Newswise — A dangerous air quality alert was called today for the second day in a row due to the extremely high count for mold detected in the Gottlieb Allergy Count. “Today’s mold count is over the 50,000 threshold for an air quality alert but not as high as yesterday’s 80,000 count,” 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 Moderate. “Sneezing, runny nose and fatigue is what many Chicagoans are experiencing this week,” reported Dr. Leija. “With the continued rain today and warmer temperatures, allergy suffering is not going away.”
What are tips for allergy survival? “If you have allergies, take your medication, consult your allergist, keep the windows closed and run the air conditioner to filter out allergens,” says Leija. 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 dangerous spike in mold particles. “The pollen vortex is here and Midwesterners are in the eye of the storm,” says Leija. “Mold is dangerously high but weeds are high too, ragweed is moderate and even grass is low but present out of season causing irritation.”
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).