Pollen allergies

Pollen allergy affects about one fifth of Finns. The allergy season begins in the spring/summer, when problems are caused by deciduous trees such as alder and birch. Symptoms are caused in midsummer by grasses such as timothy grass and mugwort in late summer. Pollen mainly causes allergic rhinitis. Some people may also become sensitive to natural mould spores, causing rhinitis symptoms, especially in the early autumn.

Do you want to find out if you have an allergy? You can book an appointment for an allergy test at any Mehiläinen laboratory online or visit one of the clinics without an appointment during opening hours.


Pollen allergy symptoms can usually be effectively relieved by medication, and in the most difficult cases, the symptoms can be significantly relieved by immunotherapy.

Symptoms of pollen allergy

Pollen causes different allergy symptoms in a sensitive person, such as an allergic inflammatory reaction in the conjunctiva, nose, skin or bronchi.

As a result, symptoms of pollen allergy include:

  • Asthma symptoms: cough, mucus, shortness of breath, wheezing
  • Skin symptoms: itching, rash
  • Nasal symptoms: itching, sneezing, rhinitis, congestion, pharyngeal symptoms
  • Eye symptoms: itching, stinging, redness, rash, conjunctival oedema

You can book an appointment for an allergy test at any Mehiläinen laboratory online or visit one of the clinics without an appointment during opening hours.


Children’s pollen allergies

Children may also be allergic to pollen. Allergic rhinitis is very typical among children. Untreated allergy symptoms in children can also lead to otitis media, and allergic rhinitis can make the child susceptible to the onset of asthma, which is why it is important to treat the child's allergy symptoms. A prolonged cycle of infections may also make the child's mucous membranes susceptible to irritation by pollen.

Read more about children’s asthma

Treatment of pollen allergy

Treatment of pollen allergy is personal and depends on the severity of the allergy, its symptoms and the amount of pollen. The best way to prevent allergy symptoms is to avoid exposure to pollen, which is usually not possible outdoors. The quality of interior air can be affected by installing allergy filters on the ventilation hatches of windows and air conditioning units. Bed linen for people with pollen allergy must be dried indoors so that the pollen sticking to the linen will not sustain the symptoms after the pollen season.

There are good medications and methods for treating allergic reactions, so nobody has to hide inside in spring and summer because they are allergic to pollen. Common allergy medications used to relieve allergy symptoms are:

  • Antihistamines: tablets, nasal sprays for local nasal symptoms and eye drops for eye symptoms
  • Glucocorticoids: nasal sprays
  • Combinations of antihistamines and glucocorticoids: nasal sprays
  • Leukotriene inhibitors: tablets for people with asthma
  • Decongestants that narrow the blood vessels: nasal sprays or drops for short-term use

If a certain medication does not work, combining different medications and treatments usually helps to control allergies. Immunotherapy is effective in the treatment of rhinitis and eye symptoms caused by pollen allergy. It is also an option for people with asthma and allergies. Immunotherapy is the only treatment method that aims to cure the allergy: after immunotherapy, some people can discontinue their medications completely and its effect can last for years.


Tips for the pollen season

  1. Check your medicine cabinet, remove any expired medications and deliver them to a pharmacy for disposal.
  2. Have an annual physical examination in time for the pollen season. If pollen asthma is suspected, an additional examination is necessary if any symptoms arise.
  3. Make sure that your prescriptions are valid (12 months) for the entire pollen season, even if you do not intend to buy all medications right away.
  4. Get the required eye drops, nasal sprays, antihistamine tablets and decongestant medication to treat your asthma. Cortisone tablets also work against snake bites at a summer cottage.
  5. Start your asthma medication well before the pollen season begins, other medications can wait for the onset of symptoms. This allows you to monitor the annual variation of your symptoms, avoid unnecessary medication and at the same time be protected against asthma outbreaks.
  6. Stay up to date with pollen reports and you will know what is in the air at all times. Even before the official pollen report, the most sensitive allergy sufferers may react.
  7. Consult your doctor again if you experience symptoms regardless of medication, experience new symptoms, have a prolonged flu, feel unusually tired, have poor endurance or otherwise just want to make sure where you stand.
  8. Remember the possibility of immunotherapy if the symptoms are troublesome. Book an appointment with an allergist and discuss this immediately after the allergy season.

Every Mehiläinen clinic has an expert in allergy treatment, who can be contacted in any matter related to allergies. It is also easy to renew familiar allergy medicine prescriptions at Mehiläinen’s Digital Clinic.


Jere Reijula, a specialist in pulmonary diseases and allergology, was consulted for the article.

Frequently asked questions about pollen allergy

What helps with pollen allergy?

There are many ways to relieve pollen allergy. An effective method to alleviate symptoms is to avoid pollen, which is often impossible during pollen season. Pollen allergy symptoms can be effectively alleviated with medications such as antihistamines. Immunotherapy makes it possible to get rid of many pollen allergies almost completely.

Can you treat a pollen allergy with immunotherapy?

Yes, immunotherapy is an effective mode of treatment, performed either with injections or sublingual tablets, for the treatment of pollen allergies caused by birch and timothy grass. Read more about immunotherapy.

How do pollen seasons affect asthma medication?

Medications for allergy symptoms taken by people with asthma should be checked before the pollen season begins. Immunotherapy for pollen allergy should also be considered if a patient with asthma experiences worsening asthma symptoms during an allergy season.

Why should the allergens that cause pollen allergy be tested with an allergy test?

Once the pollen causing the allergy symptoms has been identified, the treatment of the allergy with immunotherapy may be considered.

You can book an appointment for an allergy test at any Mehiläinen laboratory online or visit one of the clinics without an appointment during opening hours.


Specialists and locations

Jyri Aalto
LL, yleislääkäri
Simo Aarnio
Työterveyshuollon erikoislääkäri