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Poor Air Quality Alert Heralds First Day of Spring

Chicago’s tree pollen count today is 1,600 – well over the 1,500 threshold that triggers a dangerous air quality warning.

“After only seven days of allergy-count recording, we are documenting the first air quality alert in the 2012 allergy reporting season,” said Joseph Leija, MD, allergist, Loyola University Health System, who is solely certified by the National Allergy Bureau to perform the daily official allergy count for the Midwest. “This is the first day of spring and this air quality alert will make many Midwesterners very miserable."

The official Gottlieb Allergy Count today is: Trees - Very High, Grass - Low, Mold - Low , Weeds - Moderate and Ragweed - Low.

“Ragweed in March is unheard of in the Midwest; I have never seen an allergy count so unusual,” said Dr. Leija, who performs the allergy count at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital where he practices medicine. "The warm March temperatures and sunny skies have encouraged the early budding of trees and flowers and my phones at Gottlieb are ringing with sufferers seeking relief."

Headaches, sinus congestion, runny noses and fatigue will be common among Chicagoans today.

“The recent rains followed by warm, sunny, summerlike temperatures have created the dangerously high tree pollen count,” he said. “Allergy sufferers should stay indoors, keep the windows closed, use their air conditioners and take their allergy medications."

The Gottlieb Allergy Count is available to the public, in English, Polish and Spanish via Twitter; and at 1-866-4-POLLEN (476-5536).

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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