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    Allergy season: hay fever or coronavirus?

    Credit: Belga/Pixabay

    As the nice weather brings allergies with it, the Federal Public Health Service underlined the differences in symptoms for hay fever and the new coronavirus (Covid-19) during a press conference on Wednesday.

    “The hay fever season is currently in full swing,” said virologist and inter-federal Covid-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht, adding that the symptoms may be similar to those of Covid-19.

    “Typically, symptoms of an allergy appear as soon as you are exposed to a certain amount of pollen or allergens. This can be, for example, when you go outside. With Covid-19, the symptoms usually persist even when you stay indoors,” Van Gucht said.

    Unlike the coronavirus, allergies usually do not cause fever or muscle aches. “Usually, you do suffer from a runny or blocked nose, possibly a cough, red and itchy eyes, and some slight fatigue,” he said. “Sneezing is common in hay fever, but is much less pronounced in Covid-19,” Van Gucht said, adding that the symptoms often start with a sudden severe fatigue.

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    What can you do against allergies?

    Wearing sunglasses can help, according to Van Gucht. “We also recommend not letting the laundry dry outdoors. Take a shower and wash your hair regularly,” he added.

    People with hay fever who sneeze a lot, but still go outside, can wear a face mask. “In the first place, to keep the droplets you excrete by sneezing with you, and to not spread them around,” Van Gucht said.

    Additionally, it can also help a little against the airborne allergens, “but it is certainly not a complete protection,” he added.

    “We strongly advise people not to interrupt their treatment for hay fever, especially asthma, and to continue to follow the latest guidelines,” Van Gucht said. “If in doubt, consult your doctor. You can also find more information on the website airallergy.be,” he added.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times