THE REAL POLLEN COUNT: Low to moderate levels across country, except Johannesburg


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 27 August:

Cape Town (Western Cape)

Extremely cold weather with heavy rainfall and snow on high-lying ground was experienced in Cape Town for much of this sampling period.

Despite the inclement weather cypress, oak, pine, white mulberry, gum and cedar tree pollen types were detected. Just one weed: Artemisia or mugwort was seen. Grasses and moulds were low. 

Count: 6 (moderate) 

Johannesburg (Gauteng)

Grasses were low. Trees are now high as cypress levels are consistently high. Flowering trees include acacia, birch, white mulberry, gum, oak and pine.

Low weed levels included erica, the daisy family, Caryophyllaceae, the pink or carnation family, goosefoot, euphorbia (indigenous shrub) and Solanaceae, the nightshade family.

Count: 25 (high) 

Pretoria (Gauteng)

Grasses were low, but trees increased as significant levels were seen for cypress and poplar. Other flowering trees included white mulberry, ash, oak and pine. No weed pollen was detected and moulds were extremely low.

Count: 15 (moderate) 

Bloemfontein (Orange Free State)

Grasses were low and no weed pollen was detected. Tree pollen included ash, Buddleja, white mulberry, pine and cypress. Significant levels for cypress were observed. Moulds were extremely low.

Count: 11 (moderate) 

Kimberley (Northern Cape)

The very low night temperatures inhibited the moulds and few spores were detected. Grasses were very low and no weed pollen was observed but the daytime temperatures have increased and low levels of tree pollen was detected.

Cypress, poplar and white mulberry maintained a low presence in the atmosphere.

Count: 2 (very low)

Durban (KZN)

Grasses were very low at this site. Tree levels were low but increasing as birch, white mulberry, poplar, cypress and pine pollen types were detected. Weeds were low and just a few grains were observed of the types Stoebe, the daisy family and ferns.

Moulds were low but Epicoccum, an allergenic spore approached the significant threshold.

Count: 6 (moderate) 

Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape)

Grasses were low at this site. Tree levels were low and included pine, cedar, Anacardiaceae (the mango and cashew family) waxberry, olive and gum. Weed pollen levels were also low.

The types detected were the daisy family, artemisia (mugwort or sagebush) , erica and Caryophyllaceae, the pink or carnation family. Moulds were low.

Count: 3 (low)

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 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: Getty

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