Coronavirus: Hay fever symptoms could mimic Covid-19, GPs warn

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media captionHow can you tell if it's hay fever or coronavirus?

People with hay fever should not confuse their reaction to pollen with the symptoms of coronavirus, GPs say.

While many symptoms - such as a runny nose - are different, hay fever can also prompt a cough that can alarm both sufferers and those around them.

That has prompted many of those suffering with the allergy to contact family doctors for advice.

The Royal College of GPs said sufferers should consider whether their symptoms are the same as in previous years.

But it has also expressed concern that people may leave the house thinking they have just got the seasonal illness when they have actually contracted the deadly virus.

The main coronavirus symptoms are a fever or a new continuous dry cough, which can sometimes lead to breathing problems at a later stage of the illness.

Dr Jonathan Leach, of the RCGP, said: "For most people who have hay fever it is the same symptoms as they have each year.

"What we are finding is that some patients are saying 'look this is a different thing to what I had last year, could this be coronavirus?' and in that case it might be."

More than a quarter of the British population gets hay fever every year and the Met Office forecasted high pollen counts throughout the week for most parts of the UK.

Allergy UK said it advised those suffering from hay fever to treat it proactively to minimise symptoms before they occur - therefore reducing the urge to touch the face or sneeze, minimising spread of the virus.

GPs are advising patients who are unsure or who are having trouble breathing that they should phone their doctor or use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.

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