WHICH MASK TO USE TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM POLLEN?
What is pollen?
Pollen is simply part of the life cycle of plants, as it consists of microscopic grains of 3 to 200 µm produced by the male organs of flowers, the stamens, in order to fertilise the female flowers. To the naked eye, it looks like dust because the grains are so fine and it is for this reason that pollen contributes to poor air quality.
Because of their very small size, most of the pollen grains will lodge in the eyes and upper airways, mainly in the nose and sinuses. Not all pollens are allergenic. Fortunately, they already bother 25% of the French population who are very sensitive or even allergic to them as soon as the season begins.
When does the pollen allergy season start?
Even if, depending on the species, it is possible to find pollen all year round, the grass pollen season starts as soon as the first fine days of spring.
There are three pollen seasons depending on the plant
Tree pollen from January to April
Tree pollination starts at the beginning of January and lasts until the end of April.
There are six particularly allergenic tree species: birch, plane, beech, oak, willow and cypress, whose pollen measures on average between 20 and 60 microns.
Grass pollens from April to August
This is the season of the famous "hay fever" or allergic rhinitis, which accounts for almost half of all pollen allergies, as all regions are affected.
There are three types of grass that have allergenic pollens ranging in size from 15 to 150 microns:
- Forage grasses which are plants used for animal feed, in the form of pasture or hay. This is trivially the grass of the meadows.
- Cereal grasses which include wheat, oats, rye and barley. Cereal grasses are also consumed in the human diet and can cause food allergies.
- Ornamental grasses are hardy plants that beautify our gardens, such as angel hair or pampas grass.
Herbaceous pollens from August to October
These summer pollens are perfect for spoiling the holidays. Of the hundreds of species, ragweed is the best known with an allergy potential of 5/5 according to the RNSA. Ragweed pollen is particularly concentrated in the Rhône-Alpes region, Burgundy, central France and Provence, although it tends to spread to other French regions. The pollen of herbaceous plants measures from 3 to 200µm.
What are the symptoms of a pollen allergy?
The most common form is allergic rhinitis, which is accompanied by a runny nose, a lot of sneezing and throat irritation. In half of the cases, it is accompanied by conjunctivitis, i.e. red and itchy eyes. Be careful, because an allergy that is not properly treated can turn into asthma.
How can pollen allergy be treated or prevented?
The most permanent response is desensitisation, which consists of exposing the allergic person to the substance, in low doses, over a period of several months to several years so that the body can gradually get used to it.
The immediate response remains the use of antihistamines (medication that counteracts the effects of histamine, an inflammatory substance released in large quantities by the cells in the event of an allergic reaction) such as the well-known Zyrtec.
It is also advisable for the most sensitive people not to expose themselves to pollen, even if this remains a challenge given the extreme volatility of pollens that can be found in the middle of the city, even in the homes.
Does wearing an anti-pollen mask protect against pollen?
Given the minute size of pollens and their extreme volatility, wearing an anti-pollen mask can be a very good solution provided that it filters particles smaller than 2 microns and that it is well sealed so that 100% of the air inspired passes through the filters.
The Frogmask masks meet these two conditions perfectly since their FFP2 filters filter the particles present in the air down to 0.4µm, i.e. more than the smallest pollen of 2 µm and the existence of 3 sizes of masks allows you to choose the one that will be the most adapted to your face morphology and therefore offering the best airtightness