NATIONAL NEWS - Nasal allergy sufferers in Durban are struggling to breathe as mould levels surged to a whopping 10, 000 spores per cubic metre (m³) a day- the highest level of fungal spores recorded for the city in 30 years.
A mould count of less than 900 spores/m³ is considered low, while a daily count greater than 2, 500 is considered high.
Durban’s current count is ten times that, which is alarming. Prof Jonny Peter, head of the UCT Lung Institute’s allergy unit, explained that high fungal spore counts are typically also associated with an increased risk of asthma attacks.
“Many fungal spores contain allergens, which can trigger a range of respiratory symptoms in those who are allergic, which include sneezing, a runny, itchy or congested nose, coughing, sinusitis, asthma and other bronchial issues,” added Prof Peter.
High levels of Alternaria, Cladosporium and Epicoccum fungal spores have been found in the atmosphere of the city, exacerbating symptoms for the estimated 3, 3 million hay fever sufferers living in KwaZulu-Natal.
A weekly airborne allergen count for Durban, which includes mould and pollen levels, are available online at www.pollencount.co.za – the official pollen monitoring website for SA.
Prof Peter recommended keeping your home dry and well-ventilated.
“A dehumidifier will also help to collect moisture from the air. Avoid drying clothes inside. Rather use a tumble dryer that is vented to the outside. Get rid of mildew on walls with cleaning agents and check your mattresses, pillows and carpets for signs of mould to help limit your exposure,” he concluded.