If you live in the Mother City and feel like your allergies have been getting worse in recent years, it’s not your imagination – a study released this year confirms there has been a dramatic increase in allergy-inducing pollen in Cape Town.
Cape Town is the only city countrywide that operates an advanced pollen monitoring and sampling programme to keep track of the allergy-causing pollens in our air. Although our city is the only one that tracks these developments, a large number of South Africans across the country suffer from allergies.
As concerns surrounding the issue mount, UCT’s Lung Institute is kicking off a campaign to raise awareness and funds to extend pollen monitoring across the country.
Head Professor of Groote Schuur Hospital Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Jonny Peter, spoke to CapeTalk about the latest survey findings.
Peter confirmed that as much as 30% of South Africans suffer from allergies, as well as asthma, and says recent changes in our environment caused by climate change could be making the situation worse.
“After last year’s drought followed by rains, the pollen count in September last year was at a 10-year high in Cape Town,” said Peter.
This information has only now become available following the extensive research carried out on allergen counts last year, and numbers could be even worse in 2019.
As our climate continues to experience changes, more research is needed to confirm current allergen counts and in turn ensure the health of those susceptible to various allergens. UCT’s Lung Institute is hoping to lead the movement that could better prepare our country for the changes still to come.
The best place to keep up to date with Cape Town pollen counts is the lunginstitute.co.za.