Leaves are appearing on trees, meadows are carpeted with new blooms, and birds are tweeting everywhere. This may sound like the perfect start to spring for some, but for one in five Swiss people it means that the pollen season is about to kick in with full force.
Around 1.2 million in this country are allergic to pollen, making it the most common allergy of all. Allergens like hazel and elder pollen are already filling the air, and ash trees are also adding to the mix in many areas. The result? Allergic reactions all over the place: streaming eyes, itchy skin, a nose that’s somehow runny and congested at the same time, severe attacks of sneezing, and breathing difficulties that can even turn into asthma.
Sufferers have lots of options to help them get through the pollen season, from everyday tips to drugs, desensitization therapies, and complementary medicine. Read on to find out more.
Simply avoiding pollen day to day can prevent hay fever or at least reduce the symptoms. Here are some tips to help you:
If you want to ramp up your precautions even further, you could fit pollen filters to your windows. You can also fit an after-market pollen filter to your car if it doesn’t already have one to keep the interior pollen-free.
Some people suffer so badly from hay fever that no attempt to avoid pollen will stop them from experiencing symptoms. An allergy that remains untreated for a long time can, in the worst-case scenario, develop into allergic asthma.
To prevent this from happening, you should seek treatment for your hay fever. The list of treatments below is provided for information purposes only. You should always consult your doctor to discuss your options.
A number of drugs with various active ingredients are available to treat pollen allergies. Some block the allergic reaction, some restrict the production or effect of substances known as inflammatory mediators. You should always consult your doctor before taking any drug. He or she might prescribe any of the following, depending on your symptoms:
This method is aimed at desensitizing the body. Patients are administered the type of pollen that causes their allergy in increasing doses over several years in the form of injections, pills or drops. This allows the body to get used to the pollen and build up a resistance to it so as to reduce or even eliminate the allergic reaction.
Complementary medicine also has treatments to ease hay fever symptoms. You should consult a therapist to decide which method is best suited to your pollen allergy.
Here are some of the options:
Regardless of whether you opt for drugs, desensitization or complementary medicine, you’ll have to pay. The good news is that your basic health insurance will cover the cost of certain treatments.
If you’re being treated by a doctor for your pollen allergy, and your doctor prescribes a drug on the list of specialties published by the Federal Office of Public Health , your basic health insurance will cover some of the cost.
Are you considering a specific immunotherapy (desensitization)? If so, you must consult an allergist as your basic insurance will cover the cost if you’ve been properly diagnosed.
Your basic health insurance may even cover the cost of some complementary medicine treatments, subject to certain conditions. If a properly qualified doctor provides acupuncture, for instance, the basic insurance will cover a specific number of sessions.