Hay-fever sufferers have been warned to prepare their preventive measures, as the hay-fever season has now officially started, according to Sciensano, the former Scientific Institute for Public Health. At present, the measure of grass pollen particles in the air – at 11 per cubic metre of air – is below the threshold at which all but the most sensitive sufferers will suffer symptoms. However the season is only starting, warned Sciensano’s Florence De Bock.
“It’s the result of a combination of factors,” she told De Standaard. “The warm weather of recent days, together with the rain of the days before that, ensured that the grass was able to bloom earlier than usual.”
The season is officially started when pollen reaches five particles per cubic metre, but the situation only becomes critical for sufferers when the number reaches 50. That normally happens around the end of May and beginning of June. Belgium is particular in having hundreds of different grass varieties, all of which come into bloom at different times, thus spreading the load more evenly, De Bock said.
Sciensano advised those allergic to grass pollen to wash their hair regularly, to use paper handkerchiefs, not to let the washing dry outside, and perhaps most obviously of all, to get someone else to cut the grass.