Atchoo! Pollen levels in Paris at 25-year high

Hay fever season is here... and it's not going anywhere soon.

Atchoo! Pollen levels in Paris at 25-year high
Photo: AFP

If you feel like you’re hearing a lot more sneezing than usual, you’re probably not wrong. 

It’s hay fever season, and it’s the worst it has been in a generation. 

Yes, the birch tree pollen is officially at the highest level since 1993, according to the latest bulletin from the national agency responsible for surveying pollen levels that trigger allergies (RNSA).

And if you think you’ll escape the worst because you’re outside Paris, then think again.

The agency has issued a red alert for central, eastern, and northern France. You’d be lucky to escape the pollen, in fact with the rest of the country on yellow alert.

To make matters worse, the agency warned that high levels of air pollution and grass pollen would likely exacerbate things for allergy sufferers.

The birch pollen will be tickling nostrils until at least the end of the month, but the agency issued red alerts for grass pollen for both May and especially June.

Around 10-20 percent of the French population suffer from allergic reactions to pollen. 

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px ‘Helvetica Neue’; color: #454545}
p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px ‘Helvetica Neue’; color: #454545; min-height: 14.0px}

The network recommends that allergy sufferers make it a priority to take their medication or consult one of the RNSA's doctors. 

Tips for keeping hay fever at bay

  • Shower after you’ve been outside
  • Avoid too much physical activity outdoors when pollen levels are high
  • Keep windows and doors at home closed
  • Put vaseline around your nostrils
  • Wear sunglasses, the bigger the better
  • Vacuum at home regularly

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Ragweed infestation in southern Germany poses allergy threat

Bavaria is battling the spread of ragweed, a plant indigenous to North America that causes particularly severe symptoms in allergy sufferers.

Ragweed infestation in southern Germany poses allergy threat
Ragweed. Photo: DPA

“During our investigations in 2019, we found 45 new large areas of ragweed growth, bringing the total number of large areas identified to 509,” Bavarian health minister Melanie Huml (CSU) confirmed on Monday when inspecting a ragweed population in the district of Roth. 

The number of unreported cases is expected to be significantly higher.

READ ALSO: Pollen at 'unusually high levels' amid early spring in Germany

The pollen of ragweed can cause allergic reactions such as hay fever, conjunctivitis and allergic asthma in humans, even in small quantities. 

Roth is one of the most badly affected districts in Bavaria. Thirty-four large areas with more than 100 plants each have been discovered there since 2007.

Originally native to the USA, the plant has been spreading in Bavaria since the 1990s.

“The pollen of the North American ragweed, which is about to bloom, can cause severe allergic reactions in humans. That is why our aim is to stop the spread of the plant in Bavaria as much as is possible”, Huml said. 

The southern state is investing €90,000 in monitoring the weed. Some success as been had in slowing down the uncontrolled spread of the plant.

“But as our monitoring shows, the numbers are still rising. We are therefore working on a more comprehensive strategy,” said Huml.

Experts say that ragweed pollen has an allergy potential five times higher than grass pollen. About 80 percent of all pollen allergy sufferers also react to ragweed.