Newswise — The Midwest is under an air quality alert for dangerous levels of mold. The Midwest mold count today is 60,000 – over the 50,000 threshold that signals a dangerous air quality warning.

“The Midwest is moving into fall and we are seeing more rain mixed with sunny, warm and humid temperatures, which encourages mold growth,” said Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist who performs the Gottlieb Allergy Count, the only consistent allergy count for the Midwest. “The temptation today is to open the windows and let the cooler air in. But for allergy sufferers, the air is not fresh; it’s loaded with toxins.”

The official Gottlieb Allergy Count for today is: Grass – Low; Mold – Very High (Alert Status); Weeds – High and Ragweed – Moderate.

“Today’s outdoor air may cause headaches, congestion and runny noses to those with sensitive respiratory systems, “ said Dr. Leija, who has performed the Gottlieb Allergy Count for more than two decades. “Keep windows closed and run the air conditioner to improve air quality.”

Dr. Leija will offer the Gottlieb Allergy Count until Monday, Oct. 15, for the 2012 allergy reporting season.

Tips from Dr. Leija to safeguard health include rinsing nasal passages with saline solution to remove trapped particles, washing your hair before sleeping at night and staying indoors in air conditioning.

Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist at Loyola’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, is solely certified by the National Allergy Bureau to perform the daily allergy count for the Midwest.

The Gottlieb Allergy Count is available free to the public, in English, Polish and Spanish, through Twitter; at and at (866)-4-POLLEN (476-5536).