THE REAL POLLEN COUNT: A break for allergy sufferers this week as levels remain low countrywide

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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 7 May:

Cape Town (Western Cape)

Grasses were very low. Low tree concentrations included forest elder (Nuxia sp.), bayberry (Morella sp.), gum (Myrtaceae), pepper tree (Schinus sp.) and cypress (Cupressaceae). Weeds were low and the daisy family (Asteraceae), heather (Ericaceae) and Rumex (Polygonaceae) were detected. Moulds were low.

Count: 7 (moderate) 

Johannesburg  (Gauteng)

Grass pollen levels were moderate during this sampling period. Tree and weed pollen counts were low. The tree pollen detected included bush willow (Combretaceae), cypress (Cupressaceae), mulberry (Moraceae), gum tree (Myrtaceae), pine (Pinus sp.) and karee (Searsia sp. / Rhus sp.).

Weed pollen detected were the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae), goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae), the daisy family (Asteraceae), slangbos (Stoebe-type), ferns (Polypodiaceae), the jute family (Tiliaceae) and ericas (Ericaeae). Mould levels were low.

Count: 16 (moderate) 

Pretoria (Gauteng)

Grass counts were moderate. Tree and weed pollen levels were low. Tree pollen detected included sand olive (Dodonaea sp.), eucalyptus (Myrtaceae), waxberry (Myricaceae) and mulberry (Moraceae).

Weed pollen present in this sampling period were the daisy family (Asteraceae), goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae), the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae), the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae), fern spores (Polypodiaceae) and slangbos (Stoebe-type). Mould levels were low.

Count: 11 (moderate) 

Bloemfontein (Orange Free State)

Grass pollen levels were moderate. Tree and weed levels were low. Tree pollen found in this sampling period included acacia (Acacia sp.) and karee (Searsia sp. / Rhus sp.). Weed pollen detected were mugwort (Artemisia sp.), the daisy family (Asteraceae) and goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae). Mould levels were low.

Count: 26 (high) 

Kimberley (Northern Cape)

Grasses were high at the beginning of the sampling period but were washed out of the air during rain that occurred later in the week. Trees were low and included karee (Rhus sp.), pepper tree (Schinus sp.) and cypress (Cupresscaeae).

Low weed levels occurred and only sorrel (Oxalidaceae) was detected in this category. Moulds were low.

Count: 12 (moderate) 

Durban (KZN)

Grasses were low. Trees were low as gum (Myrtaceae), mulberry (Moraceae), karee (Searsia sp. / Rhus sp.), cypress (Cupressaceae), waxberry (Morella sp.) forest elder (Nuxia sp.) and elm (Ulmaceae) were detected.

Low weed levels included goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae), slangbos (Stoebe-type), ragweed (Ambrosia spp.) the daisy family (Asteraceae) and ferns (Polypodiaceae). Moulds were high.

Count: 6 (moderate) 

Gqeberha (Eastern Cape)

Grass, tree and weed pollen counts were low in this sampling period. Tree pollen detected were Australian pine (Casuarina sp.), waxberry (Morella sp.), the cashew or sumac family (Anacardiaceae), cedar (Pinaceae), gum (Myrtaceae) and olive (Oleaceae).

Weed pollen included the daisy family (Asteraceae), slangbos (Stoebe-type), proteas (Proteaceae) and sedges (Cyperaceae). Mould levels were also 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 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.

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