Updated 03 December 2019

THE REAL POLLEN COUNT: No cities in the high range, relief countrywide

Pretoria dropped off into the moderate range as counts stayed between very low and moderate countrywide.

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.

Guide to the counts:

pollen, allergy

Here are the major city updates for 28 November: 

pollen, allergy

Cape Town (Western Cape)

It is hoped that the technical problems at this site will soon be resolved. Base on archived data from 2009 and current weather patterns, tree, grass and weed daily counts are low and so are mould counts.

Trees flowering in the third week of November include eucalyptus, olive, pine and yellowwood and weeds include ericas and English Plantain.

Count: 8 (moderate) [Last week: 16 (moderate)]

Johannesburg  (Gauteng)

Grass, tree, weed and fungal spore loads were all low at this site. Tree pollen detected included very low levels of: Birch, cypress, ash, eucalyptus, mulberry, pine and plane.

Count: 2 (very low) [Last week: 6 (moderate)]

Pretoria (Gauteng)

Grass counts were low at this site. Tree pollen was low, but very much detectable including: birch, bush willow, ash, cypress, eucalypts, pine, plane and jacaranda.

In the category weeds/shrubs, only fern spore pollen was detected. Fungal spore loads were low.

Count: 7 (moderate) [Last week: 26 (high)]

Bloemfontein (Orange Free State)

All pollen loads in the categories: Trees grasses and weeds were low. Tree pollen included: Eucalyptus, rhus/searsia, white stinkwood, cypress and pine. Weed pollen seen was goosefoot.

Low mould levels were detected.

Count: 8 (moderate) [Last week: 9 (moderate)]

Kimberley (Northern Cape)

The overall pollen and mould levels were low, but an interesting small spike was seen for Pleospora, the wet air spore when a score of 70 grains/cu M air appeared on 20 November indicating that rain had fallen.

Trees identified were pine and the weed: Goosefoot was detected.

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

Durban (KZN)

The mould count decreased but remained high during this sampling period of further rain and strong wind. The pollen count was low, with very low grass levels.

The tree pollen: Birch, eucalyptus and pine was detected and of the weeds: nettle pollen was seen.

Count: 2 (very low) [Last week: 3 (very low)]

Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape)

All pollen and mould loads were low at this sampling site. Grasses increased to moderate levels on sunny days but disappeared following rain. Tree pollen identified was: Palm and gum.

In the category weeds: daisy and euphorbia pollen types were detected. Mould were low with small spikes for basidiospores (mushrooms spores).

Count: 2 (very low) [Last week: 4 (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.

Image credit: Elia Clemente, 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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