PEOPLE with hayfever who do not find relief from routine treatments within an hour are urged to step forward for COVID-19 testing.
Grampians Public Health Unit medical director Rosemary Aldrich said people who get hayfever would know they get hayfever but if their symptoms were not quickly alleviated, this needs closer attention - and especially amid the Ballarat outbreak.
Associate Professor Aldrich said people who tend to experience hayfever should be stocked with their antihistamines or nasal sprays but they key message was not to wait should symptoms linger.
"Although there's an overlap between COVID symptoms and hayfever symptoms, we'd be very, very keen to have a look at people for whom their normal hayfever treatment is not giving relief within an hour of taking it," she said.
Associate Professor Aldrich highlighted a past case where a person thought they had hayfever, continued to go to work, and later tested COVID-positive after a family member was diagnosed with coronavirus.
She said Ballarat's high winds on Friday would play to spring hayfever season.
The state's official grass pollen counting starts on October 1 but Melbourne Pollen Count, which has a count site in Creswick, is trialling early monitoring this month.
- READ MORE: How does Creswick's pollen count work?
Creswick and Clunes' pharmacies owner Jeff Unmack said the region's wet winter and lots of growth made conditions ripe for a tough hayfever season.
Mr Unmack said anyone who was unsure whether they had hayfever or COVID could call ahead to the pharmacy or their general practitioner for advice. He said there were lots of effective treatments to help.
For extra prevention, Mr Unmack suggested people be careful when outdoors, including taking the time to shake-off washing before bringing it off the clothes line in a bid to curb allergens from coming inside.
If you are seeing this message you are a loyal digital subscriber to The Courier, as we made this story available only to subscribers. Thank you very much for your support and allowing us to continue telling Ballarat's story. We appreciate your support of journalism in our great city.