The Asthma Society of Ireland has launched its annual Hay Fever Campaign for the 304,000 people who have both asthma and hay fever in Ireland. The Asthma Society’s Hay Fever Campaign includes the Pollen Tracker, providing daily updates of pollen levels across the four provinces, and also predictions of pollen levels for the following day. The Asthma Society is encouraging people with hay fever to visit the Pollen Tracker page on asthma.ie often, and to ensure their hay fever is well managed this summer.
Ms Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, said: “For the majority of people who have hay fever, they may describe the condition as being annoying but would usually not described it as life-threatening. However, for the 304,000 people who have asthma and hay fever, unmanaged hay fever can be just that. Hay fever symptoms are capable of causing asthma symptoms to escalate into a serious asthma attack, which in some cases can be fatal. One person dies every week in Ireland from asthma.
“People with asthma need to ensure their hay fever is well managed throughout ‘pollen season’, which runs from now until September. Our Pollen Tracker on asthma.ie will allow people to recognise the days that require additional precautions for managing their hay fever. For the 80 per cent of people with asthma who also have hay fever, they should visit our Pollen Tracker daily.”
The Society said during the coronavirus pandemic, it is extremely important that people with asthma can distinguish between coronavirus and hay fever symptoms. The Asthma Society has been working with its medical advisory group to create a ‘Know Your Symptoms Chart’, which will allow people with asthma and COPD to recognise if their symptoms point to hay fever or to coronavirus. This resource is available on asthma.ie.
Dr Dermot Nolan, ICGP Asthma Lead and member of the Asthma Society’s Medical Advisory Group, commented: “As we come into hay fever season, it’s important to know the crossovers between hay fever, asthma and coronavirus symptoms, but also to have help differentiate symptoms between the three. The Asthma Society’s graphic… clearly outlines what symptoms are strongly or occasionally associated with Covid-19, hay fever, asthma and COPD, to help support patients as they seek to learn more.
“There are also noticeable differences between Covid-19 and hay fever symptoms. For example, the Covid-19 cough is persistent, while a hay fever cough tends to occur at night-time. Hay fever sufferers don’t usually feel unwell or tired, but these are common symptoms of Covid-19. People with hay fever, although they have symptoms, tend not to feel particularly unwell. When a patient has Covid-19, they usually are unwell and they tend to feel flu-like aches, pains or chills in their body, which is not typical of hay fever. Many people have also identified tiredness as a feature of Covid-19. The tiredness that hay fever sufferers experience is related to patients taking certain antihistamines and not the condition itself.”