seasonal allergies Archives - Lifelab Testing

Seasonal Allergies vs COVID-19

In the UK, every year thousands of people suffer from uncomfortable symptoms caused by a reaction to environmental allergens. Seasonal allergies, otherwise known as hay fever or allergic rhinitis, are a common part of many people’s lives, yet recent circumstances have brought about challenges not faced before.

Following the outbreak of coronavirus, it is now difficult to know whether you’re experiencing hay fever or COVID-19, as symptoms could overlap between the two. As a result, we’ve put together all the information you need to know about seasonal allergies vs COVID-19.

Check out our quick infographic guide below, or read more detail behind specific allergies and symptoms.

Allergies Versus COVID Infographic

Do I have COVID-19 or Seasonal Allergies

Common Allergy Types

Pollen Allergy

Pollen is the most common allergen thought to affect 1 in 5 people during their lifetime. This mainly occurs in Spring and Summer as plants release pollen, resulting in people experiencing an adverse immune response. Sometimes these reactions are to specific plants, such as a tree pollen allergy or grass pollen allergy.

Hay Fever

Hay fever is the body’s allergic response to environmental outdoor or indoor substances (mainly pollen) that are wrongfully identified as harmful. An allergic reaction to pollen is called hay fever.

How long does hay fever last?

Hay fever begins immediately after being exposed to an allergen, and symptoms will continue for as long as you are exposed.

When does hay fever season end?

Depending on where you live in the UK, allergies to pollen tend to occur from March to September, starting with tree pollen first and ending with weed pollen.

Dust Mite Allergy

Dust mites are tiny, microscopic bugs that exist in our homes in warm environments such as bedding, furniture, and carpeting. Although dust mites are perennial allergens and can impact people all year, symptoms can be worse during winter when there is less ventilation.

Mould Allergy

Like dust mites, allergy to mould can be experienced all year round, yet with less ventilation around the home in colder months, there may be more issues during this time.

Pet Dander Allergy

An allergy to pet dander is caused by the body reacting negatively to proteins in dead skin cells that are shed by animals. Suffering from a pet allergy is more common in those who also have asthma or hay fever. There are a few reasons why pet allergies may worsen during winter, including staying inside with your pet for longer, lack of ventilation in the house, and pets having thicker fur with winter coats.

Seasonal Allergy Symptoms

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis are consistent whether you are reacting to pollen, dust, mould, or pet dander.

Seasonal allergies symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy, runny, or blocked nose
  • Itchy watering eyes
  • Itchy ears or throat
  • Postnasal drip

COVID-19 Symptoms

People suffering from coronavirus have described experiencing symptoms that range from mild to severe.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:

  • A fever or chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • A continuous cough and sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • A loss or change to taste or smell
  • Aching body or headache

Is it seasonal allergies or COVID-19?

If you are wondering whether you have hay fever or coronavirus, there are distinctions between the two in terms of symptoms. Seasonal allergies tend to induce symptoms that are related to itchiness, such as an itchy nose, eyes, ears, or throat. On the other hand, COVID-19 symptoms are more cold-like so include a fever, headache and a change in taste or smell.

What do I do if I think I have an allergy?

If you are experiencing symptoms of an allergy and want to know what’s causing them, you can order an allergy test online. We’ll send you a simple blood spot test, then in our laboratory we’ll use your sample to test against 38 common allergens including house dust mites, different grasses and different types of dander.

We hope this guide had been useful in helping you differentiate between seasonal allergies and COVID-19. You can also learn more about different types of allergies by accessing tons of resources here.

Autumn has arrived, and it’s bringing a whole load of new allergies with it

YESSSS, summer is over! This means no more hay fever symptoms, right?! Well, now Autumn is here and the blooms of summer have disappeared, but new allergies are on the way! Ever heard of a mould allergy? Read on to find out more…

What seasonal allergies appear in Autumn?

Well, let’s start with mould. Mould appears because as individuals we are naturally driven inside thanks to the colder weather… You’ll probably find yourself sneezing inside, and it won’t be because of hay fever. Spending more time inside means there is a chance that the mould spores will build up. The best way to deal with it? We know it can be laborious, but if you have a mould allergy then you need to be consistent with your cleaning. Wiping down the windows and cleaning the skirting boards is a must.

