Basel throttled by pollen alarm: the day after the ice
Those who are allergic to pollen have been suffering since January, even though winter is their favourite season. Even if it's hardly believable after the Siberian temperatures lately – the winter has been the warmest on record.
Unfortunately for the 15–20 per cent of the population who suffer from hay fever, the first plants blossomed three weeks earlier than usual. Certain types of tree pollen in particular have irritated those who suffer from this type of allergy.
Heavy pollen load
According to «aha! Allergiezentrum Schweiz», the comprehensive pollen load from hazel and alder trees in the region of Basel was «heavy», while poplars released a «weak» load on Monday. And the misery is set to continue. Despite the risk of showers, mild air from the sea over the coming days will enable a significant pollen emission.
People who suffer from pollen allergies know the symptoms all too well. Watery eyes, a dripping and blocked nose, breathing difficulties, burning and itchy palate, feeling tired, and insomnia. Those experiencing these symptoms for the first time are advised to visit their GP soon.
Desensitisation: a long-lasting operation
However, there is a therapy against the rather annoying pollen allergy. The bad news is that it takes several years to work. A type of immunotherapy, also called hypo-sensitisation, helps most patients to ease the symptoms of pollen allergy. But it lasts for three to five years. There are two types of the therapy. The first one lasts for four to five months and includes taking an anti-allergy medication under the tongue on a daily basis. The second one includes an injection of an anti-allergy medication, given by the doctor. It is recommended that people who suffer from the allergy start the treatment two to four months before the symptoms appear.
Nose gel or pollen protection creams, which keep pollen away from the mucous, can provide short-term relief. Often however, glucocorticoids and anti-histamines can really help. A walk in the fresh air can mean the nose is often filled with pollen, and it helps to flush the nose with salty water to get rid of them. Homeopathic treatment can also help. It is recommended that medication is not just taken at the start of the spring to fight acute symptoms: treatment could be bought at the same time as the Christmas presents.
Tips and tricks for domestic use
- Keep windows closed or attach a pollen filter to open windows. Since the lowest amount of pollen in the city is released at in the morning between 6-8am, it is better not to open the window during the day. In the countryside, windows should be opened in the evening after 7pm only up until midnight.
- Do not hang up dry washing outdoors.
- Do not put your outdoor clothes in the bedroom. Wash your hair before going to bed.
- Do not use paper towels more than once.
Pollen allergy sufferers may also be relieved to know that there are places in the world where there is currently no pollen. One area which is currently free from pollen but is covered in ice is the Russian research base Wostok in Wilkesland in Eastern Antarctica. The temperature today is between minus 54-62°C.
Current pollen updates can be found here.
Basel government leaves bus passengers standing in the rain
At the back entrance to the train station there is a lot to see: A spectacular bicycle cemetery, a giant construction site and a well-hidden bus terminal. «Hans, Hans, maybe we must go back there?» An elderly couple are pulling their heavy suitcases up to Meret Oppenheim-Strasse from the back street. They had looked in vain for the bus terminal at the Centralbahnplatz to catch their bus to France.
Ever since the liberalisation of the bus market in 2013 across Europe, long-distance buses are also commonplace in Basel. More than 2.5 million passengers across the continent went for the bargain. They can travel to Milan for 15 Euros, and for a bit more to Lyon, Turkey or Croatia.
In 2014, the buses and the missing bus station in Basel were discussed in the parliament. MP Peter Bochsler wanted to know whether a bus terminal was planned for Basel, since the city should remain attractive for agencies to include such stop-offs as part of their network.
However, at the moment, passengers still stand in the rain with their bags. Flixbus alone offers 40 city destinations from Basel across the continent. The Basel government has known for years that the «infrastructure was insufficient».
At three stands, the buses can stop for up to 30 minutes to let passengers get on and off. The «station» opposite the Badischer Bahnhof at Schwarzwaldallee, is judged by the government as being «dangerous» due to the heavy traffic. Another stand is located at Gartenstrasse. Of course, there is neither a sign nor a bus shelter there to keep the passengers dry. And there is also the bus stand at Meret Oppenheim-Strasse. Here too a wasteland awaits the travellers. Here too rain falls onto the passengers' heads. Umbrellas have been invented, the government seems to be indicating.
Industriously, the government commissioned a survey and realised two years ago: «The infrastructure doesn't meet the expectations of an attractive, customer-friendly bus-terminal: There are no waiting rooms or toilet facilities for the passengers, and the number of stands is insufficient.» However, it noted that it was complicated to find a location in town which would meet these requirements. Nicole Stocker from the construction department said «the survey will start this year».
Ms Stocker also hints that there is a detailed map, issued by Basel Tourismus, which gives details of the different bus stands with defined departure points and parking sites. The government had already thought about building a bus-terminal at Erdbeergraben two years ago. Buses are already parked there but it is disputed whether it is a sensible place for a terminal. Meanwhile, the bus passengers at Meret Oppenheim-Strasse are still standing in the rain.