Runny nose, itchy eyes, intermittent sneezing?
Don’t panic. If you are currently suffering from these symptoms it is very likely just allergies or hayfever, and not COVID-19 .
Hayfever, also known as allergic rhinitis or just allergies, often displays symptoms similar to a cold.
How do you know you do not have COVID-19 with these symptoms?
A dry cough and fever are common symptoms of COVID-19. COVID-19 can also cause shortness of breath. Hay fever does not usually cause a cough or shortness of breath unless it triggers asthma.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sneezing and itchy or watery eyes are more common symptoms of seasonal allergies.
The CDC list the following symptoms as being more common in COVID-19:
fever and chills
new loss of smell or taste
What exactly is hayfever…
Hayfever, or allergic rhinitis, is an overreaction of the immune system to particles in the air, such as pollen, animal dander, or dust mites. Hayfever is not contagious.
Hayfever is caused when your body falsely identifies airborne substances (ie pollen) as invaders and starts trying to defend you. Signals are sent to ‘mast cells’ which start releasing ‘histamines’ causing your eyes to water, skin to itch (making you scratch), nose to run and throat to cough, all in an attempt to get rid of the particles causing the problems. Histamines also cause an inflammatory response, triggering other chemicals in the immune system to come along and do the repair work.Once a particle has been falsely identified as a harmful substance your body will continue to react against it each and every time it’s presence is felt, causing the same unpleasant reaction despite it’s harmless nature.
What can you do….
You may be able to manage hayfever by reducing exposure to triggers. You can do this by:
staying inside during periods of high pollen and keeping the windows closed
wearing wraparound sunglasses or glasses outdoors to protect the eyes from pollen
using dust mite-resistant bedding
using a dehumidifier to reduce mold
washing hands after handling or petting an animal
avoiding hanging clothes out to dry, as they can gather pollen
refraining from rubbing the eyes
using a damp cloth or mop to clean floors
having regular showers to wash away allergens
putting Vaseline around your nostrils to trap pollen.
Also try Natural solutions and remedies:
- Apple cider vinegar is said to boost the immune system, help break up mucus, and support lymphatic drainage. (mix one to two tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a glass of water and lemon juice three times a day to relieve allergy symptoms).
- Herbal teas are natural remedies for hay fever. Chamomile, liquorice and nettle tea all contain antioxidants and antihistamines. The soothing warmth of the tea can also help to clear your nose.
- Garlic and onion: Both garlic and onion have anti-allergen properties that make them a great natural remedy for hay fever allergies. Add it to your food, it does not need to be taken raw.
- Try acupuncture: When allergies are treated with acupuncture, underlying imbalances within the body are addressed. A treatment plan is developed to relieve the acute symptoms of allergies while also treating the root problems that are contributing to the body’s reaction to allergens.
- Explore herbal remedies:
Butterbur has shown potential for relieving seasonal allergy symptoms, acting similar to antihistamines.
Quercetin is a nutrient found in onions, apples, and black tea that research has shown to block the release of histamines.
- Add essential oils:
Adding essential oils to a bath, cup of tea, massage oil, or an oil diffuser can help reduce allergy symptoms. Peppermint, basil, eucalyptus, and tea tree oils have been linked to fight inflammation and boost the immune system. Essential oils for allergies will help to detoxify the body and fight infections, bacteria, parasites, microorganisms and harmful toxins.
- Clean the house:
Regular house cleaning can get rid of many allergy triggers and help relieve your symptoms. Clean or change out the air filters in your home often. Also, clean bookshelves, vents, and other places where pollen can collect. Vacuum carpets and change pillowcases a couple times each week.
If you are still experiencing symptoms or are unable to avoid all triggers, the following medications may relieve symptoms:
Intranasal corticosteroids: medication sprayed into the nose. These medications are the most effective in treating hay fever and can reduce congestion, sneezing, and an itchy, runny nose. Side effects can include irritation and nosebleeds.
Antihistamines: Antihistamines work against histamine, the chemical that the body releases during an allergic reaction, which is responsible for hay fever symptoms. Can be taken orally or in the form of eye drops and nasal sprays.
Decongestants: Decongestants work to reduce stuffiness and congestion but do not relieve any other hay fever symptoms.
If you have severe hay fever symptoms, it’s always best to consult a health professional.