Dust builds up

It can also very get dusty inside and you’ll have to be just as thorough with your cleaning skills. Again, the skirting boards need to be wiped, the sofas and the beds need to be whipped into shape, and almost everything needs to be given a wash. Whilst dust is often common during the hot summers, it can then get stirred into the air as soon as you turn the heaters on. Lamps and lampshades also need to be cleaned, as they may not have been used in a while.

What symptoms do I need to be looking out for?

You need to be looking out for the standard allergy symptoms, but they are caused by different items. As mentioned, mould allergy and dust mites are the likely cause. They will cause you to suffer from symptoms like a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, dark circles under the eyes and even itchy eyes and a runny nose!

How can allergy testing help?

When Autumn comes around and the seasons begin to change, allergy testing has been more important. A mould allergy can be potentially diagnosed by checking out Lifelab Testing’s Complete Body Test. Within your detailed report, we’ll be able to tell you where to look to avoid your allergies, and what other items you should be avoiding.

For more information on identifying your mould allergy and looking for types of allergy testing, order from

4 myths about Hay Fever you need to stop believing

Suffering from a stuffy nose? Will your nose not stop running? Have you got an itchy throat? Make sure you take an allergy test to stop yourself from suffering from allergy symptoms today. At this time of year, many people put their symptoms down to hay fever, but there are many other things you need to know about!

So, if you think that you are one of the 18 million people in the UK who is struggling from your symptoms, then you should make sure you know what is causing your symptoms, as it might not be hay fever. Order your allergy test today. But for now, here are 4 myths you need to know about hay fever if that is in fact, what is causing your issues.

1) Flowers cause your allergies

Lots of people think that being around flowers will set off hay fever. This is not true at all. Pollen which is most likely associated with your allergies is probably airborne, and will come from grass, weeds and trees. So, if it is a pollen allergy or hay fever that you are struggling with then look no further than an allergy test to find out which items could be affecting you. Allergies are not to be messed around with, so do not let hay fever or any other allergy ruin your life.

2) Hay causes Hay Fever

This is genuinely a myth, which is even more confusing! Hay contains grass and pollen grains which could cause your runny nose. So, hay might not be causing hay fever symptoms. Find out from a Lifelab allergy test which items you need to look out for. We do advise however that you do stay away from these sorts of things and take precautions to stop your hay fever.

3) Rain cannot clear pollen

This isn’t a complete myth like before. The logic makes sense… Rain will temporarily clear pollen from the air, but it always comes back. After the rain, there is often an increase in wind gusts and draughts after the rain. These factors subsequently increase the pollen count, and this leads to symptoms just before, or even after the rain starts. So, don’t rely on the rain to get you out of trouble.

4) Vaseline won’t help

Vaseline does not always stop your hay fever symptoms. It can catch some of the pollen particles but it will not catch them all. A bit of vaseline either side and in the nose can catch a few grains, but plenty of it will stop the grains going up your nose. Try allergy testing and check out our extensive and detailed website to see what we can do to help you.

For more information on allergies and intolerances, please log on to our website to see how we can help you to understand your symptoms.

Seasonal allergies: Know which allergies will flare up this summer and how to treat them

Lifelab’s in-house Nutritional Therapist, Sian Baker, advises that pollen and mould are the two most common seasonal allergens. She says:


“Pollen is the most commonly known of the seasonal allergens and it is responsible for hay fever – however there are three different types of pollen to be aware of; tree, grass and weed, each of which is prevalent at different times of the year.

“February to June is peak time for tree pollen, whilst grass pollen is usually found between May and July, and weed pollen between June and September. During these times, you will expect to experience symptoms outdoors, however there are a number of ways to prevent the pollen from affecting you indoors, too, including: drying any washing inside, keeping windows and doors closed, taking a shower and changing clothes after having been outside, and brushing or bathing any dogs after a walk.

“People who suffer from an allergy to any pollens should also be aware of Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS), which manifests as reactions to certain foods, in the form of tingling and itching in the mouth, throat and lips. The foods wihch are most likely to cause this include specific fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and spices, whose protein structure is similar to that of each pollen.

