WATCH: The pollen threat is not to be despised

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ZULULAND’s high pollen count makes life uncomfortable – and possibly dangerous – for many residents, especially those with allergies or asthma.

Doctors and pharmacists in the region take care of patients suffering from allergies on a daily basis.

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This being the height of the tree pollination season (August to October), hay fever is rampant and it will hardly improve anytime soon as the grass pollen season runs from November to March.

According to the highly informative “The Real Pollen Count” website, pollen allergy tends to cause three major clinical problems: allergic rhinitis, conjunctivitis, and asthma. , sore throat, chest tightness, cough or shortness of breath.

These are indications that the immune system is overreacting or overreacting to allergic substances.

The victim can also feel really sore and tired, while there is now also the possibility that the symptoms of pollen allergy could be mistaken for the indications of Covid. is more prone to viral and bacterial infections, and that nasal obstruction can lead to sinus and ear infections.

Weather conditions – heat and rain – can affect day-to-day pollen levels in an area, while strong winds can quickly spread pollen far and wide.

Increased pollen levels linked to climate change are observed, while the planting of exotic species and the removal of native forests play a role in local pollen levels.

Pollen levels are determined using spore traps that capture dust from the air and deposit it on an adhesive strip.

The amount of pollen per cubic meter of air is calculated to extract pollen levels.

Regarding the potential danger of pollen allergies, “The Real Pollen Count” reports that: “On November 21, 2016, an unusual thunderstorm occurred in Melbourne, Australia at the height of the grass pollen season. .

“In 30 hours, there were over 8,000 excessive chest-related presentations to emergency departments, 35 ICU admissions and ten asthma-related deaths.”

No, not the burning bush!
Last week, ZO staff member Val van der Walt was standing under a tree on newspaper property when he saw what appeared to be thick gray smoke billowing from tall branches.

Mystified, he walked around the tree – later determined to be part of the yellowwood family – and noticed the same phenomenon when he shook a branch.

Soon he was covered in pollen and realized that it must have been a bird that had landed that had set off the first “pollen smoke”.

After putting two and two together, a bit of investigative journalism was requested and contact was made with the UCT-based “The Real Pollen Count” team.

In no time, the answer was received from Dr Nanike Esterhuizen and Dr Dilys Berman of the Allergy and Immunology Unit at UCT Lung Institute:
“The video you sent is quite spectacular. Yellowwood trees are wind pollinated and produce abundant amounts of pollen, very similar to pine pollen.
“They are not the most dominant of the allergenic tree pollens, but could have more serious effects at such a close distance, as the pictures show.
“The pollen from this group of trees also frequently causes symptoms of conjunctivitis (pink eye).
“We are delighted that you found our website interesting. We are trying to spread the word about the “true pollen count” as far as possible, to help doctors and allergy sufferers across South Africa manage allergy symptoms.
“As our monitoring network expands, we hope to be able to provide you with more local pollen data in the future. “

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