Parts of the D.C. area are experiencing record-high pollen levels.
WASHINGTON — You might need to excuse a friend’s runny nose and sneezing fits for a while as parts of the D.C. area are experiencing record-high pollen levels.
“I’ve been doing pollen counting for 20 years and I’ve never seen a pollen count this high — ever,” said Respiratory Therapist David Kerxton with Drs. Golden and Matz of Owings Mills, Maryland.
The Thursday total count for pollen grains per cubic meter was 5670, considered “very high,” according to Kerxton’s Baltimore-area reading station.
Closer to D.C., pollen levels that were remarkably high last month now are considered high, but not unusual.
“At this point we are over a thousand grains per cubic meter, which is about average, or just maybe a little bit below average for this time of year,” said Microbiologist Susan E. Kosisky, director of the U.S. Army Centralized Allergen Extract Lab.
Pollen counts can vary within even small areas depending on specific placement of monitors and various types of sampling equipment.
Kosisky’s equipment in Silver Spring, Maryland, is used to determine official counts for D.C., where trees began blooming last month.
“A little bit early. But the most notable thing was that the amounts were two to three times higher than the daily averages we usually see for the period,” Kosisky said.