Exceptionally high birch pollen count affects entire country
Pharmacies struggle to provide allergy remedies for all sufferers
The warm weather in almost the entire country, combined with winds blowing predominantly from the birch forests of Western Russia, have turned the last few days into a real nightmare for those Finns suffering from birch pollen allergy. And the sneezing and running eyes are set to continue throughout this week as well.
In the University of Turku Aerobiology Unit pollen report, in which birch pollen is referred to with the colour red, the map of Finland is decorated from south to north with decidedly large scarlet circles this week.
“The pollen count has risen to very high levels. It is rare to have these conditions spread across the entire country simultaneously”, the Aerobiology Unit reports.
Possible showers will bring some relief to the situation this week. The rough times for those suffering from birch pollen allergy have also been noted in the country’s pharmacies.
“Saturday and Sunday saw the shelves being emptied at least in this pharmacy. Despite the fact that we had prepared well for the situation, we still ran out of certain products”, says Jussi Kalsta from the Töölö outlet of the Yliopiston Apteekki (University Pharmacy) chain.
Both eye drops and tablets have been in high demand. According to Kalsta, however, receiving replenishments takes less than 24 hours.
“Over the weekend the eye drops sold out, much to the disappointment of some of our clients, but we will receive fresh supplies today Monday”, said pharmacist Ilona Haikala from a Tampere outlet of Yliopiston Apteekki.
“Looking at the shelves one can tell that the allergy remedies have been in high demand.”
The next plants to flower in Finland are the grasses. Their pollen season starts towards the end of May, and hay fever sufferers will be the first to know.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Birch and common ragweed pollen will soon be troubling allergy-sufferers (6.3.2008)
The birch sap is flowing again! (26.4.2005)
Pollen report: Flowering of grasses has started in Southern Finland (24.5.2007)
Several allergy treatment products selling out after warm spell (11.5.2006)
University of Turku Aerobiology Unit: Pollen Report