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Pig or Pollen?

Published: 12th May 2009 11:03

NATIONAL ALLERGY WEEK 11-16 May

PIG OR POLLEN?

 With Swine Flu hitting the head lines we are being asked how people can tell the difference between
the flu and hayfever especially given that an increasing number of people who have never had
hayfever before are being affected already this year.

How do you know if your sneezing, wheezing and itchy eyes are due to hayfever or swine flu?
Allergy UK's Clinical Director John Collard says

Hayfever is caused by allergy to pollen (usually grass or trees), cats, dogs or other triggers (allergens).
Symptoms are triggered when you are in contact with your allergen, and settle down when you get
away from your trigger - therefore the symptoms usually come and go. You don't develop a
temperature or aching limbs, although you can feel tired and get headaches if you get a blocked
stuffy nose. Hayfever symptoms normally improve considerably with antihistamines.

 Swine flu is an infection and causes a definite fever and cough. Sneezing and sore throat are common
but they don't come and go in response to triggers. Symptoms get steadily worse and persist over a
few days and then settle down again. There may be headache, aching limbs, stomach upset and
general tiredness. Itchy nose and eyes is uncommon (although the eyes may be watery).
Check your temperature - no fever, no flu.

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