Woman sneezing into a tissue

It’s that time of year for many of us when our allergies will start to act up, but with increased awareness and spread of coronavirus as well as common colds still being around how do you know if you need to self-isolate?  

Colds, allergies and coronavirus can have similar symptoms, so it can be tricky to tell which one you may have. 

Here’s our advice on what to look out for. 


Symptoms of colds, allergies and coronavirus: 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the NHS suggest the symptoms of colds, allergies and coronavirus are: 

Coronavirus, cold and hayfever symptoms

If you’re suddenly sneezing, coughing or have a blocked or runny nose, it’s likely it’s an allergy you’re experiencing. As symptoms of allergies tend to develop more rapidly than a cold, which can take a couple of days to develop.  

If the symptoms you’re experiencing are a continuous dry cough or a high temperature you need to self-isolate for 7 to 14 days even if you think it’s a cold or allergy. A continuous dry cough is where you cough a lot for over an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours. Find out more about self-isolation and social distancing here. 

Hay fever symptoms are usually worse between late March and September when it’s warm, humid and windy as the pollen count is at it’s highest.  

Treatments for hay fever: 

Depending on the symptoms you experience, you might want to look at different medications. For example, if you experience a runny nose you might want a nasal spray or if you get itchy eyes you could try eye drops 

For more tips on hay fever, here’s our advice on 5 ways to avoid pollen.