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

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
With a variety of illnesses doing the rounds, it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re suffering from.

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

More than 900 cases of Monkeypox have now been reported in the UK and two new strains of the Omicron variant of Covid have seen cases soar.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Add flu and hayfever into the mix and it can be pretty difficult to tell them apart.

Monkeypox, Covid, flu and hayfever all have similar symptoms in the early stages of infectionMonkeypox, Covid, flu and hayfever all have similar symptoms in the early stages of infection
Monkeypox, Covid, flu and hayfever all have similar symptoms in the early stages of infection

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.

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


The first symptoms of monkeypox include:

a high temperature

a headache

muscle aches


swollen glands

shivering (chills)


A rash usually appears 1 to 5 days after the first symptoms. The rash often begins on the face, then spreads to other parts of the body. This can include the genitals.

The 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.

The symptoms usually clear up in a few weeks.


Symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) can include:

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

a new, continuous cough – this means 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

an aching body

a headache

a sore throat

a blocked or runny nose

loss of appetite


feeling sick or being sick


Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can include:

a sudden high temperature of 38C or above

an aching body

feeling tired or exhausted

a dry cough

a sore throat

a headache

difficulty sleeping

loss of appetite


tummy pain

feeling sick and being sick


Symptoms of hay fever 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 your temples and forehead



feeling tired

If you have asthma, you might also:

have a tight feeling in your chest

be short of breath

wheeze and cough

As always, consult your GP if you are suffering with any of the above symptoms.

Related topics: