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Got allergies in Sweden? Here’s the guide for you

Allergies come in all shapes and sizes, but whatever their form, they really are a pain. Sometimes literally. Here’s how to fight them – like a Swede!

Got allergies in Sweden? Here’s the guide for you
Photo: actionsports/Depositphotos

Here in Sweden we’ve waited long enough for summer – so we’re not about to let allergies get in the way of enjoying it.

Whatever your allergy, and however you may react to it, Apotek Hjärtat – Sweden’s largest pharmacy chain – has the product for you. Here’s The Local’s guide to which products you need to kick that allergy on the nose.

Apotek Hjärtat’s online shop has helpful sections based on type of allergy and product – let’s address them one by one so you can find just what you need.

Allergy tablets

A quick pill pop is probably the quickest way to beat any allergy. Pain-free and easy (the exact opposite of allergies).

Apotek Hjärtat stocks a great range of products: Kestine’s coated tablets deal with hay fever, conjunctivitis, and urticarial; Zyrlex’s tablets deal with temporary symptoms such as itchy eyes and runny noses; Allegra’s coated tablets deal with pollen… you get the gist – anything can be fought with a tablet!

The site currently is only in Swedish, but if your Swedish isn't up to scratch, don’t worry – just head to your closest Apotek Hjärtat branch for help in English.

Nasal sprays

Photo: focusandblur/Depositphotos

Constant sneezing, runny nose, or even a severe case of the sniffles are all surefire ways to dampen the mood at your summer party.

A quick spritz up your nostrils with a nasal spray can provide relief. Look out for sprays from brands like Nasonex, Rhinocort, Livostin and Becotide. Find those, and plenty more here.

Pollen

This is a big one starting from about April in most parts of the country. With spring comes pollen. But don’t let pollen ruin your first foray into the sun after the long winter. Arm yourself with tablets, nasal sprays and eye drops so you can frolic in the beautiful Swedish sunshine with no fight from your body!

Browse the whole section of pollen allergy products here.

Contact Allergies

Have you ever reacted to cheap jewellery? Or certain skin care products? Or latex? Chances are you may have a contact allergy – and an excuse to splurge on expensive sensitive-skin jewellery and skin care products!

Contact allergies can result in cracked skin and blisters, but with the application of hydrocortisone cream, you’ll be right as rain.

Click here to browse Apotek Hjärtat’s range of products for this type of allergy and find what is most suitable for you.

Food Allergies

It’s really quite annoying when a food intolerance gets in the way of enjoying a freshly baked bread, or an exquisite cheeseboard.

While gluten intolerance cannot be treated by pharmaceutical products (gluten allergies can be incredibly serious, if you feel you are suffering from one, seek a doctor’s advice immediately), lactose intolerance can!

Did you know that Swedes drink more milk than any other nationality besides the Finns? And yet, about one in four Swedes is lactose intolerant. How do they manage?

There’s a pill for that!

A Lactrase a day will keep the flatulence and bloating at bay… but still, it’s probably best not to eat a whole wheel of brie.

Animal/dust allergies

Photo: susannp4/Pixabay

Fluffy and Fido – okay, no, in Sweden it’s probably Findus and Smulan – are family, we know. But that doesn't mean you have to put up with red eyes every time you visit your girlfriend and her cat.

Banish those red eyes with Lomudal’s eye drops, or combat runny noses, itching and eye symptoms with Loratadine’s Actavis tablets.

Don’t let a measly little allergy get in the way of quality time with your best furry friend. Check out the range of products stocked at Apotek Hjärtat here.

Eye drops

There is nothing worse than having your enjoyment of the summer sun ruined by itchy, red, watery eyes. For instant relief, try Zaditen eye drops, or Thealoz eye drops to calm redness.

Bear in mind that everyone’s eyes are different, and a treatment that might suit one person may not suit you, so talk to your pharmacist to find out what suits you the best.

