The mild temperatures at the beginning of January have led to an early start of the allergy season.

The National Aerobiological Monitoring Network has issued a red alert for pollen in several departments of the Grand Est region, specifically for hazelnut tree pollen. These trees typically flower early, between the end of January and March, but the recent mild weather has exacerbated the issue.

The air is already heavily saturated with pollen from the male flowers of the hazel tree, causing discomfort for those with allergies. It appears that the allergy season is becoming longer and more intense with increasingly aggressive pollens.

Early pollen season returns

The hazelnut tree pollen season is not the only one to affect allergy sufferers during this time of year. The alder tree pollen season is also expected to begin soon, as well as those of the cupressaceae family, including cypresses and other conifers, and ash trees in Mediterranean regions.

The forecasted rain and snow for the Grand Est region this weekend may help alleviate symptoms by depositing the allergenic pollen grains on the ground.

It’s important to note that pollen is produced by the male flowers of plants and contains the genetic material essential for reproduction and the survival of pollinators. However, when it comes into contact with the respiratory tract of someone with allergies, the immune system overreacts and causes symptoms such as allergic rhinitis or hay fever.

This is a result of an overproduction of IgE antibodies in response to these normally harmless particles.

Tips for managing allergic reactions

Allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, may seem like a minor ailment but it is a significant public health concern. It is estimated that one in four people in France are affected by respiratory allergies and the impact it has on their quality of life. It is the most prevalent chronic disease among children.

To minimize the symptoms of allergic rhinitis during the pollen season, it is recommended to open windows for ventilation early in the morning or late in the evening, avoid drying laundry outside, and be mindful of particles that may cling to hair or clothing. Simple precautions like these can make a significant difference in managing symptoms.