THE REAL POLLEN COUNT: Grass levels climb in the Free State

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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 12March:

Cape Town (Western Cape)

Grass counts were low. Tree pollen found included eucalyptus (Myrtaceae), olive (Oleaceae), pine (Pinus), karee (Rhus), pepper tree (Schinus) and elm (Ulmaceae).

Weed pollen types detected were the daisy family (Asteraceae), goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae), erica (Ericaceae), iris (Iridaceae), malva (Malvaceae), waxberry (Morella), English plantain (Plantago), buttercups (Ranunculaceae), fern spores (Polypodiaceae) and nettle (Urticaceae). Mould counts were low.

Count: 21 (high) 

Johannesburg  (Gauteng)

Grass counts were moderate. Tree and weed counts were low. The tree pollen types detected were acacia (Acacia sp.), birch (Betula sp.), bush willow (Combretaceae), cypress (Cupressaceae), mulberry (Moraceae), eucalyptus (Myrtaceae), pine (Pinus).

Weed pollen types present in this sampling period were the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae), erica (Ericaceae), euphorbia (Euphorbiaceae), the jute family (Tiliaceae), goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae), fern (Polypodiaceae), sorrel (Rumex sp.) and pollen from the daisy family (Asteraceae). Mould counts were low.

Count: 32 (high) 

Pretoria (Gauteng)

The analysis was delayed so last week’s findings are repeated. 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: 8 (moderate) 

Bloemfontein (Orange Free State)

Grass counts were high. Tree counts were low and only acacia (Acacia sp.) pollen was detected. Weed counts were moderate and included pollen from the daisy family (Asteraceae) and goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae). Moulds were low.

Count: 62 (very high) 

Kimberley (Northern Cape)

Grasses were moderate. Low tree concentrations included pine (Pinaceae) and kareeboom (Searsia/Rhus). Weeds were low and the types detected were the daisy family (Asteraceae), lilies (Liliaceae) and goosefoot (Chenopdiaceae). Moulds were low with strong spikes at times for Alternaria and Cladosporium.

Count: 16 (moderate) 

Durban (KZN)

Grass, tree and weed pollen concentrations were low. Tree types detected included mulberry (Moraceae), eucalyptus (Myrtaceae), elm (Ulmaceae) and Fabaceae. Weed/herbaceous shrubs included the daisy family (Asteraceae), erica (Ericaceae), goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae), ferns (Polypodiaceae) slangbos (Stoebe) Pellitory of the wall (Parietaria) and maize (Zea mays). Moulds were high.

Count: 9 (moderate) 

Gqeberha (previously Port Elizabeth) (Eastern Cape)

Grasses were low. Tree levels were also low and included waxberry (Morella) and Australian pine (Casuarina). Low weed levels were seen and the types detected were lily (Liliaceae), sedges (Cyperaceae) goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae) and the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae). Moulds were low.

Count: 2 (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.

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