27 December 2019

THE REAL POLLEN COUNT: Christmas brings country-wide rest from pollen allergies

Counts are really low across the board, including for pollen and mould.

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 27 December:

Cape Town (Western Cape)

The grass counts were low during this sampling period. Tree levels were similarly low and tree types identified were cypress, eucalyptus, olive and white stinkwood. Weed pollen was low and composed of daisy, English Plantain, dandelion, erica and Parietaria. The mould count was low with small, but insignificant spikes for Rust spores.

Count: 3 (low) [Last week: 12 (moderate]

Johannesburg and Pretoria (Gauteng)

Mould levels were very low during this sampling period. Pollen levels were low, but grass counts are increasing. Tree pollen was low and consisted of the types: bush willow, cypress, jacaranda, mulberry, eucalyptus, pine and plane. Weed pollen was very low and only daisy and English Plantain pollen was detected.

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

Bloemfontein (Orange Free State)

All pollen and fungal spore levels were low during this relatively dry sampling period. A small but insignificant spike was seen for basidiospores. Tree pollen included acacia, olive and white stinkwood and weed pollen consisted of English Plantain and daisy.

Count: 4 (low) [Last week: 9 (moderate]

Kimberly (Northern Cape)

The pollen count was very low during this sampling period. Very low levels of grasses but no tree or weed pollen was detected. The mould levels were low but a small spike was seen for Cladopsporium following slight rain.

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

Durban (KZN)

Grass counts were low during this sampling week. The tree counts were low and the types identified were: birch, eucalyptus, white stinkwood and Casuarina. Low weed levels included daisy and fern pollen. Mould spores decreased sharply in the absence of rain.

Count: 5 (low) [Last week: 2 (very low]

Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape)

Grass levels were very low during this sampling period. No tree pollen was detected in the air and the only weed pollen detected was Protea. Mould counts were extremely low.

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

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: Getty


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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