Pollen counts surged to their highest levels of the season Thursday, and could stay there for the next week or two.
Tree pollen reached 2,347 grains of pollen per cubic meter, almost twice as high as a spike in pollen a week earlier. Grass pollen has also reached "very high" levels, at a count of 163, and the weed pollen count is considered "high" at 65, according to Drs. Golden & Matz LLC.
The count is taken at the allergy doctors' office in Owings Mills. The information is used in the National Allergy Bureau Pollen and Mold Report. The Weather Channel meanwhile forecast "high" pollen levels for the Baltimore area on Thursday.
The pollen levels Drs. Golden & Matz's office reported compare with tree pollen counts in the 1,200-1,500 range a week ago.
David Kerxton, a respiratory therapist at the office, said the pollen counts are showing signs of a typical seasonal peak.
"As long as there’s no rain, the count should stay high like it’s been, over the 2,000 mark, probably for the next week to two weeks," Kerxton said. "If you do get a nice soaking rain, that will definitely wash a lot of it out of the air."
The high counts are about normal for the season's peak, Kerxton said. The highest he has seen in the Baltimore area over the past 17 years has been counts in the 4,000s during one particularly intense year, he said.
Allergy sufferers are encouraged to avoid pollen by keeping the windows closed, showering and washing clothes thoroughly after exposure to pollen, and washing pets that are exposed to pollen -- allergens pets bring in the house are often mistaken as pet dander allergies.