Get your tissues ready: Hay fever season is upon us

Get your tissues ready: Hay fever season is upon us
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Red eyes, sneezing and a runny nose: the grass pollen season has started, Public Health Institute Sciensano announced on Monday. This kind of allergy affects at least one in six people, being the most common cause of allergies in Belgium.

Airallergy, Sciensano's national aerobiological monitoring network, has seen the concentrations of pollen grains increasing gradually since the beginning of May.

The situation will become critical for allergy sufferers as symptoms will show once the threshold of 50 pollen grains per cubic metre of air has been reached.

"This threshold is expected to be reached more quickly and more widely in our country," explains Lucie Hoebeke, scientific collaborator of the Mycology and Aerobiology Department of Sciensano. As for today, Belgium turns orange on the country's hay fever radar, indicating a "fairly large level of pollen".

According to Sciensano, the highest levels are generally measured at March-en-Famenne, Le Coq has the lowest. “That's why we advise people with strong allergies to stay at the coast if possible."

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The health institute notes that it’s important to follow the treatments prescribed by the doctor and to dispose tissues after use. Wearing a surgical mask or (sun) glasses to limit contact is also recommended.

The grass pollen season will last until July. Next month will become more intense because of successive flowering of more than a hundred species of the grass family.

More information can be found on the website of Airallergy.

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