Children’s allergies

Children are delicate little beings susceptible to a whole host of horrible nasties. Be it runny noses, itchy eyes or sneezing (or a combination of all those things), Apotek Hjärtat has a range of products – like those from Lecrolyn– that are gentle enough for your mini-me, but strong enough to fight off those pesky allergens.

Check out the extensive range here

Photo: Apotek Hjärtat/Flickr

This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Apotek Hjärtat.

 

 

Kestine tabletter: Receptfritt läkemedel med ebastin. Vid tillfälliga allergiska besvär såsom röda, rinnande och kliande ögon samt rinnsnuva, nästäppa och nysningar. Vid svårare besvär kan dosen ökas till 2 tabletter dagligen. Från 12 år.

Zyrlex tabletter: Receptfritt läkemedel med cetirizin. Vid tillfälliga allergiska besvär. Från 6 år.

Nasonex nässpray: Receptfritt läkemedel med mometason för behandling av allergiska besvär från näsan (nästäppa, rinnsnuva, nysningar, klåda). Från 18 år. Kontakta läkare om du inte blir bättre inom 14 dagar.

Rhinocort nässpray: Receptfritt läkemedel med budesonid för behandling av rinnsnuva, nästäppa, nysningar och eller klåda i näsan orsakad av allergi mot tex pollen. Från 6 år. Kontakta läkare om du inte blir bättre inom 14 dagar.

Becotide nässpray: Receptfritt läkemedel med beklametason för behandling av allergisk snuva och nästäppa. Motverkar inflammation. Från 18 år.

Lomudal ögondroppar: Receptfritt läkemedel med natriumkromoglikat. Vid tillfälliga allergiska besvär med kliande, rinnande, röda och svullna ögon. Kan användas av barn, gravida och ammande.

Loratadin Actavis tabletter: Receptfritt läkemedel med loratadin. Mot klåda, snuva och ögonbesvär vid allergi. Från 12 år.

Lecrolyn ögondroppar: Receptfritt läkemedel med natriumkromoglikat som används vid behandling av ögonbesvär med t ex rodnad, klåda och ökat tårflöde vid pollenallergi. För vuxna och barn.

Zaditen ödondroppar: Receptfritt läkemedel med ketotifen som används vid behandling av ögonbesvär vid pollenallergi. Från 3 år.

+ För utförlig information om receptfria läkemedel se bipacksedeln på www.fass.se

 

For members

HEALTH INSURANCE

Acupuncture to rolfing: What your Swiss health insurance gets you (if you pay more)

If you pay for supplementary health insurance in Switzerland you can benefit from access to complementary therapies. We look at what's available and how the system works.

Acupuncture to rolfing: What your Swiss health insurance gets you (if you pay more)

Like numerous countries in Europe, health insurance in Switzerland is a compulsory coverage that all people must have.

Most Swiss insurance providers offer several options for their customers, which are separated into two categories: basic and supplementary.

Basic health insurance (KVG / LaMal) must be purchased, because it is compulsory. Supplementary insurance comes with extra benefits for healthcare but also of course an extra fee.

The franchise (or deductible) will need to be met, but thereafter, even basic insurance has you covered. It pays for medical care, prescriptions, and specialist care like eye doctors, sometimes even without  referrals from your primary care physician. Supplementary health coverage, however, gives you access to complementary therapies that can differ substantially from what basic coverage allows. 

CLICK HERE for more on health insurance in Switzerland

You have to fill out a form the insurance carrier provides and sometimes might have to undergo a health check and discuss preexisting conditions in order to see how much insurance coverage can be offered — if any at all. 

Unlike the KVG / LaMal, which must be provided to all residents regardless of their health status, insurers can deny supplementary coverage if they deem you too much of a risk.

This can happen if you have chronic illnesses or pre-existing health problems, in which case you could be either turned down or offered a policy with wavers for your specific conditions.

Each insurance company decides what coverage they will offer and what percentage they pay, depending on both your overall health at the time of enrolment, and which plan you choose. You’ll be able to read what’s included in your plan in the paperwork you receive from your health insurance and, as always, the fine print is important to read. 

