Here is my kitten-delayed post about hayfever.

I don’t normally get hayfever – but I’ve been suffering this last two weeks. Thanks to the dry, hot weather pollen levels have been incredibly high. And May sees the greatest different number of pollens floating around. The main culprits in France in May are:



Silver birch – bouleau; Hornbeam – charme; Châtaigner – sweet chestnut; Chêne – oak; Cyprès – cypress; Hêtre – beech; Marronnier – horse chestnut; Platane – plane; Prêle – horsetail; Saule – weeping willow

(Bouleau and platane are particularly irritating.)

Graminées – grasses

Dactyles – orchard grass; ; Seigle – rye; Fétuque – fescue; Ivraie – rye grass; Phléole – Timothy grass


Herbacées – herbaceous plants

Colza – oil seed rape; Pariétaire –  pariatarias; Plantain – plantain; Pissenlit – dandelions; Trèfle – clover


No wonder it’s tough going at the moment. And it takes only 10-20 pollen grains per cubic metre of air are enough to set your hay fever off once you’ve been sensitised. That a scarily small amount.

Chris and Caiti are hayfever sufferers and, while I’ve always sympathised, I’m doubly sympathetic this year. Isn’t it miserable? Stuffy nose, itchy ears, sore eyes – and that’s just for starters. It can escalate to asthma, skin problems and medical crises for some people.

Everyone will tell you that the best way to avoid hayfever is to avoid the trigger substance. In May, that’s impossible if it’s pollen, so antihistamines are the next line of defence. Chris can remember being sent to sleep by the ones he took as a child, but these days, medicine has moved on and antihistamines no longer make you dopey. Nasal sprays and eye drops are helpful too. There are homeopathic remedies as well, which some people swear by.

In France Réseau National de Surveillance Aérobiologique issues daily pollen alerts. There’s an app for your iphone or Android that you can get from the site to keep you up to date.

But hot dry weather isn’t all bad. First swim in our pool today. It was a tingly 18 degrees, but the only way is up!