01 November 2019

Your weekly pollen update: Relief for allergy sufferers in Cape Town

Unseasonally low temperatures and torrential rains saw overall pollen levels decrease sharply in Cape Town - while Durban levels continue to be low. Here's your latest pollen count update.

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 31 October:

Cape Town (Western Cape)

Overall levels decreased sharply this week after torrential rains and unseasonally low temperatures, with the level now just in the moderate range and a welcomed break for allergy sufferers. The post rain days saw small spikes of ascospores Low grass and weed levels were seen, with the last few pollen grains of mulberry, eucalyptus, rhus and olive been detected. 

Count: 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: 7 (moderate)

Pretoria (Gauteng)

Tree pollen levels continue to decrease and overall levels are now just in the moderate range.A variety of trees are still detectable including: yellowwood, popular, white stinkwood, pine, plane, bush willow, rhus, mulberry, eucalyptus, ash and acacia.

Grass and weed pollen counts were low. Very few fungal spores were detected. 

Count: 9 (moderate)

Bloemfontein (Orange Free State)

Overall pollen levels stayed just inside the high range for this week. Trees counts are low to moderate with the following species identified: acacia, cypress, mulberry, eucalyptus olive, white stinkwood, and rhus.Grass pollen was low to moderate; and weed pollen was also low with daisy, goosefoot and Erica identified.Fungal spores were low. 

Count: 20 (high)

Kimberly (Northern Cape)

Low overall counts continued this week. Tree pollens identified included pine and olive.Grasses and weed pollen was low, but included English Plantain and daisy.Fungal spores were consistently low.

Count: 2 (very low)

Durban (KZN)

The east coast is the place to be if you are pollen sufferer, with low overall counts continuing. The previously high fungal spore levels also decreased substantially. A variety of tree species were identified including birch, eucalyptus and lauraceae. Weed and Grass pollen levels were low; daisy was the identifiable weed.  

Count: 2 (very low) 

Port Elizabeth (Eastern Cape)

Very low overall counts in Port Elizabeth continued this week with ongoing rain and strong wind. Tree and grass pollens were all very low, and the trees identified included: pine, mulberry and eucalyptus.A single grain of English plantain weed pollen was seen. Fungal spore levels were light.

Count: 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.


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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