France on alert for high grass pollen levels

One in three people in France is allergic to pollen, with the number set to rise in the next 30 years

Seven departments in the south west of France and in the Pays-de-la-Loire are on “very high risk” alert for grass pollen allergies, and much of the rest of the country is also at “heightened risk”.

Air monitoring network le Réseau National de Surveillance Aérobiologique (RNSA) issued the alert on Friday May 31, and it is expected to remain in place until June 6.

The very high risk alert concerns the Gers, Lot-et-Garonne, Lot, Maine-et-Loire, the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, the Tarn-et-Garonne and the Vendée.

The Paris region and the south of France (except Corsica) are also at “heightened risk”.

At least one in three people in France is said to suffer from allergies due to pollen, with the number expected to rise to one in two by 2050.

The RNSA defines itself as studying “the contents of biological particles in the air that could have an impact on the allergy risk for the population”. It said that the current weather conditions are “very favourable to the dispersion of high levels of grass pollen in the air”.

It also issued a warning for those who are allergic to olive tree and oak tree pollen, especially in the south.

The RNSA recommends that those who are very allergic should:

  • Wash their hair at night time
  • Air out the house for at least 10 minutes per day
  • Avoid adding other irritants such as burning tobacco, incense, or candles
  • Avoid outdoors activities such as mowing the lawn, gardening, or high-energy sports
  • Avoid drying clothes outside (as they can collect pollen)
  • Keep windows closed when driving

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