Pollen allergy: the vast majority of France is at high risk

Pollen allergy Itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat as the sunny days return. The pollens are back with them. The National Network for Aerobiological Surveillance (RNSA) has classified the vast majority of French departments as red alert – high allergy risk. Only part of Brittany, Corsica and the south-western part of the country are at medium risk of allergy, in yellow. In the question ? Spring weather that promotes the presence of birch pollen in the air.

Almost 20% of the French population is affected by pollen allergies. The season usually begins in the spring with the pollination of plants and can last until the fall. An allergy, also called hay fever, occurs when a person who is sensitive to pollen comes into contact with them either through inhalation or eye contact. This causes inflammation of the eyes and mucous membranes of the nose.

What are the symptoms of hay fever?

Mostly the symptoms are mild but very unpleasant. And it lasts. Those affected may suffer from allergic rhinitis. “Allergic rhinitis is the result of inflammation of the upper respiratory tract (nose, nasopharynx and larynx) that causes obstructive and secretory nasal congestion, which can reach different levels of severity (low, moderate and severe),” according to the Ministry of Health. Nasal mucosa often stings and/or itches.

The eyes can be affected, then we are talking about allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, which is manifested by red, watery eyes, itching and swollen or even stuck eyelids. “These manifestations can be intense, repeated and can lead to frequent conjunctivitis,” adds the ministry.

In addition to these symptoms, the quality of sleep is also impaired and allergy sufferers often feel tired.

Allergic asthma

Pollen allergies can also manifest as allergic asthma, an inflammatory disease of the bronchi that occurs when a person inhales pollen suspended in the air. Symptoms are the same as chronic asthma: chest tightness, episodes of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, shortness of breath, fatigue, etc.

Asthma and rhinitis often overlap: “at least 80% of asthmatics also suffer from allergic rhinoconjunctivitis, while around 20% of patients with allergic rhinitis are also asthmatic. “Allergic rhinitis increases the risk of developing asthma approximately 4-fold,” the ministry clarifies.

If you experience the same symptoms, always at the same time, then do not hesitate to consult a doctor who can offer you allergy treatment.

Desensitization is the only long-term treatment for pollen allergy. “This means that the allergen comes into contact with your body regularly and in low doses over a period of several years. The body thus stops recognizing the allergen as an enemy,” explains the Institut Pasteur de Lille.

Antihistamines may be recommended to immediately reduce the allergic reaction. “For more severe respiratory symptoms, cortisone derivatives are available,” adds the Pasteur Institute.

Best practices

How to reduce pollen exposure?

At the end of the day, ventilate the house to prevent pollen from entering it;

wear sunglasses outdoors;

do not sleep with the window open;

wash your hair often, preferably before going to bed;

avoid driving with the window open and cycling;

monitor RNS asking before trip.

High Pollen Alert for France: Prepare for Sniffles!

If you suffer from pollen allergies, get ready to stock up on tissues! A large swathe of France is currently experiencing high pollen risk, threatening allergy sufferers with a wave of sniffles, itchy eyes, and scratchy throats.

Here’s a breakdown of the situation:

  • Widespread Threat: The vast majority of France is facing high pollen levels, impacting a significant portion of the population.
  • Pollen Culprits: The specific allergens might vary depending on the region, but common culprits include grass pollen, tree pollen (like oak and birch), and even olive pollen in some areas.
  • Symptoms to Watch Out For: Keep an eye out for classic allergy symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, congestion, itchy eyes, and coughing.

Tips to Minimize Misery:

  • Stay Informed: Track pollen forecasts using resources like the Réseau National de Surveillance Aérobiologique (RNSA) [French National Aerobiological Surveillance Network] website or the Météo-Pollen app to understand the pollen types and risk levels in your area.
  • Minimize Outdoor Exposure: When pollen counts are high, limit your time outdoors, especially during mornings when pollen tends to be most abundant.
  • Seal Up Your Home: Keep windows closed, especially on windy days, to prevent pollen from infiltrating your living space.
  • Change Clothes: After spending time outdoors, change your clothes and take a shower to remove pollen clinging to your hair and clothes.
  • Consult Your Doctor: If your allergies are severe, consult your doctor about medication or other treatment options to manage your symptoms effectively.

Remember: By being proactive and taking some preventative measures, you can minimize the impact of high pollen levels and enjoy the beautiful French spring with fewer allergy flare-ups.

Pollen Palooza in France: A Regional Breakdown

France’s high-pollen situation isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario. Here’s a deeper dive into the regional variations:

  • Northern Powerhouse: Expect high grass pollen counts plaguing most of northern France. Consider investing in a good air purifier for your home.
  • Tree Time in the West: Western regions might see a dominance of tree pollen, particularly oak and birch. Stock up on antihistamines and keep an eye on pollen forecasts.
  • Mediterranean Medley: Southern France faces a mixed bag. While grass pollen remains a concern, olive pollen can also cause issues for some. Download a pollen tracker app to stay updated.
  • Mountain Majesty (Mostly Mild): Mountainous areas generally experience lower pollen levels due to cooler temperatures and less vegetation. However, staying informed is still recommended.

Beyond the Basics: Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones

  • Pollen Proof Your Car: Keep your car windows closed while driving and consider using a HEPA cabin air filter to minimize in-vehicle pollen exposure.
  • Laundry Love: Wash bedding and clothes frequently, especially after spending significant time outdoors, to remove pollen clinging to fabrics.
  • Pet Pollen Patrol: If you have furry friends who spend time outdoors, wipe them down with a damp cloth after walks to prevent them from tracking pollen inside.
  • Embrace Allergy-Friendly Activities: Opt for indoor activities during peak pollen hours or choose low-pollen outdoor pursuits like swimming or hiking in forested areas.

Living with Allergies: Finding Relief and Enjoying Spring

Don’t let high pollen counts dampen your spirits! By understanding the specific threats in your region and taking appropriate precautions, you can significantly reduce allergy symptoms and enjoy the beauty of spring in France. Remember, consulting your doctor is always a wise move for personalized advice and treatment options if allergies become severe.

So, breathe easy, stay informed, and embrace a French spring filled with fewer sniffles and more sunshine!

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