THE REAL POLLEN COUNT: Pollen levels surge in Cape Town

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 29 October:

Cape Town (Western Cape)

Grasses were high and exceeded the significant threshold every day. Tree levels are still high as cypress, olive, pine, yellowwood, cedar, gum, linden, white stinkwood, oak and plane continue to flower. Low weed levels included erica, goosefoot, sedges, the daisy family and English Plantain. Moulds were low.

Count: 97 (very high) 

Johannesburg  (Gauteng)

Tree pollens were at low levels but varied as birch, bush willow, cypress, casuarina, coral tree, jacaranda, white mulberry, gum, olive, pine, Rhus/Searsia, plane, poplar and oak were detected.

Low weed levels included the pink and carnation family, goosefoot, the daisy famly, lilies, Stoebe or slangbos, English Plantain, parietaria or Pellitory-of-the-wall, Euphorbia and Thymelaeaceae (includes Gnidia). Grasses and moulds were low.

Count: 15 (moderate) 

Pretoria (Gauteng)

Tree pollen levels increased this week and moderate levels included the types pine, yellowwood, birch, linden birch, white mulberry, olive, gum, jacaranda and rhus/Searsia.

Low levels of the weed types English Plantain, Stoebe or slangbos, protea, sorrel and parietaria or pellitory-of-the-wall were detected, and grass and mould levels were low.

Count: 27 (high) 

Bloemfontein (Orange Free State)

Tree counts were moderate as flowering trees included Buddleia, bush willow, mesquite, linden, acacia, plane, pine and yellowwood. Weeds were low and Stoebe (slangbos), ferns, Persicaria or knotweed, protea, Euphorbia and sorrel were detected. Grasses and moulds were low.

Count: 18 (moderate) 

Kimberley (Northern Cape)

Tree pollen levels were low and included acacia, rhus/Searsia, ash, pecan, mesquite, palm, willow, pine, yellowwood and plane but of interest is the increasing pecan and mesquite levels. Both are allergenic.

Weed pollen was low and included the types erica, sorrel, English Plantain, the daisy family, mugwort and Euphorbia. Grasses and moulds were low.

Count: 8 (moderate) 

Durban (KZN)

Low tree levels included acacia, birch, casuarina, gum, linden, mesquite, palms, pine, white mulberry and yellowwood. Low weed levels were seen and the daisy family, mugwort, parietaria, knotweed, sedges, goosefoot, English Plantain, Stoebe or slangbos and ferns were detceted.

Grasses were low and moulds were generally low with small peaks following rain.

Count: 7 (moderate) 

Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape)

Tree levels were low and the types acacia, casuarina, waxberry, gum, olive. Pine, cedar and yelowwood were detected. Low weed levels included pigweed, the pink or carnation family, sedges, lilies, Stoebe or slangbos and passerina (gonna). Grasses and moulds were low.

Count: 6 (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: Getty/Roy Morsch

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