Pollen season is about to kick off in Scotland as we enter into the spring period.
Scots have been treated to warm and sunny conditions in recent days, with the thermostat climbing across the country.
The hottest of the conditions came on Saturday, when the Wester Ross village of Kinlochewe recorded a high of 20.2C that afternoon.
And it looks like the conditions are set to stay for the remainder of the week, according to the latest forecast.
The Met Office says that temperatures play a vital role in the release of pollen.
Trees are said to respond best when the thermostat climbs to temperatures between 13 and 15C. For grass, a maximum temperature between 18C and 28C could result in a high pollen count.
People who suffer from hay fever should be on alert during the pollen season, which normally runs between now and August.
But with a rising number of Covid cases in Scotland, the symptoms of hay fever and the virus can be similar.
Luckily, NHS chiefs in Rotherham have differentiated symptoms of the two conditions so Scots can tell the difference.
They write: “It can be really easy to mistake there is fever and some of the early symptoms of Covid-19, especially when we are all very aware, and being very careful.
“If you often have hay fever, you will be familiar with the symptoms you usually get.
“If you notice a change to these or have specific symptoms of Covid-19, you MUST follow Government advice and self-isolate.
“If your symptoms continue or worsen, please seek advice from NHS 111 or your local GP.”
There are fever symptoms
Common symptoms of hay fever include:
- A runny or blocked nose
- Sneezing and coughing
- sore eyes
- Itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
- Itchy, red, watering eyes
- Reduced sense of smell
- Pain around temples and forehead
- Feeling a bit tired
- If you have asthma, symptoms also include a tight feeling in the chest, shortness of breath and wheeze and cough
Symptoms of Covid-19:
- at high temperature
- A new persistent cough
- Loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
- shortness of breath
- sore throat
- aches and pains
- Some people have reported nausea and a runny nose, but this is rare
What should you do if you believe you have Covid?
Scots should take a PCR test if they have any of the three main symptoms of Covid, under the current Scottish Covid rules.
- A high temperature or fever
- A new continuous cough
- A loss of, or change in sense of smell or taste
Anyone who does not have those Covid symptoms should take a lateral flow test.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.