People who only have basic KVG / LaMal insurance still have thorough coverage for many things, from standard doctor visits to in-patient care and hospital stays.

READ ALSO: What is not covered by compulsory basic health insurance in Switzerland?

What complementary treatments are available?

In Switzerland, homeopathy is included in all health insurance plans, as healthcare isn’t merely approached with classical treatments; instead, a holistic approach is applied to healthcare throughout the country. The complementary therapies available through the supplementary insurance give individuals the opportunity to play an important part in their own wellness. 

Having a supplementary insurance not only increases the financial coverage you’ll have for some of your standard medical needs, but it also brings expanded access to numerous forms of wellness therapies. The Swiss are very focused on health and wellness and it is clear through the various types of insurance available, that a primary focus is getting the population healthy and keeping it that way. This additional insurance creates a way for people to access treatments and care for their well-being which, in turn, creates a healthier population. 

Complementary therapies can include various styles of massage including, classic, manual lymph drainage, therapeutic, connective tissue, acupressure, and medical massage, among others.

There are additional treatments and therapies such as foot reflexology, osteopathy, and Rolfing (massage/treatment of connective tissues) that are included in the coverage, plus there is also access to traditional Chinese medicine including cupping (suction cups applied to your body), acupuncture, and herbal medicine. Some practitioners also offer consultations in naturopathic health, including detoxification (guided cleansing of your digestion and body), nutrition, and hydrotherapy (using the element of water as therapy).

READ ALSO: How people in Switzerland can save money on healthcare

Your insurance provider will be able to better detail what is covered for you.

Another thing to take into consideration is that some insurance plans will even reimburse a portion of the costs of other health-related things, such as a part of the annual cost of a gym membership. Some plans will refund about 800 Francs per year for a gym membership that costs about 1,400 Francs. Granted, you will pay more each month for some of these extra options, but having access to them– and utilising them– can make the pricier monthly cost worth it. 

How do you go about getting complementary therapy?

Once you’ve signed up for supplementary insurance, you’re able to view a list of complementary therapies on the website of your insurance provider. Getting connected with a masseuse, osteopath, or other care provider is as simple as calling them up and scheduling an appointment. Once you have the supplementary insurance, there is no need to go to your primary physician and get a referral. 

In Switzerland, the reimbursement process for these therapies is also a little different. While some practitioners will still have you pay direct and out of pocket for the treatment (with a reimbursement coming later, after you’ve submitted the receipt to your insurance company), others will send you a bill in the mail. This creates a unique way that you can receive the receipt from the treatment, file it with the insurance, and often times have the reimbursement from the insurance deposited directly into your bank account before you even pay for the initial treatment. This makes it so that people who also don’t have a lot of access to cash can still receive quality care.

READ ALSO: Which Swiss cantons see the biggest hikes in health insurance premiums?

Be aware though you can’t just go for as much cupping, acupuncture or “rolfing” as you’d like because most insurers will put a limit on how much treatment you can get in a certain period. Some insurers might not cover the full cost meaning the patient might have to pay 10 to 20 percent of the fee.

This focus on providing access to things that augment an individual’s overall wellness makes Swiss healthcare among some of the best in the world. If you can see beyond the price tag (and let’s admit, it is expensive: sometimes 400-500 Francs or more each month), there are myriad ways to source treatments and therapies that will benefit your overall health and well-being, making for a healthier and ultimately happier person. 

When you first move to Switzerland, you can either select an insurance on your own, or sit down with an insurance consultant who will not only go over what each insurance offers, but can help you find the best coverage for you, your family, and your situation. When you need to make a change with your health insurance, you can get in touch with the consultant and they will procure the papers needed to make the changes. Although there is a cost associated with this sort of service, it can make selecting and signing up for health insurance in Switzerland an easy and smooth process. 

To find out more and compare rates for health insurance in Switzerland, information can be found here: https://en.comparis.ch/krankenkassen/default

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