Newswise — Two beloved institutions, the start of baseball season and the Gottlieb Allergy Count, reported by Joseph Leija, MD, officially began on Monday, March 31. “Chicagoans who suffer from mold and tree allergies will be down for the count today,” said Leija. “Itchy eyes and post nasal drip are what many will be experiencing.”
The official count for the first day of allergy reporting season is Trees Low and Mold Low. “Last year at this time, we reported three times the tree pollen due to the early Spring warm up,” said Leija who has been monitoring the air daily for the past week in preparation. Today’s tree count primarily included Oak and Maple pollen.
Dr. Leija is predicting a bad allergy season due to the prolonged cold winter with heavy snow. "The polar vortex will likely cause a pollen vortex, with mold, tree and even grass pollens happening simultaneously due to the final break in the weather and all the nourishing moisture,” said Dr. Leija, who has performed the Gottlieb Allergy Count for more than two decades.
“Preventative measures such as keeping windows closed to preserve air quality and proactively taking allergy medication with the guidance of a certified allergist will help maintaibn and improve health,” Dr. Leija advised. “If you’re sneezing and itching, you’re having allergy symptoms.”
Dr. Leija performs the official daily allergy count for the Midwest on behalf of the National Allergy Bureau. In 2012, Dr. Leija, an allergist, retired from seeing patients. However, he continues to do the Gottlieb Allergy Count as a public health service to help those who suffer from allergies and asthma better manage their condition.
Dr. Joseph Leija is solely certified by the National Allergy Bureau to perform the daily count usually from March - October. Dr. Leija began the Gottlieb Allergy Count on March 31, later than in previous years, due to the extended cold spell the Chicago area has endured.
An octogenarian, Dr. Leija rises before dawn to collect specimens from his pollen catching-machine atop Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in order to deliver the count to the public by 7 a.m. The Gottlieb Allergy Count is available through Twitter, at Gottliebhospital.org and in English at 1-866-4-POLLEN (476-5536).