RALEIGH Mar 18, 2016 March Madness isn’t just about basketball; it also can describe the pollen season. Pollen levels in North Carolina generally reach their highest levels in early to mid-spring when many native trees are flowering, so many pollen sufferers are approaching their most maddening season. People who are bothered by allergies may want to limit their time outdoors until pollen levels subside, particularly during early morning hours and when it is windy outside. Keeping doors and windows shut with air conditioners running will help reduce pollen levels indoors. Pollen levels typically reach their peak in central North Carolina during March and April when trees such as oaks and pines are flowering. In most years, the highest daily pollen levels generally fall between 1,000 and 1,500 grains per cubic meter, with the peak levels usually occurring within a one or two-week span. Pollen levels are considered high when daily counts exceed 270 grains per cubic meter. Pollen counts at state environmental laboratories in Raleigh reached 428 on Friday and 450 on Thursday, the highest levels so far in 2016. The highest pollen count ever recorded in Raleigh was 3,524 grains per cubic meter on April 6, 2010. Daily pollen levels in Raleigh can be found at the state environmental agency’s website. People also can sign up to receive emails or Tweets with daily pollen reports. In the Triad, daily pollen levels can be found at the Forsyth County environmental agency’s website. For additional information about air quality issues, visit the Division of Air Quality website or call 1-888-RU4NCAIR (1-888-784-6224).