Elm tree leaves

Leaves on what was named the nation's largest elm tree in 2008, on the grounds of a home near Brooklandville. (ALGERINA PERNA, Baltimore Sun / May 22, 2008)

Tree pollen levels surged to "very high" levels in the Baltimore area Thursday and Friday, though rain and thunderstorms could bring a respite Friday evening.

The allergens reached a saturation of 1,481 grains per cubic meter of air Thursday and 1,112 grains per cubic meter of air Friday, according to Drs. Golden and Matz LLC, a local chain of allergy treatment centers. The practice supplies allergen information to the National Allergy Bureau Pollen and Mold Report, measured from its Owings Mills office.

The Weather Channel meanwhile reported a tree pollen count of more than 1,500 on Thursday in the Baltimore area.

The counts mark a three-fold surge in pollen levels over the past couple of weeks.

Grass pollen is meanwhile at "high" levels, with a count of 73, according to the office of Golden and Matz.

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.