THE REAL POLLEN COUNT: Bloem, Kimberley, Joburg levels may lead to unpleasant week for allergy sufferers

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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 22 April:

Cape Town (Western Cape)

Grasses were low as were trees and weeds. Trees detected were waxberry (Morella), Pinus (Pinaceae), elm (Ulmaceae), birch (Betulaceae), eucalyptus (Myrtaceae) and forest elder (Nuxia). Weeds detected were ferns (Polypodiaceae), the daisy family) and slangbos (Stoebe-type). Moulds were low.

Count: 9 (moderate) 

Johannesburg  (Gauteng)

Grasses were high. Trees were low. Cypress (Cupressaceae), bush willow (Combretaceae), mulberry (Moraceae), eucalyptus (Myrtaceae), pine (Pinaceae) poplar (Populaceae) and oak (Quercus) were detected.

Weeds were moderate as the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae), goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae), the daisy family (Asteraceae), mallows (Malvaceae), slangbos (Stoebe-type), ferns (Polypodiaceae), Euphorbia) and heather (Ericaceae) were detected. Moulds were low with one spike for Alternaria, an allergenic mould.

Count: 33 (high) 

Pretoria (Gauteng)

Grasses were moderate and trees and weed levels were low. Trees detected included bush willow (Combretaceae), the soapberry family (Dodonaea), mulberry (Moraceae), eucalyptus (Myrtaceae) and jacaranda (Fabaceae). Weeds included ragweed (Ambrosia sp) the daisy family (Asteraceae), goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae), the spurge family (Euphorbiaceae), slangbos (Stoebe-type) and nettle (Urticaceae). Moulds were low.

Count: 15 (moderate) 

Bloemfontein (Orange Free State)

Grass counts were high. Tree pollen levels were low and only gum tree (Myrtaceae) was detected. Weed pollen were low and included the daisy family (Asteraceae) and goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae). Fungal spore counts were low.

Count: 35 (high) 

Kimberley (Northern Cape)

Grasses were high. Tree levels were low and only peppertree (Schinus sp) was detected. Low weed levels included the daisy family (Asteraceae), sedges (Cyperaceae) and mugwort (Artemisia). Moulds were low except for two large spikes for the allergenic mould Alternaria.

Count: 35 (high) 

Durban (KZN)

Grasses, trees and weeds were low at this site. Trees detected were waxberry (Morella), cypress (Cupressaceae), mulberry (Morus spp) and peppertree (Schinus spp). Weeds seen were the daisy family (Asteraceae), ragweed (Ambrosia sp), slangbos (Stoebe-type), ferns (Polypodiaceae), English Plantain (Plantaginaceae) and goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae). Moulds were moderate with spikes for Cladosporium.

Count: 8 (moderate) 

Gqeberha (Eastern Cape)

Grasses, trees and weed counts were low. Tree pollen identified included olive (Oleaceae), Australian pine (Casuarina) and the cashew or sumac family (Anacardiaceae). Weed pollen detected were erica (Ericaceae), the carnation family (Caryophyllaceae), waxberry (Morella sp.) and slangbos (Stoebe-type). Fungal spore counts were 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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