Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dangerous Air Quality Alert Issued for Toxic Mold

Midwesterners May Suffer Headaches, Congestion and Fatigue, Loyola Allergist Says

WHAT:  The Midwest is under an air quality alert for dangerous levels of mold. The Midwest mold count  today is 60,000 – well over the 50,000 threshold that signals a dangerous air quality warning. “Headaches, sinus pain and malaise are the result of today’s assault on the respiratory system by irritants,” said Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist who performs the Gottlieb Allergy Count, the official allergy count for the Midwest. “If you feel sick, it is likely allergies."

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

“Due to corn harvesting, Loyola is recording moderate and high levels of grass lately, because corn is a member of the grass family,” Dr. Leija said. “The dangerously high mold count coupled with grass, weeds and ragweed is a real assault on Midwesterner’s breathing health."

Dr. Leija credits the unusual allergy count to the sporadic rains, continuous heat and the high humidity. “Check your yard for standing water and your basement for any seepage,” Dr. Leija said. “A solution of bleach and water can be used to kill mold spores on items."

Tips from Dr. Leija to safeguard your 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.

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. Dr. Leija has performed the Gottlieb Allergy Count for more than 15 years.

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

WHEN:   Dr. Leija is available today to talk with reporters about the high mold count, show what mold looks like as well as corn grass, ragweed and weed  spores, offer tips and advice, and demonstrate the allergy count  atop a roof on the Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus in Melrose Park.
Call Stasia Thompson at (708) 417-5036 for interviews.

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.