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Chicago Allergy Levels High All Around, Loyola Expert Says

Grass, Mold, Weeds and Ragweed Pollen Peaks Today in Midwest

WHAT:  Chicago’s pollen count today hit an all-time high for the season. “Mold, weeds and ragweed are all high and also grass is high, which may surprise many people. The grass is corn grass and the high levels are caused by the seasonal harvesting of the corn as corn is a member of the botanical grass family,” said Dr. Joseph Leija, who performs the Gottlieb Allergy Count, the official allergy count for the Midwest. “Midwesterners with sensitive respiratory systems will feel general fatigue and experience itchy throats and runny noses."

The official Gottlieb Allergy Count today is: Mold - High, Grass - High, Weeds - High and Ragweed - High.  “The alternating sunshine, humidity and hot temperatures combined with the recent rains the past few days have kept the mold count consistently high,” Dr. Leija said. “With the addition of the corn grass, headaches and sinus congestion will be common among Chicagoans today."

WHO:  Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist at Loyola’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, is solely certified by the National Allergy Bureau to perform the daily official allergy count for the Midwest. “Allergy sufferers should stay indoors, keep the windows closed, use their air conditioners and take their allergy medications,” he said.

The Gottlieb Allergy Count is available to the public by visiting, calling 1-866-4-POLLEN (476-5536) and in English, Polish and Spanish, through Twitter.

WHEN:  Dr. Leija is available to talk with reporters about the high counts, show what corn grass looks like as well as mold, ragweed and weed spores, offer tips and advice and demonstrate the allergy count collector atop a roof in the Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus in Melrose Park.

Call Stasia Thompson at (708) 417-5036 for interviews.

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

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