Friday, September 24, 2010

Chicagoans warned of dangerously high mold count

Chicago's mold count today is more than 81,000 spores per cubic meter - well over the 50,000 spores p.c.m. threshold that signals a dangerous air quality warning. Today's mold count is the highest of the season and the highest in five years.

"Heavy chest and difficulty breathing, runny noses and fatigue will be common among Chicagoans with sensitive respiratory systems," said Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist at Loyola Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, Ill.

Dr. Leija is solely certified by the National Allergy Bureau to perform the daily official allergy count for the Midwest.

"The recent gusty winds, the downpours of rain, the recent hot 90-degree weather, the barometric pressure changes and the boost in humidity contributed to the dangerously high mold count we are suffering this September in Chicago," he said of the unusual morning count that took him three and a half hours to complete - 45 minutes longer than usual due to the plethora of mold spores.

"Asthma sufferers should stay indoors and rest as much as possible, take their allergy medications and consult their allergist if symptoms worsen," he advised.

Dr. Leija warns that the allergy count is for the outside air alone.

"Many patients suffered flooding and, despite attempts to remove all damaged materials, are battling indoor mold that is aggravating their health," he said.

Dr. Leija is available today from noon to 5 p.m. today at Loyola Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part 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. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At 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 Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago 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.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.