22 February 2020

THE REAL POLLEN COUNT: Grass season spreading to the coast

The grass season is spreading across the country - the whole northern part of the country including to the coast, with grass counts even high in Durban.

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 20 February:

Cape Town (Western Cape)

Low grass counts were detected during this sampling week. Tree levels were low and included white stinkwood and pine. Weed levels were also low and the types identified were the daisy family, goosefoot and Erica. Moulds were low. 

Count: 2 (very low) [Last week: 0 (very low)]

Johannesburg (Gauteng)

Grass counts were moderate  throughout this sampling week. Very few tree pollens were in the air, with only a few grains of cypress and eucalyptus. Weeds were also low, with predominantly daisy detectable. Fungal spores were low.

Count: 18 (moderate) [Last week: 11 (moderate)]

Pretoria (Gauteng)

Overall counts were in the high range with grass pollen high to very high on most days of the sampling week. Tree pollen was minimal with only cypress, mulberry and eucalyptus detected.

Weed pollen, in the form of daisy was only detectable on two days. Fungal spores at the upper end of the low range, with aspergillosis and Cladosporium dominant. 

Count: 35 (high)

Kimberley (Northern Cape)

Count: 12 (moderate) [Last week: 33 (high)]

Durban (KZN)

Grass levels were high at this sampling site. Tree loads increased, and were dominated by birch, with eucalyptus and white stinkwood also recorded. Weed levels were low, including ragweed.

Count: 45 (high) [Last week: 24 (high)]

Port Elizabeth

Grass levels were low. Tree were low and included Casuarina, Morella (waxberry)and yellowwood.

Weeds were low and the types detected were protea, the daisy family and Caryophyllaceae (the carnation family). Moulds were low, but increased after rain. 

Count: 5 (low) [Last week: 1 (very low)]


Count: 97 (very high) [Last week: 114 (very high)]

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 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: iStock


Ask the Expert

Allergy expert

Dr Morris is the Principal Allergist at the Cape Town and Johannesburg Allergy Clinics with postgraduate diplomas in Allergology, Dermatology, Paediatrics and Family Medicine dealing with both adult and childhood allergies.

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