Will Hay Fever Fuel The Spread Of Covid-19 This Spring?

Hay fever season is back, much to the dismay of thousands of bleary-eyed and runny-nosed Brits. But could all that extra sneezing and coughing increase the spread of Covid-19 as more people socialise outdoors this spring?

Dr Daniel Atkinson, clinical lead at Treated.com and a GP, says hay fever sufferers should be mindful of keeping their coughs and sneezes under wraps to keep germs to themselves. “With high pollen counts usually setting in around this time of year, hay fever – particularly sneezing – could be an aggravating factor that causes some amount of spread in the coming weeks,” he says.

The main way coronavirus spreads is during close contact with others, so the idea is that increased sneezing and coughing – key symptoms of hay fever – could fuel the spread of the virus when people meet, particularly as one in three people with Covid-19 are thought to have no symptoms.

This spring – up until 17 May – people are only able to socialise outdoors, Boris Johnson’s roadmap states. They should social distance and practice good sneeze hygiene when doing so, says Dr Atkinson. “If the pollen forecast is high on a particular day and could put your sinuses through the wringer, maybe think about rearranging your walk for a different day,” he adds.

So how likely is it that hay fever could increase the spread Covid-19 outdoors?

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