Monkeypox, Covid, flu and hayfever - how to tell the difference in the early stages of infection

With a variety of illnesses and viruses around the North East, it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re fighting against.

Some symptoms of illness in the early stages of Monkeypox, Covid 19, flu and hayfever can be very similar, but certain differences can help give you an idea of what you may have.

More than 1,000 cases of Monkeypox have now been reported in the UK and two new strains of the Omicron variant of Covid have seen cases rise for the first time since March.

The one unique symptom of Monkeypox, which appears within one to five days of infection, is a blistery rash but other symptoms could easily be confused for something else.

Monkeypox, Covid, flu and hayfever - how to tell the difference in the early stages of infection.

The condition was declared as a Global Health Emergency on July 24 following a spike in cases around the world, particularly away from west and central Africa where it is usually contained.

These are all the symptoms of Monkeypox, Covid, flu and hayfever according to the NHS:


The first symptoms of monkeypox include:

A high temperature


Muscle aches


Swollen glands

Shivering and chills


A rash usually appears one to five days after the first symptoms. The rash often begins on the face, then spreads to other parts of the body.

This rash is sometimes confused with chickenpox. It starts as raised spots, which turn into small blisters filled with fluid. These blisters eventually form scabs which later fall off.

Monkeypox can be transmitted through direct contact with these scabs, touching items previously touched by someone with the infection and through the sharing of bodily fluids such as saliva.

The NHS has suggested the general risk of catching Monkeypox is low.

Covid 19

Coronavirus symptoms can include:

A high temperature or chills and shivering. This can include feeling warm or cold as well as having a different body temperature to touch on your chest or back

A new, continuous cough which is described as coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours

A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

Shortness of breath

Feeling tired or exhausted

Aching in muscles or joints

A headache

A sore throat

A blocked or runny nose

Loss of appetite


Feeling sick or being sick


Flu symptoms can evolve very quickly and involve:

A sudden rise in temperature

Aching in muscles or joints

Feeling tired or exhausted

A dry cough

A sore throat


Loss of appetite


Stomach aches

Feeling sick or being sick

Flu is spread by the passing of germs through coughs and sneezes.


Hayfever is well known for affecting people throughout the spring and summer months and symptoms include:

Sneezing and coughing

A runny or blocked nose

Itchy, red or watery eyes

Itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears

Loss of smell

Pain around the temple and forehead area



Although some people may suffer from hayfever each spring and summer, new sufferers can develop symptoms when the pollen count is high.