THE REAL POLLEN COUNT: Bloemfontein and Kimberley reach high levels this week

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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 4 March:

Cape Town (Western Cape)

Grass levels were low. Tree pollen increased slightly mainly due to the contribution of Ulmaceae (elm) but cypress (Cupressaceae) and waxberry (Morella) were also detected.  A slight but insignificant increase in weed levels occurred as sedges (Cyperaceae), goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae), erica/heath (Ericaceae) privet (Ligustrum) and ferns (Polypodiaceae) appeared regularly. Moulds were low.

Count: 9 (moderate)

Johannesburg  (Gauteng)

Grass counts were moderate and decreased from the previous sampling period. Tree and weed pollen counts were low. Tree pollen types included ash (Fraxinus), mulberry (Moraceae), eucalyptus (Myrtaceae), plane (Platanus), pine (Pinus) and oak (Quercus).

Weeds detected were erica (Ericaceae), euphorbia (Euphorbiaceae), the jute family (Tiliaceae), goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae), fern (Polypodiaceae) and pollen from the daisy family (Asteraceae). Mould counts were low.

Count: 11 (moderate) 

Pretoria (Gauteng)

Grasses were moderate. Low tree levels included Moraceae (mulberry ) eucalyptus (Myrtaceae), kareeboom (Rhus) and Australian pine (Casuarina). Weeds were also low and the types detected were ragweed (Ambrosia), the daisy family (Asteraceae), goosefoot (Chenopdiaceae) and Pellitory-of-the-wall (Parietaria). Moulds were low.

Count: 9 (moderate) 

Bloemfontein (Orange Free State)

Grasses were high. Tree and weed levels were low. Tree pollen detected included karee (Rhus/ Searsia), pine (Pinus), false olive (Buddleja) and cypress (Cupressaceae). Weed types present were goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae), fern spores (Polypodiaceae), dandelion (Taraxacum) and pollen from the daisy family (Asteraceae). Mould levels were high and significant levels of Alternaria and Cladosporium were recorded.

Count: 26 (high) 

Kimberley (Northern Cape)

Grass pollen counts remain high. Tree and weed pollen counts were low. The tree pollen types of elm (Ulmaceae), pine (Pinus) and eucalyptus (Myrtaceae) were present. Weed pollen types included waxberry (Morella), pellitory-of-the-wall (Parietaria spp) and pollen from the daisy family (Asteraceae). Mould counts were moderate, but very high levels of Alternaria were detected throughout the sampling period.

Count: 24 (high) 

Durban (KZN)

Part of the pollen strip was lost. This report is based on the remainder together with the findings from last week. Grasses were low. Low tree levels were seen which included only mulberry (Moraceae) and eucalyptus (Myrtaceae). Weeds were low and the types detected were ferns (Polypodiaceae) and the mallow family (Malvaceae) which includes pelargoniums. Moulds were moderate.

Count: 2 (very low) 

Gqeberha (previously Port Elizabeth) (Eastern Cape)

Grasses were low at this site. Trees were also low as only olive (Oleaceae) was detected. Low weed levels included the daisy family (Asteraceae), mugwort (Artemisia) and pigweed (Amaranthus). Moulds were low.

Count: 1 (very 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.

Image: Getty

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