Newswise — Midwesterners with allergies will be feeling low due to the unusually high allergen counts. A dangerous air quality alert was called today due to the extremely high count for mold detected in the Gottlieb Allergy Count. “Today’s mold count is the highest for the 2014 recording season,” says Joseph Leija, MD, who created the Gottlieb Allergy Count at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, located outside Chicago. The Gottlieb Allergy Count is the official allergy count for the Midwest.
The Gottlieb Allergy Count today is Mold Very High, dangerous air alert status, Grass Low, Weeds High and Ragweed High. “The mold count was 80,000 today, well over the 50,000 threshold that triggers a high alert warning,” reported Dr. Leija. “It also is the highest count for ragweed for the 2014 season.”
How will this impact allergy sufferers? “With high and dangerously high levels in mold, weeds and ragweed, those with sensitive respiratory systems will need to take extra care today,” says Leija. “Runny noses, headaches, difficulty breathing and congestion will plague Midwesterners with allergies today,” says Leija. “If you have allergies, take your medication, consult your allergist, keep the windows closed and run the air conditioner to filter out allergens.” Dr. Leija also recommends rinsing nasal passages with saline solution to remove irritants.
Typical pollen seasons are: Trees in March to May; Grass in May to June; Weeds and Ragweed in mid-August to October and Mold all season long depending on dampness.
Leija says the hot, humid temperatures coupled with rain have created the rise in mold particles. “August can be the worst month for allergy sufferers due to the susceptibility for high mold and ragweed counts, especially,” he says.
Every weekday morning at 4:30 a.m., for the past two decades, now 84-year-old allergist Joseph Leija, MD, has climbed the stairs to the rooftop of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, located just outside Chicago. There he maintains a scientific pollen-catching machine developed in Britain during WW II to detect poison in the air. The machine records air particles in 2- minute increments during a 24-hour period.
Dr Leija takes the glass slide with the day’s catch – during pollen reporting season, usually April – October – and under a microscope in his office, meticulously identifies and counts every spore. He uses an algorithm created by the National Allergy Bureau, to arrive at the official allergy count for the Midwest – by 7 a.m.
“People with respiratory conditions need to know the allergy count early in the morning so they can take the right medication and make adjustments in their routine to improve their health,” says the allergist who supplies area members of the media, as well as the general public, the numbers at no charge. “Several broadcast networks and Chicago’s largest newspaper report the Gottlieb Allergy Count daily so I am up at 4 a.m.to get the process started.”
Dr. Leija is the only allergist in the Midwest certified by the National Allergy Bureau to report the official allergy count of the Midwest. He follows a complex series of algorithms to arrive at the daily allergy count and his numbers are used by the association in their daily national reports of allergy activity.
The Gottlieb Allergy Count is available through Twitter: at Gottliebhospital.org and at 1-866-4-POLLEN (476-5536).