THE REAL POLLEN COUNT: Low levels may bring relief to allergy sufferers

Amid the highest recorded pollen counts in history, Health24 will be bringing you exclusive pollen count updates courtesy of the UCT Lung Institute's Allergy and Immunology Unit.

Here are the major city updates for 19 November:

Cape Town (Western Cape)

Grass and tree levels decreased. Tree types detected were pine, yellowwood (Podocarpus) and kareeboom (Searsia/Rhus). Low weed concentrations included (Cyperus) sedge, Erica, goosefoot (Chenopod), the daisy family (Asteraceae), and English Plantain (Plantago). Moulds were low.

Count: 13 (moderate) [Last week: 59 (very high)]

Johannesburg (Gauteng)

Grass levels were low at this site. Tree types detected were bush willow (Combretum), cypress (Cupressus), white mulberry (Morus), gum (Myrtus), and yellowwood (Podocarpus spp).

Low tree levels were measured. Low weed concentrations included the types English Plantain (Plantago), the daisy family (Asteraceae), and pellitory of the wall (Parietaria). Moulds were consistently low.

Count: 7 (moderate) [Last week: 6 (moderate)]

Pretoria (Gauteng)

Continued rain removed pollen and fungal spores from the air but fungal spores surged during days with some sun.

Significant Cladosporium loads occurred. Tree pollen was low as white mulberry (Morus), white stinkwood (Celtis) cypress (Cupressus), gum (Myrtus) and yellowwood (Podocarpus) were detected.

Grass levels were low. Weeds were sparse and slangbos (Stoebe type), bulrush (Typha spp) leucadendron and pellitory of the wall (Parietaria) were detected.

Count: 4 (low) [Last week: 22 (high)]

Bloemfontein (Orange Free State)

Grass levels were low. Trees were similarly low and the types detected were kareeboom (Searsia/Rhus) olive (Olea), acacia, gum (Myrtus) and ebony (Euclea). Low weed levels included goosefoot (Chenopod) and the daisy family (Asteraceae). Moulds were low.

Count: 19 (moderate) [Last week: 55 (very high)]

Kimberley (Northern Cape)

Grasses were low but increased to breach the significant threshold of 10 grains/cubic metre following rain. Tree pollen was low and included pecan (Carya), ebony (Euclea), olive (Olea), willow (Salix), pine, cypress (Cupressus), and gum (Myrtus).

Weeds were low and include sorrel (Rumex) and goosefoot (Chenopod). Maize (Zea mays) appeared in low numbers following rain. Moulds were low.

Count: 10 (moderate) [Last week: 5 (low)]

Durban (KZN)

No grass was detected during this sampling period. Tree pollen was low and the types pine (Pinus), yellowwood (Podocarpus spp), pecan (Carya), white stinkwood (Celtis), plane (Platanus), poplar (Populus), white mulberry (Morus), and waxberry (Morella) were detected.

Low weed concentrations included English Plantain (Plantago).

Count: 1 (very low) [Last week: 5 (low)]

Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape)

Low grass levels were measured during this period. Low tree concentrations included the types acacia, cypress (Cuppressus), gum (Myrtus) and pine (Pinus). Weeds were low and the daisy family (Asteraceae), sedges (Cyperus) and gonna bush (Passerina) were detected. Moulds were low.

Count: 5 (low) [Last week: 8 (moderate)

See the full report HERE.

Reference ranges:Overall, Trees, Grasses and Weeds all use the same values (grains per cubic metres of air)

Overall count is the daily average of pollen grains per cubic metres of air (trees plus grasses plus weeds)

In partnership with the the UCT Lung Institute's Allergy and Immunology Unit.

As the pollen problem worsens, precise and expanded monitoring becomes even more essential. And here's how you can help.

Image: Mina-Marie Michell from Pexels

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