CHICAGO
05/21/2013 04:02 pm ET Updated May 21, 2013

'Pollen Tsunami' Chicago: Allergy Season Off To A Miserable Start For Seasonal Allergy Sufferers

In news that will come as no surprise to Chicago-area allergy sufferers, Chicago's allergen measurer said Monday that the city is in the midst of an allergy season that can be described most accurately -- and terrifyingly -- as a "pollen tsunami."

Dr. Joseph Leija, who does the pollen count for the Midwest for the National Allergy Bureau, told the Chicago Sun-Times "the pollen from the trees and the weeds is just exorbitant" so far this allergy season and that the warmth and humidity over the previous weekend spurred on the highest counts of mold, grass, weeds and trees alike of the year to date.

"This is a pollen tsunami and those with sensitive respiratory systems need to keep the windows closed despite the beautiful, sunny weather," Leija said in a statement reported by ABC Chicago.

Leija said earlier this month that pollen in the area was higher than usual this year particularly for trees in the pine family, CBS Chicago reported.

Looking to avoid allergy-induced misery? Leija said said antihistamines can be helpful, in addition to rinsing one's nasal passages with saline solution. Local blogger Michelle Shea Walker suggested other natural remedies including eating spicy foods to help clear one's sinuses.

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