Updated 07 February 2020

THE REAL POLLEN COUNT: Invasive, highly allergenic weed is still being seen in Durban, although at very low levels

While inland grass counts are surging inland, Bloemfontein is experiencing very high counts, with the highest counts of the season recorded 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.

READ: Highly allergenic weed has invaded SA – it could spell trouble for everyone, not just allergy sufferers

Here are the major city updates for 24 January:

Cape Town (Western Cape)

Grass, tree (Casuarina and cypress) were low. Weed levels (English Plantain and fern) were also low and fungal spore levels were extremely low during this protracted, hot, dry period.

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

Johannesburg (Gauteng)

The grass counts maintained a constant low presence in the atmosphere. Tree pollen is declining as the trees complete their flowering cycles. Cypress, eucalyptus, olive and plane pollen types were detected. Weed pollen appeared in low numbers and only goosefoot was detected. Moulds were low throughout the sampling week.

Count: 8 (moderate) [Last week: 8 (moderate)]

Bloemfontein (Free State)

Grass counts were high and the levels were consistently >50 grains/cu M/day throughout this sampling week. Tree pollen counts were low to moderate as olive, oak, cypress, rhus and pine continued to flower. Weed pollen levels were low and only daisy and English Plantain pollen was seen. Moulds were very low.

Count: 69 (very high) [Last week: 14 (moderate)]

Kimberley (Northern Cape)

Grass counts were moderate to high throughout the week and even on days with rain. Tree counts were low, consisting of Morus (fig or mulberry) and olive, and the weed levels were also low (goosefoot, daisy and fern). Fungal spores were very low.

Count: 23 (high) [Last week: 7 (moderate)]

Durban (KZN)

Grass counts were low during this sampling week with very hot weather followed by rain. No tree pollen was detected in the air. Weed levels were low and included the types: ragweed and ferns. Moulds were moderate.

Count: 4 (low) [Last week: 7 (moderate)]

Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape)

Grass levels were very low during this sampling week. Tree pollentypes: palm, olive, Casuarina and pine were low and weed pollen consisting of Euphorbia and daisy was similarly low. Mould levels were consistently low.

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

Image credit: iStock


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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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