Newswise — MAYWOOD, IL – For more than 20 years, Loyola Medicine's Gottlieb Memorial Hospital has provided the Chicago area with updated allergy counts every weekday during allergy season. This year's count will resume on Monday, April 3. Allergy sufferers can follow @LoyolaAllergy on Twitter or visit loyolamedicine.org/allergy-count for the latest numbers.
Rachna Shah, MD, leads the Loyola Medicine Allergy Count and notes that tree pollen counts are already rising. She advises allergy sufferers to stay informed. "Allergy counts are important to help monitor symptoms and prepare for the day." When pollen levels are high, she recommends people with severe pollen allergies stay indoors, but if that's not feasible, "pollen counts are highest before 10 am, so try shifting activities to later on in the day. And if you do outdoor activities for more than a couple hours, it can be really helpful to come inside, rinse off, and change clothes."
In this video, Dr. Shah explains how the count is performed. Pollen samples are gathered every weekday morning from the roof of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital. Pollen grains and mold spores are collected from a cubic meter air sample and counted under a microscope. The counts include daily numbers for mold, tree, grass and weed pollens.
Spring allergies often cause itchy, watery eyes and runny nose, sneezing, nasal congestion and post-nasal drip. Difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing and/or shortness of breath also can be caused by seasonal allergies.
Allergy season commonly runs from March through the first hard freeze in October. Tree pollen generally begins to rise in late March to April, grass pollen arrives in May and June, while weed pollen is most prevalent in July to August. Ragweed typically peaks from late August to the first frost and mold can strike in damp conditions throughout the season.
The daily allergy count is easy to track on Twitter. For more information, please visit loyolamedicine.org/allergy-count. B-roll of Dr. Shah conducting the allergy account is available to download at this link.