French air quality monitoring service Atmosud is warning of a high pollen count in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in the coming days.
Its daily bulletin revealed an early risk of cypress pollen, especially on sunny days.
The areas most affected are between Montpellier and Menton.
The air surveillance network Réseau National de Surveillance Aérobiologique (RNSA) said: “Cypress pollens (from the Cupressaceae family) are present in the Mediterranean region and may, especially on windy and sunny days, be a serious problem for allergy sufferers with a high level of risk.
“Cypress pollens are highly allergenic…They cause eye, nasal and even breathing problems for allergy sufferers.”
It said that the allergy risk around the Mediterranean region this week had been “increased to a high level (3/3)” and “should remain so for several weeks”.
It added: “Cypress pollen concentrations will continue to increase in the coming weeks to reach a peak as every year at the end of February, weather permitting.”
Pollen comes early
Professor Sylvie Leroy, a lung and allergy specialist at the CHU hospital in Nice, explained that high pollen counts have come early this year. She said: “Compared to 2021, this is 15 days early. Although, the most sensitive people have been affected for two months already.”
This is due to good weather and a lack of rain, she said. She also recommended that people use new antihistamines, which can help allergy sufferers without too many side-effects.
Similarly, if you find that your usual tablet is not working as well, you can rotate it with another similar pill, before coming back a few weeks later.
Apps that provide allergy data for France
There are several apps in France that let you monitor pollen levels in your area.
Météo Pollen forecasts pollen levels in individual towns and cities for a period of three days, allowing users to manage their daily lives accordingly. The app also displays air pollution levels, as well as weather forecasts - and features tips for living with allergies.
Alertes Pollens, from the RNSA, can be personalised to monitor levels of up to five different pollens in five different departments at once.
Ma Vie d'Allergie offers pollen and pollution counts, as well as practical information, tips and advice.
Pollen, developed by the Austrian Pollen Information Service at the Medical University of Vienna, offers area-specific three-day pollen forecasts. Its service covers France, as well as Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, and the UK.
Four apps to help France's allergy sufferers find local pollen counts