Allergies: French Riviera on red alert for high pollen count

pollen french riviera

Late winter blooms and the pollen from the thousands of cypress trees on the French Riviera are causing havoc for allergy suffers, with the region moving to a red alert.  

The mild winters of the region make it a wonderful place to live, but they also mean that pollens start to spread earlier than in northern climes. In Monaco and the south of France, the biggest culprits at the moment are the plentiful cypress trees, according to France’s National Aerobiological Surveillance Network (RNSA). As of the agency’s last report, Monaco, the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var are on red alert. 

Cypress pollen is particularly known to cause respiratory and eye discomfort, especially on windy, mild and sunny days, which are almost every day in the Mediterranean at this time of year. They remain problematic for several weeks, with the peak period being the end of February in normal years.  

But cypress isn’t the only culprit. Mimosa, alder, hazel, and ash pollens are on the rise, with medium to locally high concentrations, and soon, willows, hornbeams, lichwort and poplars will also begin flowering, carrying a low-level risk to all but people sensitive to these individual plants.  

To keep up to date on allergy risks and pollen data, the RNSA offers a free email alert system that can be signed up for here.

The agency also can be found on social media and via their website:  

Nothing but the return of rain will lessen the pollen count, so for those with allergies, it may be time to speak to a doctor or pharmacist about the best treatment options.  


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Photo source: Alex Jones for Unsplash