In the north-east of France, including in Alsace (Grand Est), some trees are already in bloom, and are spreading flowers that can cause allergies and hayfever in many people.
Allergy symptoms have reportedly arrived earlier this year than last, with the allergy pollen count significant in the area over the past few days.
Cédric Galichet, lung specialist, spoke to French TV network BMFTV: “As soon as temperatures vary between day and night, and there is a little breeze, [the pollen and flowers] are transported in the air, and people who are allergic to the proteins in this pollen, will develop conjunctivitis, congestion, or asthma.”
Pharmacies in the area have ordered a larger amount of hayfever medicine than normal at this time of year as a result.
A local pharmacist told BMFTV: “When people arrive at the pharmacy, we try to be sure that [giving them] antihistamines is the right thing. We try to be sure that it is really allergies and not just a cold.”
Pollen map of France, February 16 2020 (Map: BMFTV)
Almost a quarter of French people suffer from respiratory allergies, of which half are linked to pollen.
Experts say that these allergies are exacerbated by factors including global warming and increased pollution.
An allergy specialist said: “Avoid doing sports [outside] during pollen spikes. If you have been walking in nature, rinse your hair and take a shower, because pollen grains can attach themselves to your hair.”
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