Bad news for hay fever sufferers – high pollen counts are here already in some parts of France.
The départements of Vosges, Haut-Rhin, Bas-Rhin, Vaucluse, Bouches-du-Rhône, Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales are on the red level of pollen alert while a further 11 areas in the south and east of the country are at the orange level.
Despite it being only February, pollen from alder and cypress trees is already at a high level due to the unusually warm winter – which saw temperatures of up to 27C recorded in France at the beginning of February.
Map: Réseau national de surveillance aérobiologique
The Réseau national de surveillance aérobiologique (RNSA) which creates the pollen alert maps says the high levels are likely to last at least another month.
RNSA spokesman Samuel Monnier told France Info: “The mild temperatures favour the dispersion of pollens in the air.
“It's going to last, for cypress pollens, another good month around the Mediterranean. After that, there will be grasses and other species of trees.