Pollen, animal epithelia and occasionally dust mites can all cause allergy symptoms.
Hazels may begin to bloom as early as February, while broad-leaved trees cause allergy symptoms in southern Finland from March to May. Grasses pollinate in June and July, mugwort at the end of the summer.
Typical allergy symptoms are itching, redness, swelling and watering of the eyes. Nasal symptoms are similar: itching, sneezing and rhinitis. Allergy symptoms are triggered by allergen exposure, e.g. to pollen or animal dander. Allergens can also trigger asthma symptoms.
Rhinitis is not always allergy-related. You can also have non-allergic perennial rhinitis that gets worse due to environmental triggers such as temperature variation. Eye symptoms too can occur without allergens, e.g. due to dry eye.
Symptomatic allergy treatments are available at pharmacies without a prescription. Antihistamine tablets are the key treatment, and their regular use should be started as soon as the first symptoms appear in the spring. If daily antihistamine is not sufficient, there are nasal sprays available at the pharmacy that are either antiallergic (antihistamine or cromoglycate drops) or corticosteroid-based. Antihistamine and cromoglycate drops alleviate eye symptoms. Allergy medicines are safe even in long-term use. Choosing the outdoor terrains wisely and taking a shower and changing clothes daily reduce pollen exposure.
Regular daily allergy medication is much more effective than alleviating the symptoms every now and then. If you treat the first symptoms in the spring properly, the rest of the summer will be easier, even if you’re allergic to birch pollen as well as grasses and mugwort. Effective treatment also reduces the risk of asthma.
In animal epithelia allergy, symptoms are triggered by direct or indirect contact with an animal. There are so many allergens around that you may also experience perennial rhinitis coupled with eye symptoms. Desensitization is possible even in the case of animal allergies. Those with dog allergy can become desensitized naturally after getting a dog if the symptoms have not been severe.
When should you seek treatment?
If self-care is effective and sufficient, specific allergy tests are not needed. Cross-allergies too can usually be diagnosed based on the patient’s own experience.
However, if you need a lot of medication or if the symptoms cannot be satisfactorily alleviated, seek treatment. Shortness of breath indicative of asthma or persistent cough during the allergy season are also reasons to seek treatment. You should also seek treatment if the allergy symptoms are affecting your studies or might jeopardize your future career.
Allergy medicines prescribed by the doctor are largely the same as those used in self-care. If the pollen symptoms cannot be satisfactorily alleviated by means of medication, desensitization against birch or timothy grass pollen can be considered. Desensitization is achieved by giving injections or tablets and will take 3 years.