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Everything you need to know to survive Norway's pollen season

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Everything you need to know to survive Norway's pollen season
Pollen season in Norway arrives at different times across the country. Here's what you need to know to be prepared. Pictured is pollen coming off of a plant. Photo by Alex Jones on Unsplash

Pollen season in Norway begins earlier every year. Here are several tips to hopefully help get you through the season unscathed.

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Plan ahead

The best place to check for pollen forecasts in Norway is the Norwegian Asthma and Allergy Association.

Their forecast has an overview of pollen spread per county and the type of pollen spreading. It uses a colour-coded system to let you know what to expect.

This can help you get a more detailed overview. For a quicker look, you can use the weather app YR, which lists any pollen warnings in your general area.

Having a general overview of when pollen spreads in the different parts of Norway is also quite handy.

Pollen warnings aside, also be sure to check the weather. Warm, dry weather and wind will spread much more pollen.

The pollen season varies across Norway

Over the past 10-15 years, the pollen allergy has begun as early as February.

The pollen season begins with alder and hazel in western Norway before spreading to eastern Norway.

However, those in northern Norway and mountainous areas in southern Norway avoid the alder and hazel pollen season altogether.

Birch pollen season is April, May, and June, and as a lot of pollen is released, this can cause trouble for allergy sufferers.

The salix, or willow, pollen season is generally between April and May.

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Grass pollen, on the other hand, doesn't begin in Norway until June, meaning those with a grass allergy have quite a bit of time to prepare. This season will last until August.

Most allergy sufferers in Norway begin to feel symptoms in mid-April. It is recommended that they start renewing prescriptions before this.

Those with a pollen allergy are also advised to take medication before symptoms become too severe.

The mugwort pollen season begins in July and August.

However, in mountainous regions and northern Norway, the pollen season won't arrive until a month later.

Medicines

There are a variety of non-prescription allergy medicines that you can buy over the counter in Norway.

These come in the form of allergy tablets, eye drops and nasal sprays to relieve symptoms.

Many newer varieties of antihistamines are available in Norway, and they don't have the traditional side effects of fatigue and drowsiness.

When purchasing nasal sprays, you must be careful with their use. Overusing nasal sprays can cause the user to feel more congested than they were originally and may lead to dependence.

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You can also try an allergy vaccination treatment. This lengthy process involves giving tiny doses of the allergens you are allergic to. Eventually, the body gets used to the allergen and stops reacting to it.

Over-the-counter medications are recommended for mild and moderate symptoms. If your symptoms are long-lasting or particularly severe, you should contact your GP.

Once you've made an appointment, your doctor will ask about your medical history. If you already know you have a pollen allergy and which allergen you are allergic to, you should let the doctor know.

If the symptoms are new, the doctor may schedule some allergy tests to identify the allergen. These allergy tests can typically be done without a referral.

The doctor will likely perform a blood and "prick" test. This is when you are pricked with a small concentration of suspected allergens.

Even if you have previously been diagnosed with an allergy, the doctor may decide to run tests anyway.

Doctors will generally prescribe the medicine they think best relieves your symptoms.

Other tips

During pollen season, don't hang any laundry outside as this could lead to your clothes, bedding and towels being covered in allergens.

A vacuum cleaner with a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter may also be a wise investment as these are designed to catch pollen and other particles.

You will also need to make sure that pets are groomed regularly, as they typically catch pollen in their fur and could spread pollen all over your home.

Simple acts like shutting vents when the pollen level is high and keeping your bedroom door closed during the day to minimise the spread of pollen from the rest of the house are also worthwhile.

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