Allergy Symptoms

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Allergy symptoms vary from person to person depending on the allergy they suffer from. Typical symptoms of allergies are:


  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Sinus discomfort
  • Watery nasal discharge
  • Tiredness
  • Blocked, runny or stuffy nose
  • Skin rashes or hives (red and sometimes itchy bumps on skin)

Recognising your symptoms


The terms hay fever and sinus infection have become catch-all terms for what are actually different and specific symptoms.

Rhinitis is the term for the symptoms produced by nasal irritation or inflammation. The nose reacts to irritation and inflammation by sneezing, itching, running or becoming blocked. If the effects last more than six weeks the condition is known as chronic rhinitis and is usually caused by an allergy. A shorter incidence is known as acute rhinitis and is usually caused by an infection or an irritation such as a common cold.

Studies estimate that more than 30% of people experience the condition at some point in their life. It takes two forms: intermittent and perennial.

Find out how to distinguish allergies from common conditions


Is it hay fever, a cold or the flu?

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Helping you understand your symptoms during the hay fever season.

Check your symptoms using the table below:1

Allergy, cold and flu have several things in common as they all affect the respiratory system. Match your symptoms to the table below, to help you understand if you have an allergy or perhaps a cold or the flu. If in doubt, consult your pharmacist or doctor.

  Illness (Cause)
Symptoms Airborne allergy
Cold (Virus) Flu (Virus)
Itchy & watery eyes Common Rare Rare
Stuffy, runny nose Common Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Usual Sometimes
Sore throat Sometimes Common Sometimes
Cough Sometimes Common Common, can become severe
Fatigue, weakness Sometimes Sometimes Usual
Headache Uncommon Sometimes Common
General aches, pains Very rare Slight Usual
Fever Very rare Rare Usual

Adapted from reference: 1. NIH News in Health. Cold, flu, or allergy? Know the difference for best treatment. October 2014. Available at Accessed December 2019.