhinopharyngitis, and sniffles. Everyone is susceptible to colds.

    The common cold produces mild symptoms usually lasting only five to 10 days, although some symptoms may last for up to three weeks. In contrast, the “flu” , which is caused by a different class of virus, can cause severe symptoms but initially may mimic a cold.

    • Discharge from the ear or severe earache


    The most common complaints associated with a cold usually are mild. Cold stages are not well defined and have many names depending on which author you read. For example, stages of a cold can be the incubation period, the early symptomatic period , then quickly followed by several other symptoms listed below, followed by symptom reduction and recovery with symptoms stopping. Not all clinicians agree about cold stages and consider a cold a minor disease that runs its course quickly without formal “stages.” The following symptoms usually occur with a cold:

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