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Red alert for pollen allergies

People in France who suffer from hay fever and other allergies are facing a difficult week. 

With warm, sunny days forecast, a huge amount of pollen will be released into the air, and the national network of aerobiology surveillance (RNSA) has warned that the risk is very high over most of the country.

All types of grass – in fields, forests and roadsides – have a very high allergenic potential and every year the risk to allergy sufferers peaks in June.

Chestnut pollen also makes a first appearance but with a very low risk of allergy.

In the south of France, oak and olive pollen are also common, but with an average allergy risk, while flowering lime trees can also be problematic.

In France, between 10% and 20% of the population is allergic to pollen.

In order to reduce contact with pollen, people with hay fever and other allergies are advised to:

  • Rinse or wash your hair at night and shower before bed to prevent pollen accumulated on your hair and skin from gathering on your pillow.
  • Wash your sheets and clothes as often as possible and don’t dry them outdoors.
  • Avoid sleeping with the window open.
  • Ventilate your home early in the morning. Pollen is particularly abundant in late morning and early afternoon; and on very sunny, dry days with a moderate wind. Rain reduces the amount of pollen in the air.
  • Use air conditioning instead of opening windows.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen and a hat to stop it accumulating in your hair.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Don’t swim in a chlorinated pool, as chlorine aggravates inflammation.
  • If travelling by car, keep the windows closed during peak pollen times.

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  • Avoid mowing the lawn if you are allergic to grass pollen. Don’t remove wild grasses or weeds without protecting yourself first with gloves and a mask.
  • Try desensitization treatment, if possible.
  • Urban pollution can be an aggravating factor in allergies as it promotes the release of pollen grains.
  • If you have any doubts about the cause of your allergy, or if symptoms persist even though you have used these precautionary measures, see your doctor.
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