Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Second Consecutive Air Quality Alert Issued for Mold

Midwesterners May Feel Fatigue, Headaches, Congestion, Says Loyola Allergist

WHAT:  For the second day in a row, the Midwest is under an air quality alert for dangerous levels of mold. The Midwest mold count today is 65,000 – well over the 50,000 threshold that signals a dangerous air quality warning.

“Yesterday the mold count was 125,000 - almost triple the threshold alert. While today the count is lower, it is still dangerously high,” said Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist who performs the Gottlieb Allergy Count, the official count for the Midwest. “Headaches, congestion and fatigue will be common for Midwesterners with sensitive respiratory systems."

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

“Today I also recorded ragweed, which is the most common allergen and also the most irritating,” Dr. Leija said. “The dangerously high mold count coupled with ragweed is a real double whammy to breathing health."

Dr. Leija credits the unusual allergy count to the continuous heat, the high humidity and the brief but intense weekend rain.

“I knew the mold count would be high, but I was stunned by yesterday’s historically high count and I am surprised that it continues to be very high today,” Dr. Leija said.

Dr. Leija suggests that those prone to allergies should try rinsing their nasal passages with saline solution to remove trapped particles, washing their hair before sleeping at night and staying indoors in air conditioning.

WHO:  Dr. Joseph Leija, an allergist, 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 at www.GottliebHospital.org, at  1-866-4-POLLEN (476-5536) and in English, Polish and Spanish via Twitter.

WHEN: Dr Leija is available today to talk with reporters about the historical high mold count, show what mold looks like, as well as tree, ragweed and weed allergens, offer tips and advice, and demonstrate the allergy count atop the roof of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park.

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

About Loyola University Health System

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. 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 one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 92 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities - that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.