“An example of this would be a person with a birch allergy experiencing symptoms after eating apples, plums, kiwis, carrots, celery, hazelnuts, almonds, sunflowers seeds, oregano, basil or dill, all of which have a similar structure to birch. Such a reaction only usually occurs after ingesting raw varieties of fruits and vegetables. A person may also experience reactions to certain items but not others. ”


“A mould allergy can cause very similar symptoms to that of hay fever, including itchy eyes or throat, watering or red eyes, sneezing, and/or a blocked or runny nose. It can also trigger asthma, should the mould spores reach the lungs.

“When the mould grows and spreads, it produces spores, which travel through the air and can cause reactions. These moulds can be found both outdoors, on fallen leaves, on rotting logs, in compost piles and on dead plants, and in damp spots indoors.”

“With mould, year-round reactions can occur, however, others are seasonal, including Cladosporium, which is most prevalent between June and August, Alternaria, which can be found between July and September, and both Aspergillus and Penicillium between October and March.

“To avoid reactions from mould, reduce damp in the home by improving airflow through rooms, using an extraction fan, cleaning windows to remove mildew, keeping bathroom tiles and utilities clean, not leaving damp clothing around, repairing leaks and investing in a dehumidifier. When working in the garden, consider wearing a mask, particularly when mowing the lawn, removing any leaves or digging around plants.

“Any allergy symptoms can be further reduced by limiting the consumption of histamine-rich foods when symptoms are severe – these foods tend to be those which are fermented and aged, including alcohol, matured cheeses, smoked meats, ready meals and products containing yeast. Keeping hydrated can also minimise the symptoms of allergies.”

Information on allergies

For more information on allergies and intolerances, including dealing with hay fever or pollen intolerance then check out in order to find out more. Remember, once you have purchased a test, you can also purchase sessions with our Nutritional Therapists who will be delighted to assist you with understanding your reports and walking you through your results!

Dealing with Hay Fever in the Summer Months

It can’t have escaped your notice that the UK is experiencing a warm spell not seen since the mid-1970s and whilst this is great for sun worshippers and seaside goers alike, it’s not good news for everyone. Around 1 in 4 Britons suffer from hay fever, which equates to a staggering 15 million people and when it gets warm, the misery and irritation that comes with hay fever is unleashed.

Surprisingly, however, many of the people suffering from hay fever don’t know it and simply put the symptoms they experience down to other factors, like tiredness, colds and flu. For those people that this applies to, the unfortunate fact is that they are more than likely suffering unnecessarily, as there is a range over the counter, non-prescription medication available to tackle the problem.

Throw into the mix the fact that there are numerous types of hay fever, which are triggered by a range of grasses, trees and weeds and you soon see why it can sometimes be tricky to put your finger on the root of any ‘hay fever-like’ symptoms you might be having.

The Symptoms

During the Spring, Summer and sometimes even in the Autumn months, Hay Fever can strike, and the symptoms felt can be quite varied, but they all point to the same kind of allergic irritation:

Typically, hay fever symptoms include:

A headache
Dry throat
A complete loss of sense of smell
Irritated Sinuses
Sore and/or watery eyes
Itchiness of the soft tissue in the eyes, mouth and nose

If you regularly experience any of the above symptoms, then there’s more than an average chance that you have some form of hay fever, but the good news is that there are ways and means of minimising the effects and easing your irritation.


There is a raft of non-prescription medication available from your local pharmacy for dealing with the problem of hay fever and they range from simple antihistamines to decongestants, eye drops and steroidal treatments. For each symptom, there will be a medication to lessen its effects.

However, how can you be sure exactly what is causing your own particular form of hay fever? How do you know that you’re not wasting money on medication for something you might not even have?

Get Tested!

At Lifelab Testing, we offer simple, painless blood screening services that pinpoint exactly what your body is allergic to. So, instead of going through the painstaking process of trying to identify what’s causing your problem, you can have a detailed report produced of not only your own allergic triggers but also foods that you might be intolerant to.

The whole process is usually completed within a week and it can all be done from the comfort of your own home. It doesn’t cost the earth either, with tests starting at £68.99, you could be living free from hay fever and a range of other allergic conditions in no time. If not, you’ll at least be armed with the knowledge you need to know to best avoid whatever it is your body has a tough time dealing with.

If you’d like to know about taking the next step, click here, and you’ll find everything you need to know. There’s even a ‘live chat’ facility to allow you talk to our friendly experts and ask any questions you might have.

We look forward to helping free you from the misery that is Hay Fever.