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Allergy

27 July 2020

THE REAL POLLEN COUNT: Bloemfontein experiences slight increase in grass levels

Grass and tree levels have shown a modest rise over the past week, while the rest of the country's pollen levels remain relatively low.

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 23 July:

Cape Town (Western Cape)

Grass levels were very low during this week of storms and heavy rain. Despite the weather tree pollen increased as cypress began its pollen release season. Small amounts of olive and pine were detected. Weed pollen was low and included the daisy family and nettle. Moulds were very low.

Count: 4 (low) [Last week: 3 (low)]

Johannesburg (Gauteng)

Grasses were low. Trees are still low but increasing and a greater variety of trees were detected including cypress, pine, bush willow, plane, linden, gum and Rhus/Searsia. Cypress levels were low to moderate. The weed level was low and included the types: goosefoot, the daisy family, sorrel and Euphorbia. Moulds were low.

Count: 13 (moderate) [Last week: 11 (moderate)]

Pretoria (Gauteng)

Low grass pollen levels were seen but trees are beginning their pollen release season and low levels of cypress, pine and Rhus/Searsia were detected in the atmosphere. Weed pollen levels were low and included the daisy family only.

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

Bloemfontein (Orange Free State)

Grasses are low but are slowly increasing. Tree pollen is also low but increasing numbers of cypress pollen were detected as well as low levels of Rhus/Searsia. Very low levels of goosefoot and Stoebe (slangbos) were seen for weeds and moulds were uniformly low.

Count: 6 (moderate) [Last week: 3 (low)]

Kimberley (Northern Cape)

Low scores for weeds were seen during this dry period with strong wind. Tree loads were low and just one grain of Rhus/Searsia pollen was detected. Weed pollen was low with only Artemisia (mugwort or sagebrush) detected. Moulds were very low.

Count: 0 (very low) [Last week: 1 (very low)]

Durban (KZN)

No grass or weed pollen was detected during this sampling week. Low levels of tree pollen included only pine and mould levels were very low.

Count: 1 (very low) [Last week: 2 (very low)]

Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape)

Low grass pollen levels were seen but trees are beginning their pollen release season and low levels of cypress, pine and Rhus/Searsia were detected in the atmosphere. Weed pollen levels were low and included the daisy family only.

Count: 1 (very low) [Last week: 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 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.

* Please note weekly pollen counts will be disrupted during the national lockdown and will intermittently be made available. We apologise for the inconvenience.

READ | Asthma, allergies, Covid-19 and your child: here’s what you need to know

WATCH | Can being 'too clean' cause allergies?

WATCH | Behind the scenes: How spore traps in SA are used to determine the pollen count

Image: Jonas Weckschmied on Unsplash

 

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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