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Allergy

08 November 2019

Your weekly pollen update: Lows countrywide with major relief for Cape Town

The best week of spring so far for allergy sufferers.

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 7 November:

Cape Town (Western Cape)

Best week of the spring season yet for allergy sufferers. Overall levels continued to decrease to very low levels. Grasses, weeds (English Plantain) and a few tree pollen grains (pine only) were detected. All fungal spore levels were consistently low as temperatures decreased during a late cold spell.

Count: 1 (very low) [Last week: 9 (moderate)]

Johannesburg  (Gauteng)

The overall counts decreased to just into the moderate range.No grasses were seen and weed pollen was also very low. Tree pollen was low but was represented by: Ash, bush willow, mulberry, eucalyptus, olive, plane, poplar and oak. Moulds were low. 

Count: 3 (low) [Last week: 7 (moderate)]

Pretoria (Gauteng)

Best week of the spring season yet for allergy sufferers. Overall levels continued to decrease to very low levels. Grass, tree pollen: ash, cypress, birch, mulberry, olive, pine and eucalyptus was low. Weed pollen levels (goosefoot only) was very low. Fungal spore loads were low.

Count: 1 (very low) [Last week: 9 (moderate)]

Bloemfontein (Orange Free State)

Even Bloemfontein had a very good week. Overall pollen levels continued to decline to a low level this week. Tree pollen levels were low and the tree species detected were: Bush willow, oak, pine, buddleia, white stinkwood and acacia. Grasses and weed pollens were very low.Fungal spores were low throughout the week.

Count: 3 (low) [Last week: 20 (high)]

Kimberly (Northern Cape)

Kimberly continued with very low overall counts this week. No tree pollens were detected.A small amount of grasses and weed pollens were seen. Fungal spores were consistently low, with no spikes. 

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

Durban (KZN)

The pollen may be low, but the mould is likely to be causing problems this week.Very low overall pollen counts. Grasses and trees were low – a few grains of pine, acacia and mulberry detectedGrasses were very low and few weed pollen of English Plantain and Goosefoot noted.

Fungal spore levels were extremely high and daily counts of >30 000 were seen for ascospores, but Cladosporium levels increased too and exceeded 1000 spores/day. Small peaks were seen for basidiospores. 

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

Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape)

Very low overall counts in Port Elizabeth continued during another week of intermittent rain. Tree (pine, eucalyptus and alder), grass and weed (English Plantain and daisy) pollens were all very low.Fungal spore levels increased briefly after the rain but were still low.

Count: 1 (very low) [Last week: 1 (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 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: Krzysztof Niewolny, 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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