Hay Fever Symptoms:

Do I Have Hay Fever Or Is It A Cold?

In the spring and summer months, we not only get more sunlight and longer days… we also get Hay Fever Season! Hay fever is a common allergic reaction that gives us watery, itchy eyes, runny noses, and tickly throats. Don’t worry, we come bearing good news – we’re here to explain the most common hay fever symptoms and what causes them.

What Is Hay Fever And What Causes It?

As we mentioned above, hay fever is a common allergic reaction to pollen. It causes some symptoms that are similar to the common cold. However, unlike a cold, it isn’t caused by a virus. Instead, hay fever (also known as seasonal allergic rhinitis) occurs when the immune system mistakes harmless pollen for a threat.

To protect itself, the body produces antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) in response to this perceived threat, causing the release of inflammatory substances, such as histamine.

Histamine is largely what causes these irritating symptoms, hence why some of the treatments used to combat hay fever symptoms are called antihistamines!

What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of Hay Fever?

Hay fever symptoms can be irritating and make you feel a little under the weather (the last thing you want when you could be out, enjoying the summer sunshine!). Before we delve into how we can reduce them, let’s take a brief look at some of the most common symptoms.

If you suffer from allergic rhinitis, it’s likely that you will have experienced some of the following:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Red, watery or itchy eyes
  • Tickly or itchy throat
  • Loss of smell
  • Fatigue
  • If you have asthma, your symptoms may flare up (you may experience more wheezing, coughing and breathlessness than usual)

Hay fever (symptoms triggered by exposure to pollen) is usually worse between late March and September, especially when it’s warm, humid and windy. Unfortunately, this is when the pollen count is at its highest… and when we want to enjoy the good weather!

Many hay fever symptoms are similar to those associated with the common cold. Therefore, it can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference. Here are some of the differences between the two, to help you differentiate between them.

Common Cold vs Hay Fever Symptoms

Symptom Cold Allergy
Cough Usually Sometimes
General aches & pains Sometimes Never
Tiredness & weakness Sometimes Never
Itchy eyes Rarely Usually
Sneezing Usually Usually
Sore throat Usually Rarely
Runny nose Usually Usually
Stuffy nose Usually Usually
Fever Sometimes Never


As allergic rhinitis is an allergic reaction, you can experience symptoms immediately or very soon after exposure to the trigger. For instance, you may start to feel your eyes becoming itchy or your nose will start to run shortly after coming into contact with pollen.

In contrast, you will only start to experience cold symptoms one to three days after you have been exposed to a cold virus.


Luckily (or sometimes unluckily), hay fever symptoms will only last as long as you as exposed to allergens. When you are indoors (where there is less exposure to pollen) or the pollen count drops, symptoms should start to ease. However, pollen can sticks to hair and clothing. So, if you are returning indoors, having been outside, you could still be exposed. We recommend taking a shower, washing your hair, and putting on a fresh set of clothes. Conversely, cold symptoms tend to last three to seven days.

Repeat Prescription

Hay Fever Treatment

Order a prescription for Hay Fever Treatment online with Webdoctor.ie! Once your request has been approved, we can send your prescription directly to your chosen pharmacy via secure Healthmail.

Anithistamine Hay Fever Treatments Can Help Reduce Symptoms

Don’t let hay fever symptoms ruin your summer fun! You can request a prescription for Hay Fever Treatment through our online prescription service for just €25.

All you need to do is fill in a short and secure questionnaire and we’ll do the rest – there’s no need to make an appointment with a GP. Once one of our Irish-registered doctors has reviewed your request (to make sure this treatment is medically safe and suitable for you), we will send your prescription directly to an Irish pharmacy of your choice using secure Healthmail.

You can also make an appointment to speak directly to one of our experienced GPs via online video consultation if you have any questions about our Hay Fever Treatment options.

How It Works

Through an online medical questionnaire, face-to-face video consultation or home health test, our online doctors will review your case and prescribe the best treatment for you.

Step 1

Online Questionnaire

Fill in a secure and simple online questionnaire for your desired service.

Step 2

Medical Review

Our Irish-registered doctors will review to ensure you are medically suitable.

Step 3

Decision Made
Your treatment will be approved if you are deemed medically suitable.