Just hay fever or something more worrying?

With the warm weather over the weekend, most of us were outdoors enjoying ourselves, soaking up the sun (with SPF of course!) and making the most of the sun’s rare appearance in our skies.

And then there were those of us who spent the weekend with streaming, itchy eyes, coughing so much our throats hurt and sneezing from sun up until sundown.

Yup, it’s definitely hay fever season.

But what’s different about this year, is how conscious we all are about the similarities between certain hay fever symptoms and symptoms of Covid-19. In a year when we’ve all been on high alert at the slightest of tickles in our throat, hay fever season brings all our fears crashing down on us once again.

Luckily, Tomás Conefrey from CarePlus Pharmacy on Pearse Street in Dublin offers some really interesting advice to help us to distinguish between the two and save ourselves the panic attack. Tomás has seen an increasing number of hay fever sufferers expressing concerns about the overlap of symptoms between hay fever and Covid-19, as the CarePlus Pharmacy offers support in advance of upcoming allergy season.

With pollen counts beginning to rise CarePlus Pharmacy have issued advice to hay fever sufferers as they may experience an increase in symptoms this month as the temperatures increase and the pollen count creeps up. People who suffer annually from hay fever problems should seek advice from their local community pharmacist now, to help learn the difference between symptoms.

Common symptoms for hay fever include:

Itchy eyes


Scratchy throat

Runny nose

Should people experience any Covid-19 symptoms such as:


Persistent cough

Loss of taste or smell

Shortness of breath

Flu-like symptoms

Then they need to contact their GP immediately and not visit a pharmacy.

Woman in Gray Tank Top

Tomás Conefrey from CarePlus Pharmacy on Pearse Street in Dublin says, “This year, a lot more people are concerned that their allergy symptoms might be a sign of Covid-19. While there are some similarities between the symptoms of hay fever and Covid-19, your local pharmacist or GP can help distinguish between the two. However, hay fever sufferers should use this time to prepare.”

It is estimated that one in five Irish people live with hay fever. If you are experiencing symptoms but are not quite sure if it is hay fever or something else, CarePlus also offers a helpful guide showing which symptoms come under which condition. This can be found here.  

Tomás Conefrey says “Small actions can make the biggest difference in easing your hay fever symptoms. Putting Vaseline around your nostrils can help trap pollen, while wearing wraparound sunglasses can protect your eyes. Showering and changing your clothes after you've been outside also helps to wash the pollen off”.

Back-view Photo of Woman in Red Tank Top Carrying Black Backpack Sitting on Brown Hay Field

Tomás Conefrey also suggests speaking to your local pharmacist about the best over- the-counter treatments available for hay fever. He says “Depending on your symptoms these can include antihistamine drops, tablets or nasal sprays. These products can really help with itchy and watery eyes as well as sneezing and a blocked nose”.

For more information and advice check out careplus.ie.

Fiona Murphy is a freelance writer, specialising in book-related content, fiction and poetry. She can be found drinking tea, craving tapas or attempting to finish her never-ending-novel.



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