WHAT: Joseph Leija, MD, kicked off the Midwest allergy reporting season with a low mold count for today’s Gottlieb Allergy Count. “I wore my miner’s helmet and headlamp because it was so dark and my toe clamps because the roof was so slippery at 5 a.m. when I was collecting the pollen slides from the machine,” said Leija, who climbs the stairs to the top of a roof at the Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus. “Today we saw no pollen because the plants stopped production due to the winter snow and sleet."
Last week, Leija detected moderate counts of tree pollen as he monitored the air daily in preparation for the official inaugural launch. For two decades, Leija has been performing the Gottlieb Allergy Count, the official allergy count for the Midwest, on behalf of the National Allergy Bureau. Leija retired from seeing patients last year, but he continues his public health crusade for improved breathing by performing the Gottlieb Allergy Count. In 2012, Leija issued four air-quality alerts.
WHO: Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergy expert, is solely certified by the National Allergy Bureau to perform the daily official allergy count for the Midwest. The allergy season runs from April to October. Due to the mild winter season, however, the practice he founded is seeing a dramatic increase in those suffering from respiratory illness and allergies. Leija started the official count two weeks early due to elevated pollen counts.
Media: Please call Stasia Thompson at (708) 417-5036.
WHEN: Dr. Leija performed the first Gottlieb Allergy Count for the 2013 allergy reporting season and is available throughout the day, Monday, March 18, for interviews.
WHY: An octogenerian, Leija rises before dawn to collect specimens from his pollen-catching machine atop a Gottlieb building and delivers the count to the public by 7 a.m. The Gottlieb Allergy Count is in English, Polish and Spanish, via Twitter; at Gottliebhospital.org and in English at 1-866-4-POLLEN. (1-866-476-5536). Dr Leija is available to talk with reporters, show actual allergens under a microscope, offer tips and advice, and demonstrate the allergy count atop the roof of a Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus building in Melrose Park.