The allergic to pollen probably realized it. The year 2017 was rich in production of pollen of grasses, according to a report written by three associations . On the occasion of the French Allergy Day, which takes place on March 20, 2018, the Federation of Air Quality Monitoring Associations ( Atmo France ), the National Network for Surveillance aerobiological ( RNSA ) and the Association of sentinel pollinariums of France drew up their first annual report. They monitored the main allergenic pollen from trees (cypress, birch, ash …) and herbaceous plants (ragweed and grasses). The situation of each can vary, but in a general way, "their quantities grow, whatever the regions", affirms Dr Beatrice Benabes, allergist and referent of Atmo France on the pollens. She also noted "a tendency to precocity": pollen are emitted earlier and earlier.
Less birch pollen, more grass pollen
The "pollen quantities of the year 2017 are generally lower than the previous year for cypress, birch and ambrosia, but superior for grasses "summarizes the document. The main areas of infestation, such as the Rhone Valley, have seen their quantities stabilize in recent years, despite a significant peak in 2006. However, pollen is constantly increasing in neighboring regions.
Birch produces a highly allergenic pollen. Its production usually peaks in March-April. © AFP / Archives / Philippe Huguen
In 2017, the mild temperatures made the trees blossom early, with the first pollens of birch at the end of March in Île de France or in Bourgogne Franche-Comté. Ambrosia pollen was found in the wild more than a week ahead of annual averages. On the contrary, the concentration in the air of grass pollens has grown rather late – in May – but gradually until July-August.
Associations measured the amount of pollen in each region through two devices: sentinel pollinariums and pollen sensors. The first, as their name indicates, are allergy pollen plants closely monitored by scientists. They record the date of beginning and end of the pollination to inform possible alerts allergy . Pollen sensors are positioned on the roofs of buildings. They function as vacuum cleaners and allow to know the particles present in the ambient air.
Pollen allergy can cause more or serious symptoms, sneezing crisis at asthma attacks . © GARO / Phanie / AFP
The disease can manifest in several ways depending on the degree of sensitivity, the level of exposure and the affected organs: sneezing, scratching, sometimes clogging or running, eyes red, itchy or watery, possibly in association with wheezing, coughing, eczema flare, contact urticaria, general fatigue and difficulty concentrating
Grass pollen are the ones that cause the most allergies in France. In order to reduce the presence of allergenic pollen in the air, these associations recommend, for example, to diversify ornamental plants. This will avoid ending up with specimens of one species that all pollinate at the same time. Another tip a little more radical: the size of plants, especially bud stage. The authors further specify that "information on the allergenic nature of pollen will soon be available to the consumer before the purchase of the ornamental plants concerned."
"It is necessary that the monitoring of pollen intensifies, and the observation goes to the forecast alert Dr. Benabes. Because being able to start treatment in advance means "fewer emergency consultations, hospitalizations for asthma, consequent treatments and lower cost for the community " For people with allergies, there is a participative network of networking with volunteer botanists: Pollin'air .