Health & wellbeing

The Finnish Allergy, Skin and Asthma Federation has emphasized the benefits of immunotherapy in treating pollen allergies. According to the federation, at least 80-90% of those who undergo the treatment experience relief from allergy symptoms. The federation hopes that more people in Finland will consider this form of treatment for their allergies.

Compared to other countries, Finland has relatively few cases of immunotherapy. Patients usually only begin this form of treatment when they specifically request it.

Immunotherapy can provide long-term relief for those who suffer from the unpleasant and disruptive symptoms of pollen allergies. Some patients even become completely symptom-free. For many others, symptoms improve significantly, reducing the need for medication and improving their quality of life. The benefits of this form of treatment can last for several years after the treatment has ended.

According to allergy, skin and asthma expert Katariina Ijäs, pollen allergies can significantly impact a person's life. In addition to physical symptoms such as watery eyes, itching, sneezing, and congestion, people with pollen allergies may feel like they have to stay indoors during the entire pollen season. Patients have told Ijäs how immunotherapy has transformed their lives by enabling them to go outside and interact with others again, and even sleep better.

One in five Finnish people suffer from pollen allergies. Symptoms can include nasal congestion, sneezing, a runny nose, coughing, and asthma. Additionally, many people experience eye symptoms such as redness, itching, burning, and tearing. People with allergic rhinitis are 2-3.5 times more likely to develop asthma.

Immunotherapy is a specific form of treatment designed to desensitize the immune system to the allergen that triggers an allergic reaction. It can be administered in either public or private healthcare settings. Patients who benefit the most from immunotherapy are those who do not respond to regular allergy medication, or whose daily lives are disrupted by their allergy symptoms.

Patients must work with a physician who specializes in allergy treatment to determine whether immunotherapy is right for them. Currently, immunotherapy can be administered as either injections or sublingual tablets. The latter is particularly easy to use and can be prescribed to adults and children over the age of five with timothy grass pollen allergies or adults with birch pollen allergies.

The Finnish Allergy, Skin and Asthma Federation hosts an annual Allergy Week campaign to raise awareness about allergies and their treatment. This year, the campaign will be held from March 20th to 26th. The federation's member associations will host events throughout Finland, providing information, advice, and support to those living with allergies.