THE REAL POLLEN COUNT: High grass levels signal tough week ahead for allergy sufferers in Kimberley

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 10 December:

Cape Town (Western Cape)

Long term averages are given. Typically in this period trees are low and include the types cypress (Cupressus), oak (Quercus spp), plane (Platanus), olive (Olea Spp), Casuarina(beefwood), gum (Myrtus) and white stinkwood (Celtis spp). Low weed levels for this week of the year include Erica (Ericaceae), English Plantain (Plantago), rush (Juncus), Pellitory-of-the-wall (Parietaria) and Euphorbia . Moulds are invariably low.

Count: 10 (moderate) 

Johannesburg  (Gauteng)

Low grass levels were detected. Trees were low and included gum (Myrtus) and olive (Olea spp). Low weed levels included the spurge family (Euphorbia), sedges (Cyperus) and bulrush (Typha). Moulds were low.

Count: 5 (low) 

Pretoria (Gauteng)

Grasses were low with some small spikes. Trees were low and the types detected were ebony (Euclea), olive (Olea spp), yellowwood (Podocarpus) and kareeboom (Searsia/Rhus). In the weeds category only sedges (Cyperus) were detected. Moulds were low but small spikes appeared after rain.

Count: 6 (moderate) 

Bloemfontein (Orange Free State)

The previous week’s findings are reported as this spore trap is being repaired. Low levels were seen for grasses. Low tree levels included the types olive (Olea) yellowwod (Podocarpus) pine (Pinus) and plane (platanus) Weeds were low and only the daisy family(Asteraceae) and ferns (Polypodiaceae) were detected. Moulds were generally low but occasional significant spikes were seen for Alernaria, an allergenic fungal spore.

Count: 7 (moderate) 

Kimberley (Northern Cape)

Grasses increased strongly to moderate levels despite low counts due to a thunderstorm at the end of the sampling week. Tree levels were low and included only gum (Myrtaceae) and olive (Olea spp).

Weeds were low but varied as aloe (Aspodelaceae), goosefoot (chenopod), sedges (Cyperus), bulrush (Typha) the daisy family (Asteraceae), Pellitory-of-the-wall (Parietaria) and ferns (Polypodiaceae) were detected. Moulds were low with one significant peak for Alternaria, an allergenic fungal spore.

Count: 20 (high) 

Durban (KZN)

Grass levels were a low but constant presence. Low tree levels included the types olive (Olea spp) and birch (Betula). Weed levels were low and included sedges (Cyperus), English Plantain (Plantago), the daisy family (Asteraceae), ragweed (Ambrosia), mugwort (Artemisia), Ferns (Polypodiaceae) and Pellitory-of-the-wall (Parietaria). Moulds were low with strong spikes for ascospores. 

Count: 3 (low) 

Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape)

Low grass levels were detected. Low tree levels included waxberry (Morella) gum (Myrtus) olive (Olea spp) and pine (Pinus). Low weeds included heather (Erica), sedges (Cyperus) the pink or carnation family (Caryophyllaceae) the spurge family (Euphorbia0, Lily (Liliaceae), gonna (Passerina) and pigweed (Amaranthus). Moulds were low.

Count: 4 (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: Unsplash/Marvin Meyer

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